(Disclaimer: most of the pictures in this post are from after today’s garage sale. We were so incredibly busy that I never once thought to take any photos!)
Our very first neighborhood-wide garage sale was a hit this morning! We sold way more than we anticipated and made more cash than we thought was possible. We’re planning to make this a yearly event in our subdivision and hopefully even more people will participate next year!
There are a few things I would do differently, but really, it was a pretty stress-free, very productive event.
I thought I would list a few tips and ideas here for you and for me (to remember for next year).
1. Plan ahead!
Start gathering items year round to sell in your garage sale. Each January, I turn all the hangers in my closet backwards. If I haven’t returned them to their normal position by garage sale time (roughly 6 months), I’m not ever going to wear them, so it goes in the garage sale pile.
2. Designate a place for garage sale items.
This was our spare bedroom. A few weeks prior, I started placing items I wanted to sell in that room. Next year, I will also price the items as I put them in there. That way I’m not waiting until the last minute to put price tags on everything.
3. Sell anything and everything!
Even if you think someone wouldn’t pay a penny for something, put it in the garage sale. We sold the craziest stuff today! Our very first customer bought our old plastic watering can that was covered in sawdust for $1! I even put out used make-up and hair products… I have very little of it left! If you price things cheap enough, it will sell!
4. Do your research.
Each city is different as far as garage sale regulations go. In OKC, you have to have a permit to hold one on your property. Then, at the end you have to submit a form and pay taxes on your profits (ridiculous!). Be sure and check your city’s website for information regarding garage sales.
One of the luxuries of living in a neighborhood with an HOA (and being on the HOA board) is the opportunity to plan a subdivision-wide garage sale. We purchased these large, non-dated banners to place at each entrance. We will be able to use them year after year. Also, the Tuesday before the sale, I placed a free ad on Craigs List advertising the sale. I updated it slightly each day to bring it back to the top of the millions of garage sales on the list. After a couple years, area residents will come to expect your huge, multi-family sale and make plans to attend.
6. Make sure you have plenty of change.
We priced everything in 25 cent increments, so I only started out with $25 in ones and $5 in quarters. It was plenty for us, but we didn’t have very many big-ticket items. If you have lots of furniture or baby things, it is suggested to have at least $75 to $100 in change on hand.
7. Hang all your clothes.
This was difficult for us because we had so many clothing items and weren’t sure how to display them. My husband came up with this idea:
It’s a 20 foot tow cable attached to huge eye hooks that are screwed into pieces of wood that are nailed into the studs in our garage. It spans the width of our entire garage and is high enough that we can park our vehicles under it, but low enough so that each article of clothing was accessible to customers. It was perfect for all our clothes! It was so simple for people to look through all of my husband’s, my son’s and my clothes. I firmly believe that we sold more clothes this year than in the past just because of this! Plus, it only cost about $40 to put together and it’s something we can use for years to come!
8. Put everything out the night before.
We stayed up till about 11:30 last night putting everything out and organizing. We kept everything in the garage with the door down, but it was ready when morning rolled around. We just moved the furniture and the folding tables from inside the garage to the driveway. Easy-Peazy!
9. Don’t start too early!
In Arkansas, garage sale customers get an early start, usually they’re out by 6 am. I thought the same was the case here in OKC. Nope. We got our first customer at 6:55. I’ll treasure that extra hour of sleep next year!
10. Have a very visible sign near the street.
Since this was a neighborhood wide sale, I suggested to the residents to put individual signs at their mailboxes to signify that they had items for sale. I got the most compliments on my sign! It was just a $2 piece of bright pink foam board and 97 cent stick-on glitter letters from Wal-Mart! It kept falling over because of the wind. Next year, we’ll attach it to some stakes. Maybe that will help.
11. Be willing to negotiate.
People never want to pay full price for anything. There were only a couple items that we didn’t take less for. We had some dining room chairs from 1945 for sale… $15 each or all 4 for $50. They were rickety and in need of a good re-furbish, so I was expecting to have to come down on the price. A young couple pulled up and went nuts over them! Paid full price! Didn’t even ask if we would take less. They were going to re-finish them to match their kitchen table and recover the cushions. Those chairs were sentimental to me because they were my grandfathers, but I was okay parting with them since this couple was so happy to find them! Getting $50 for them wasn’t too shabby either!
12. Donate all left over items.
The main purpose of having a garage sale is to get rid of stuff… am I right? What’s the point of hanging on to the stuff that didn’t sell? It will just go right back to collecting dust in your home. We did save back some things to try to sell next time, but only enough to fit in a small laundry basket that we will keep in the attic. We chose to donate the remaining clothes, shoes, toys and home decor items to the Pets and People Thrift Store. They raise money to maintain the no-kill animal shelter in our area.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your next garage sale! Next year, I promise I’ll have more pictures…
Until next time…