This weekend was my big moving/garage sale. However I think I prefer what Martha calls it; a tag sale. It sounds more sophisticated doesn’t it?. I have been gearing up for days and weeks in order to make it successful.
Personally, I loathe putting together these types of sales. It’s a lot of work and the time spent on organizing everything is way beyond the monetary return made on sale day.
So why did I do it? I had some larger items I wanted to get rid of in one swoop and a billion smaller items as well. While packing my house over the past few weeks I have been allocating things to the tag sale pile. It was very large pile. I literally went through every closet, box and drawer in my house and garage to rid myself of things I no longer cared for. Everything got a second or third look. However, in the process, the whole house became borderline destroyed. It does require going through everything.
Even though I had one strategic area to keep my items, it felt like a hurricane had swept through.
Overall, the day was profitable, $774 taken in with not one item selling for more than $20.
Here’s how I did it.
I spent lots of time organizing like items and placing them in Ziploc bags. I labeled what was in the bags, how many there were and the price. I then closed the bag and stapled it shut. I didn’t do this for items easily identified and in like new condition. If you don’t, you will have items everywhere and all your organization efforts will have been in vain. This helps in keeping everything together because many shoppers will pull stuff apart and just leave it.
Price everything. Invest a couple bucks in price stickers from your office supply or hardware store. Shoppers love prices on things, some people don’t like to ask. It also saves a lot of frustration if you are thinking something is worth ten dollars and your buyer has a much smaller price in mind. Also, if you really want to get a certain price for something, consider pricing it a little higher so there is room to haggle. However, there are some people who don’t feel comfortable asking for a lower price and end up walking away. It’s a risk I guess. You decide.
Believe in volume sales as opposed to fewer, larger-priced sales. I think there is a magical garage sale price. It’s 50 cents. Fifty percent of the items at my garage sale were priced 50 cents. If the stuff you are selling is just going to be donated after the sale is over, you might as well sell it for 50 cents. You will sell more. Trust me. Have a box of “free” items, people love this.
Invest in an add in your local paper. The professional garage sale clients scour these adds and plan out their routes. You want to be on it. Also, easy to follow signs. I had seven that marked the way from a major intersection. No one stole them this time.
A three hour sale, 8-11 AM, is when the action takes place. Anything longer is often a waste of time.
Lighten up the mood. My kids said they wanted to sell snacks at the sale. I had never done that before. They love making change and working with money so I thought what the heck. Of course it would add another layer of stress to the mix but it would occupy them and keep them outside as my toy consultants for the buyers.
I would have loved to sell homemade muffins and cookies but there was no way that was happening with everything else going on. I had to decide what the lesson was here….them making a profit or practicing their skills working with money, giving change but most importantly, being able to confidently interact with adults; looking them in the eye and saying thank you. I went to Costco and bought muffins, cookies, waters, orange juice, individual bags of chips and granola bars. About a twenty-five cent profit was built into every item, making everything either fifty or seventy-five cents, easy numbers to work with. I really wasn’t sure if thrifty garage sale clients were going to be interested in the snack side show but it was a hit. I purposely bought items I normally buy in case it was a total flop and we would be left with the leftovers. It turns out they love snacks. The kids made tons of money (of course they got to keep it) and they were ecstatic. The most popular item sold….Costco’s big muffins….Banana Nut and Blueberry selling out first.
Be prepared. Have bags and lots of one dollar bills and quarters on hand for change. Also have a plug available to test electrical items.
I always wonder what the first item sold will be, yesterday it was about thirty children’s DVD’s; Baby Einstein, Dora, Blues Clues and Sesame Street. They were gone by 8:05 AM.
Items I thought would sell immediately but didn’t sell at all:
Two antiquey-sort of Tiffany style lamps, 31″ high, pink. Perfect condition for $25 each. These would be perfect for a little girl’s room. No takers. Not sure if it was the price or something else.
A rubber chicken for $.50. Seriously why not? It’s a gag.
Lots of Halloween items. Not a big hit.
Items people were looking for but I didn’t have:
Item most fought over by customers:
2 rickety-aluminum patio chairs I was selling for $1.00 each. Five customers battled it out as to who saw them first.
Item customer was most excited to buy:
A large, glass-topped patio table I sold for $10.00. He cheered and jumped up and down after he handed me the money. I guess he really needed a table.
Items everyone wanted to buy but weren’t for sale:
A glider-swing that happens to sit in my driveway
The folding tables I used for the sale
The chair I was sitting on
The potted plants in front of my house
A very large bin full of really nice marbles.
(What’s up with garage sale thieves?)
Items I thought wouldn’t sell but did:
A large box of plastic grapes
Old Shoes (why do people love old shoes?)
Any other suggestions? Good luck at your next tag sale. I won’t be having one for a very, very long time.