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  1. #1
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    Apr 2004
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    how to have a garage sale?

    i want to have a garage sale, but really have no clue about how to do it. could it really be as simple as it seems? just round up your stuff, slap some cheap prices on, put an ad in the paper and some signs up, and wait for the people to come buy all your stuff?? ive been to a lot of garage sales and my mom had some when i was a kid, but i guess i dont know what all is involved.

    if anyone has some good tips or advice i would love to hear it!!

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  3. #2
    Junior Member
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    May 2004
    Location
    Florida
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    You might want to check the local laws about garage sales. I know that in my neighborhood, you're required to get a permit to have a garage sale. They also take down all the signs you put up, because they have an ordinance or something against it. Sigh, my neighborhood is run by Nazis.

  4. #3
    Junior Member
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    May 2004
    Location
    bay area, CA
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    18
    oh! i also need some tips for having a garage sale (though they call them "tag sales" around here for some reason). we need to get rid of stuff and I guess I just assumed that rounding stuff up, slapping a price on it and putting up signs would be sufficient... if anyone has any tips they will be appreciated though.

    here are some links I found that might be helpful:

    http://www.yardsalequeen.com/yardsale.htm
    http://www.g-sale.com/
    http://www.stretcher.com/stories/00/000410d.cfm

  5. #4
    Member
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    Apr 2004
    Posts
    38
    Garage Sale Tip: stick the crap on a table if possible..and if you have access to one of those clothes rack things (sorry, name escapes me right now) that might help...I know I hate bending over to look at things that are laid out on the grass or dirveway....
    After Garage Sale Tip: For the crap that didn't sell - stick it at the edge of the driveway with a huge sign marked FREE...then whatever's left take to the local Goodwill if there's anything.....most likely there won't be....people love free crap, no matter how crappy.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
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    May 2004
    Location
    NOLA
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    I've helped my mom with a few garage sales over the years and they really can be simple! My advice is to make sure you have clear, easily readable signs and go to the bank the day before to stock up on change.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    811
    Most incorporated areas will have a requirement for a permit. You can often get it the same day, but try to do it the week before. It may be a buck or five. And it may limit you to two days once a year or somesuch. They'll also tell you about posting signs, what's allowed and what's not.

    Pricing merchandise: keep like sized and like priced things together. A cigarette lighter, five mismatched coffee mugs, paper towel holder, package of christmas cards, skein of yarn and a beat up pair of pliers can all go together if you don't have lots of similar things to group them with. They're all the same size, all under five bucks, etc.

    Put the eye catching stuff and furniture out closer to the road where passersby will see them. If you have primary colored preschool toys, expect that the antiques and books shoppers will not stop. But there are big resales in kids' stuff, too.

    Do not expect people to pay pawn shop or flea market prices. Don't expect to get what you think is a reasonable price. Just because you spent $40 on it two years ago is no reason to think someone will pay $10 today. That does depend somewhat on the merchandise, though. Just because it's collectible does not mean it's saleable that day in that area. It may be a great buy, but without the buyer it's worthless. Put it away for another year.

    Anticipate theft and deception. Be vigilant and don't be shy about telling someone to leave if you think they are trying to scam you. Sometimes at the early rush you will have a person or two distract you with arguments about prices or whatever while a friend of theirs is slipping bracelets on her wrist and tucking silk scarves into old sweat pants.

    One woman has come twice to my garage sales here. I don't know who she is with, but it's definitely a ruse. She will speak very softly without looking at me, asking the price of something that is already marked. While I look around to see who is talking, she turns her back and continues to speak softly. It's definitely a trick to keep me from seeing whatever is really happening. The last time I saw her I told her to leave and she tried to argue with me, also a way to create a commotion where her partner can make off with something more valuable.

    I practically give stuff away, I live in a nice area, and I know garage sale pricing and etiquette very well. And still someone will steal two of my German pilsner glasses or walk off with sago palms or tell my father they already paid for the CDs.

