Pointers for Organizing Your First Garage Sale
Three summers have passed. That’s the amount of time since the eldest left for the university. The youngest is set to follow this year. The nest is feeling more and more empty. The eldest comes home for visits, but the last year saw less of him because of the hectic school schedule.
You’re rummaging in the attic, looking for an item you need for when the siding company comes to do their installations on the house. Nostalgia suddenly struck as you went through some of the old stuff your children have—toys, old sweaters, trophies, souvenirs, and sports gears, among other things. The children said that they were okay if you got rid of some of the items by donating them to charity or having a garage sale.
You finally said to yourself that you needed to be practical. Selling the items makes sense. With the external works in the house happening, the proceeds from a garage sale will help defray the cost. But you haven’t done one. So how do you go about organizing a successful garage sale?
Tracing the Roots of Garage Sale or Yard Sale
Some historians trace the roots of this modern-day informal commerce back to the 1800s at shipyards. Items as cargo that were not claimed are put on display and sold at discounted prices. By the 19th century, the practice permeated through community organizations, like churches. In the 1950s and the 1960s, people began occupying suburban communities, where big yards were part of the housing construction.
The post-WWII rise of consumerism further led to the popularity of garage sale or yard sale as we know it today.
You are starting to feel overwhelmed just by thinking of the items—toys, clothes, gadgets, souvenirs, appliances, etc. Take a deep breath and get down to business. Here are some of the areas you need to focus on:
- Initial Preparation. Choose a date for the sale. A Saturday or Sunday typically works best for people. It’s usually the time when families are together, which gives you a broader audience to target. You might choose to add Thursday or Friday, too. Pick a more pleasant time weather-wise, like the last week of September, when it is not too hot.
- Get the word out. Do an information drive to let people know in the neighborhood about the yard sale. Ads in the newspaper would still work, but these days, the internet and social media are where most people are in terms of gathering news. Create a page or an event on Facebook and invite people to participate in your yard sale event. Signs on a post and the yard will also help.
- Sort out stuff. Create big piles first for each item category, such as toys, clothes, electronics, books, etc., which you should sort out and then neatly display on a table with the price. Make the display table presentable by using a tablecloth when showing more valuable items.
- Let your personality shine. Smile and greet people as they approach your tables. If you feel like they are wondering about an item, offer information but do not come across as a hard sell. Give them time to look and absorb what you are selling.
In some cases, you might need to file for a permit, so this is something that you should do as part of the initial prep. Make sure you have a system for collecting payments and that you have small bills and coins to give as change. Designate an exit area where everyone should pay.