Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting Rid of Stuff: Garage Sale

Since January we have been trying to simplify.  But not just simplify, redirect that attention to God.  One thing we discovered is we have too much stuff, plain and simple.  
Stuff shoved in closets.
Stuff under beds. 
Stuff covering every square inch of our house.
So after gathering a bunch that we did not need, we decided to do 4 different things with the stuff…
1. Give it away.
2. Sell it on Ebay.
3. Sell it on online Garage Sale pages on Facebook.
4. Have a garage sale.
Each had its pluses and minuses.  But I think the biggest plus of all is that we don't have so much stuff in our lives to distract us from God :).
For the next few weeks I am going to share a post on our experience with each… and I highly encourage you to simplify too, it has been a great experience!
So let's get down to it…. the weather is nice and it is
Garage Sale Season!
This was *by far* my favorite sales method, easily trumping eBay and Facebook.  There was just something about how quick it happened- Saturday 7-12, boom a bunch of stuff is gone, boom you have made a chunk of change.  Also it just felt so much more personal.  I loved talking to our customers and to family as we organized and executed the day.  So here are my pointers…

Before the Garage Sale…

*Okay, I am just going to go out on a limb and say this, even though every other site and blog says the opposite… you just don't need to spend that much time preparing.  We didn't really until the night before and the morning of, and our sale was still really successful!  I think this really saves you on the time investment.

*In the weeks leading up to the sale put stuff aside in a specified area that you plan to sell.  What should you sell?  Really anything.  You would be surprised what people buy!

*Create an easy pricing system by color like the one we did
This way you are not writing on every sticker for every item.  Quick, easy, painless way to price things.

*In the days leading up to the sale post your garage sale on Craig's list and garage sale finder pages online.  We started about a week before and reposted every couple days.

*Do a little research on your big ticket items (furniture, interments etc), and decide on a price for those. Posts those on Craig's list the day or two before.  We were not willing to meet up with people (this saved time and brought them to our garage sale).  This just brings people in that are willing to pay full price for your big ticket items.

*You might want to put an ad in the paper.  This may seem a little old school, but ours came with some price stickers and a few signs.  The price was worth it just for the signs themselves!

*The night before and the morning of (or you could do it in advance, but we didn't find that necessary) price everything.  To be honest, we actually did not price everything.  All the sites tell you to, but I didn't find it that inconvenient to throw a price on items we did not have time to put tags on.  I found people still picked them up (sometimes even before asking the price!).  

*Set up tables both in and outside your garage.  Tables are MUCH better than putting things on the ground.  We found that people were more likely to buy things on the tables as a general rule.
The first picture is much better than the second… we just ran out of tables.  When we do it again I will borrow from a friend!

*Take out some cash for making change. A couple of $20s, $10s and $5s. 20 $1 bills and a roll of quarters would probably do the trick!
*If you can do your garage sale with multiple people or families, this brings more stuff and more business.
*Price things to sell.  You are not out to make a million bucks, you are out to get rid of stuff and make a little money in the process.
*Organize like things together and make signs- home decor, baby, women, books, DVDS, etc.

During the Garage Sale…

* Make a designated pay here area with a person that is just in charge of money.  This made things run so smoothly.  We did not even have seperate areas for the different people to pay.  we just kept track of it on a white board.  This also kept the money safe from anyone who might get "sticky fingers."
*Keep an eye on your stuff too. we never had anyone try to take anything, but I hear it happens.
*Walk around and be social with your customers.  Ask if they are looking for anything in particular.

*Group things for deals.  If someone is buying a pile of stuff add it up and knock off a dollar or round down to a nearest dollar amount.  This makes them feel like they are getting as deal AND they are more likely to buy more things!
*Decide if you are going to take early birds, because they will show up before your designated start time.  We did just because we were motivated to get rid of stuff, but I know most people don't.
*We keep our hours short and sweet and do a one day sale- 7-12 on Saturday. This ended up being a great profit for the time we spent!
*Keep your sale open for the time you say it will be opened.  You will be crazy busy for the first hour or so.  Literally you will be thinking, "Do people really get up a 6 every weekend to go to garage sales?" But they do .  After that initial rush it is pretty slow and steady.  we found that around 11 it really slowed down and we started to pack up.  We completely shut down just before 12.  We watched at least 5 cars drive up and then drive away.  If we had stayed open a little longer we would have probably made a little more.

After the Garage Sale…

*Stop.  Don't even bring that stuff back in the house.  Give everything left to those in need.  

*It may be beneficial to make a list of all the stuff you end up donating for tax purposes.

*Go ahead and clean up.  It may be tempting to take a break, but the clean up is so quick!  You will be gal d you didm't put it off.

*Consider giving a portion of your profits.  Do you have a friend adopting?  What about a single mom in need?  

*Kick back and relax… you are done! :)

Have you ever had a garage sale?  What suggestions do you have?



  1. This was an excellent post. I've been thinking about doing a sale, but I dreaded the work involved. You've broken it down and made it sound doable. I love your price sticker idea! So much simpler than writing hundreds of little tags!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. So glad it was helpful… and really I thought the garage sale was so much fun!:) Hope it is successful for you!

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