    Another thing I hate are the people who think every thing needs to be haggled over. "You think I busted my ass sorting all this stuff just to be nickel and dimed by you? The damn type cases are worth $25 apiece at a yard sale and I will not sell the lot of them to you for ten freaking bucks." I've had people say stuff like this, "Well I only want the maple wine rack for the casters so how about if I give you five bucks for it?" or "I really don't want the frame, but the print is cute so I'll give you a quarter." @#$%^

    Don't do it by yourself. Keep two of you with the merchandise at all times, never leave the cash unattended.

    Get it set up early, before the time you listed. I don't mean you have to sell early, but that might happen if you are amenable. Just don't wake up at 8 for a garage sale that's supposed to start at 7.

    Talk to people, even if just a hello. Real thieves won't be deterred, but generally nice people with sticky fingers may be less likely to steal if you've actually made eye contact.

    Be prepared to deal. Have an idea of what you would go for on something if offered. A box of books on tape for $30?, $20. Don't be hasty and base it on what the individual tapes are marked. You may not sell all of them singly, so a single purchaser lowballing you may still be profitable for you.

    You know those color coded round labels? Use them for pricing. Have several big posters with the colors and the price. All yellow tags like this one: X : 25 cents, etc.

    Any posters you put out need to be visible from a distance. Here are a few things that will help: Spring for the more expensive bright colored poster boards and a new fat magic marker. Make the sign simple, short and sweet. "Garage Sale 105 Brentwood --->>" Make your arrows and your type very bold. 72pt bold type is not too big if you use a computer. Use balloons with or without helium to draw attention to your sign. Post the signs and balloons at every significant intersection from the main drag to your place. Place a bigger sign at your house, same color and same balloons. Don't even bother with flimsy signs. The first wind or rain drops and they are gone or invisible. Plus they piss off the neighbors. Don't leave your signs up past the sale. In fact, I send someone out to collect the signs from the main drag in about half an hour before I close up shop.

    It takes more stuff to fill a garage sale than you might think. If all you can muster is one card table top worth, then get a friend or three to go in with you so you will attract more customers. Really. I don't stop for diaper genies or for three cardboard boxes in a driveway. There has to be the suggestion that something might appeal to me.

    Don't have long conversations on your cell phone or with a neighbor when there are shoppers. I can't tell you how many times I've walked away from a good sized purchase because the seller was unavailable while socializing. There's always another sale somewhere else where I can spend my money.

  8. #7
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2004
    Location
    kentucky
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    305
    in addition to what's already been said:


    if you have something that needs to be plugged in to make sure it works, have an extension cord or outlet available.

    music helps the day go by and brings people in.

  9. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Celery City, MI
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    278
    Couple more things:

    Newspaper ads REALLY work. However, if you post one:

    -DO NOT PUT YOUR PHONE NUMBER IN IT!! (sorry to yell). You will regret that endlessly.

    -Also, it sometimes helps to add "no early sales" to your ad, especially if you are listing details of the stuff you are selling i.e. antiques, vintage clothes or whatever. People will start hanging around your place by 5:30 a.m. in their trucks and they have no shame about ringing the doorbell so they can get the jump on the stuff they want. Even with the "no early sales" in there, people will probably still do this, especially if you are starting your sale on a weekday like Thursday when the real collectors are out. That said, if you can detail what you have for sale, it does help get people out there.

    If you can, get all the stuff set up the day before so all you have to do is roll up the garage door and go. It's really frustrating to have those early vulture-shoppers milling around while you move merchandise out from the house or whatever. It's too hard to concentrate on bargaining on what could be your most valuable sales while you are getting the other stuff all laid out.

    Good luck! Hope you make some mad bank!!

    Heidi

  10. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    375
    Price things for more than you want for them. I disagree with the no haggling thing. Most people who go to those things, are used to haggling. If you overprice, you have room to haggle and still get what you want for the item, and then they think that they have talked you down.
    If someone doesn't haggle, well then you made a big profit off of them.

    Try and get a couple friends to help you out, so that you have people to watch over your stuff for sale, and to answer questions while you are busy.

    Keep things neat. No one wants to buy a wadded up dirty sweater. Pretend you are running a real store, and clean everything up before you put it out to sell.

    If something doesn't sell, either donate it, or try to sell it on Ebay if you can.


 

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