Happy first (official) day of spring! There is little I love more than giving my house a good scrub down and thoroughly organizing from season to season. I know some of you may dread spring cleaning, so I thought I would pass along some helpful tips about my favorite way to declutter my house, by hosting a garage sale! I have been a frequent garage sale patron since I was a kid. I try to host one garage sale a year to purge the unnecessary items from our household. The extra cash is a welcome perk as well! Here are some things I’ve learned over the years, as both a garage sale patron and host:
- Advertise! There are plenty of ways to advertise for your sale for little or no money. Craigslist is a great, free way to get the word out about your sale. In your ad, be sure to include the basics: date, time, location, and examples of items you’ll be selling (furniture, electronics, clothing, etc). If using an online ad, It couldn’t hurt to add a photo or two of major items such as furniture. Specify rain or shine, or if there is a rain date. You’d be surprised how many ads I’ve come across that leave something important out!
- Depending on where you live, physical signs can help attract some buyers as well. Make them out of something sturdy, like cardboard or poster board. Simply printing a sign out on letter paper will be too flimsy and the font will be hard to read. Put the signs up a few days before the sale so you can get more exposure. If you live near a well-travelled intersection, put some clear directional arrows to help guide buyers to your sale. Also, help reduce litter by remembering to take your signs down at the end of a sale!
- Expect early birds. Some garage sale hosts are anti-early birds – I get that. On one occasion, someone even rang our doorbell the night before, asking if they could check out the goods. Not cool! I typically am prepared for early birds up to a hour before the sale “officially” starts.
- Price your items fairly. My general rule of thumb for pricing my own garage sale goods is usually equal to or less than an average thrift store pricing. Sure, I’ll sometimes have a few “special” items that I’ll price a little higher, but at the end of the day, my goal is to be rid of the excess!
- On the pricing note, be prepared to dicker. If someone offers you less than you are asking for something, go with your gut. Would you rather take $2 less for something, or risk still being stuck with it at the end of the day? As the sale progresses, I am more likely to waver on my pricing. For early birds, not so much.
- You’ll need to have cash on hand – mostly in smaller denominations for giving change. You don’t want the first guest to pay for a $2 item with a $20 and wipe our your cash drawer! Keep your cash close to you at all times. I don’t recommend a cash box unless you will have someone sitting with it every moment. Also, count your cash in advance so you know how much profit you’ve earned at the end of the day!
- Donate the leftovers! Help keep things out of the landfill by donating any leftover items. Check your local Salvation Army or Goodwill for donation hours and policies. For bulkier items like furniture, try advertising the free items via Craigslist or Freecycle. At my last garage sale, I dragged any larger leftover items to the curb, and they were all claimed within a few days.
I hope you’ll find these tips useful! Feel free to leave a comment with any questions or additional suggestions – I’d love to hear your feedback!