Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lets have a garage sale

Once the last box was unpacked and the basement tidy we realized we had accumulated a lot of "stuff". Having kids definitely adds to the random pilings of junk that seems to gather into huge piles, and then into bags, and then into boxes when you aren't looking. The worst culprit is the equipment. Baby equipment that is ridiculous in size and takes up the most room, costs the most and is the hardest to part with. Clearly its time for a garage sale!!

A garage sale in my family is not just a "garage sale". I've got some big shoes to fill. My mom and my late father could be called professional garage sale hosts. When they had a garage sale (a few times a summer) the garage would be converted into a mini store. My mom had a knack for retail and set ups and my dad was always very creative. Carpet would be laid down on the floor, tables set up with everything labeled and in its place. I can even remember clothing racks, and at one time a rotating display case! I am by no means an expert but I am my parents daughter


Here are a few tips on how you can make the best of your garage sale!


1. Signage

If you build it, they will NOT come. You must advertise. Put signs at busy intersections in your area, and don't forget a sign at the end of your alley. I also like to have a few balloons on the fence so the sale can be spotted easily. My parents had wooden signs on a stake and each sign was hand painted with our address. Short on time and materials I opted for poster board stapled to poles and a few in ground signs. In a pinch poster board and a home depot stir stick work okay, just be sure to have your address marked clearly and in thick writing along with days and times.
Thursday and Fridays seem to be most popular in our area, make sure you take the signs down once you are done with your sale.
Online advertising like kijiji or craigslist is a great way to let people know about your sale.

Fold a poster board in half and glue a stick to the inside.. this is good for a quick fix but if you plan on having a sale more than one day long you might want to consider stronger materials.


2. Cover up what is not for sale

Unless you want someone buying your toboggans or items that you are holding onto, its best to cover them up or hear all day how much something is when its not for sale in the first place. Tarps or old sheets work well.

3. Pricing

Remember that you are trying to get rid of this stuff! leave your attachments behind and don't expect to get close to what you paid originally.. you will usually get less than half back. If there is more than one family contributing items to the sale its really important to find a method to identify whose item is what. We use initials on each tag however a color coded system for price tags would be ideal.
you can find printed price tags at almost any store including your local dollar store. Please price EVERYTHING, saying make me an offer is not ideal. People don't usually feel comfortable making an offer for fear that they will be way off your expectations. Its better for the customer to see a price and decide to buy it or negotiate.

4. Negotiation

If someone gives you a low offer, don't be offended! The buyer is looking for a good deal and will most likely feel out how badly you are wanting to get rid of the item. Hopefully you can meet in the middle. Often a buyer may have a few items in hand and offer you one reduced figure.. "Will you take $5 for all of this?"


5. Organization

Categorize and display your items. Clothing together, toys together, housewares together, etc. If you have a lot of smaller items such as Alex does for toys, you might better off bagging them in groups rather than selling individually.

My mom used an old picture frame with some plastic mesh as the perfect way to display some crafty earrings she had made


6. Get the kids involved!

When Alex heard we were having a sale he immediately said he wanted to have a lemonade stand, I thought that was a great idea but I convinced him to sell canned juice, pop and water instead. Alex went to work on his poster and talked non stop about it until garage sale time.

Alex actually did quite well with his stand. He had a display of what was for sale on the table and sat on a cooler containing the cold beverages on ice. He was so excited each time he made a dollar. I should also point out that he sanded and painted that little table he is using all by himself. I am one proud mama

7. Show me the money

Make sure you have a float with lots of small bills, quarters, loonies and toonies. We used an old tackle box as our till. For multi family garage sales it might be a good idea to write down a quick description of what was sold and for how much. (vase $1 - Jill).  Have lots of old grocery bags on hand in case your customers need them.

Have fun and for items that don't sell, consider donating to one of your local charities


  1. Hi there, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

    1. Hi Chris
      thank you for your kind words and for following, glad you are enjoying our little blog. I checked out your blog and became your newest follower :)


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