Organizing for a successful sale!

If you are like most, being quarantined may have left you with some extra time on your hands that you finally applied to cleaning out those dreaded areas.  With donations centers being closed, I would imagine that you have piles of items either in your attic or garage just waiting to be taken away.  Now that it’s all gathered, you may realize that you have quite a lot and may want to have a garage sale or yard sale to try to unload it and make some cash.  I have a feeling that there are going to be some awesome sales this summer!

I wanted to share some ideas on how to set your sale up for success.  I have notice that many sales that I went to last year were unorganized and kind of haphazardly put together.  In order to have a successful sale you have to realize that it is going to take a little time and effort.  I am going to give directions for a garage sale you the same efforts can be used in a driveway or front yard.

  1. Gather your sale items to one location.  Once you have everything, group like items together.  Typical groupings:  clothing, shoes, housewares, toys, games, books, tools, sports equipment and such.
  2. Price each item.  If you aren’t sure what to price something at, compare prices on sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, etc.  A good rule of thumb is to price the items ¼ of the original price.  Keep in mind that some items may have a sentimental value to you, but they will not have that same value for potential buyers.    Remember, you want these items to sell so be sure to price them accordingly but leave a little room for price drop because people love a bargain and will most likely ask you to take a price lower than what you have asked for.  Think about what you would be willing to pay for the item if you saw it at a sale and use that as your baseline.  When pricing clothing, it’s a good idea to sell all items at the same price and make a simple cardboard sign stating the price per item.  This will make it easier for you when you are tallying up their purchases.  Use masking tape, computer label stickers or premade garage sale stickers to price your items.  Make sure you have prices as people tend to shy away from “Making an Offer” and you don’t want to turn away buyers.  If you are doing a sale with a friend, make sure to label with your initials.  If you don’t feel you have enough items, consider doing a sale with a friend so there is more merchandise to display.  You could also do the sale as a donation to your favorite charity and donate the proceeds.  Ask friends and family to donate items too.
  3. Arrange your sale space in a U shape.  Visually, it would be tables on the left, back and right with another table in the center.  Cover any items in the garage that are not for sale with a tarp or blanket.  Put the larger ticket items (eye catchers) outside of the garage to entice people to stop and shop at your sale.  Once you have your tables set up, go ahead and put your presorted items on display.  Remember that kids’ items should be on the ground or low so that they will see them.  I recommend hanging clothing.  It’s easier to look at.  If you have clothing that is folded on a table, I recommend using a tablecloth and signs to identify the sizes easier.  Have a “check out table” where you can place your cashbox, bags, extra pens, and table to keep track of your sales.  Make sure someone is always stationed at this table.  The time it takes to set up your sale is determined by the number of items you have for sale.  (I would say it takes me a week to get set up and organized). Have a back up plan in case of inclement weather.
  1. Decide when you are going to hold your sale. Some people do Friday and Saturday while others do one day or the other.  Most sales start early in the day (8a) and end at about 1p.  Keep in mind that there might be early birds.  Either be prepared to open early for them or stick to your opening time.  Once you decide on your dates and times, advertise them.  Utilize your community Facebook page, Nextdoor site, Craigslist and your personal Facebook page.  You could also share a couple of pictures of items that you are selling or highlight what you are selling.  I would start to advertise 1 week in advance.  Use that time to preview items and pre-sell if you prefer.
  2. Garage sale signs and markers. Make sure your sale has clearly marked, easy to read signs leading to it.  It’s a good idea to include balloons so that people won’t get lost along the way.
  3. On the day of the sale, be sure to have change available. Remember most people will go to the ATM and withdraw in 20’s.  So, having lots of ones and fives is important.  I would also recommend that you keep your money on you physically.  Use a fanny pack or an apron.  Another alternative is a cash box, but is easier for you to keep the cash safe when you always have it with you.  Have bags available for their purchases.  This is a good time to reuse those plastic or paper grocery bags.  Be prepared, you will most likely be the busiest in the morning.  It would be a great idea to have some extra help for that first hour.
  4. Remember that you can also make a deal. If someone is looking at something with great interest, offer them a lower price.  Additionally, you can do price adjustments towards the end of the day, the purpose of the sale is to sell as much as possible.  It is also a great idea to get the kids involved with selling hot drinks, water, lemonade, cookies or donuts.
  5. When all is said and done, immediately take the donations to your center of choice. There are wonderful non profits that service our community that would love to receive your donations and will also give you a tax receipt for them.  Load it all up and move it all out.  Once it goes out to the garage, it doesn’t come back in!  If the centers are closed, load it up anyway.  That way you will remember to drop it off at your next opportunity.
  1. The final step is to remove your signs and return any borrowed tables. There is nothing worse than leaving signs for a sale that is no longer happening.  Count your proceeds and remember to remove the amount that you put in for change.  Pat yourself on the back for a sale well done!
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