Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Come Buy My Stuff! Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

Ok So I know I skipped a day and I owe you a post about my Ramblings notebook....its coming. PROMISE :) This week is chock full of doctor appointments, cheer practices, dance classes as well as daily themed teacher appreciation week check back a little later today for the Ramblings Book Post (I have to wait for the sun to peak through so I can get pictures in decent light :) )

But for now, lets talk garage sales! 

We have been putting this off planning our garage sale for about a month now...and with the up coming move, we knew it had to be done last weekend or never. Garage Sales can be a really great thing if done properly...its an opporunity for you to purge your house of clutter and junk while making a little bit of pocket change and visiting with your neighbors! But let's be honest...they can also be a lot of work...and a bit of a hassel. 

So lets talk tips and tricks for how to survive a garage sale :) 

1. Schedule it....Put it on the calendar and stick to it (Using the MOMager system? Mark your day in your Seasonal Planner ... then the week of put it on your week at a glance in your Weekly Folder
(and be smart like me and schedule a cinco de mayo style margarita bash after to celebrate! you earned it)
2. Post it... Craigslist is a great resource for garage sales...its quick, free and easy to throw up a post about your garage sale. For best results, include your address, cross streets of your neighborhood, the hours you plan to stay "open" and a list of some of the items you intend to sell (linens, dishes, bookcase...etc) If you've got pictures of a few big items, put those in the post as well! You could also take out an add in your local newspaper and make sure you put up a post on your facebook/twitter in case you have friends that might want some of your stuff. Don't forget to make signs to put on the ends of your street...many garage sale hunters come across sales simply by driving around in search of signs!

3. Get up seriously...early........ if you plan to pull your items out of your garage and on to your driveway or lawn plan to get up 2-3 hours before your sale starts...I was VERY suprised to see that even though my online posting noted hours of  "8-2" I had people searching through my stuff at about 6:45am.

4. Plan it....Have a general idea of how you are going to lay out your stuff...make sure you have enough tables, to lay things out and bins and boxes to sort items in. Other items to keep on hand: price tags, ziplock bags, blue painters tape, trash bags, grocery store bags, & sharpies.

5. GET CHANGE!!! and lots of it. we had to make 3 runs to the gas station down the street to get change for 20s...with most of our items going for $.50-$2 we were given a lot of $20 and expected to make change. I would suggest atleast $60 in smaller bills and $5 in quarters.

6. Bin it...Use bins to sort out kids clothes in multiple my sale I had clothes that spanned 18 months to adult clothes. Rather than spending a lot of time neatly folding tshirts and making my drive way look like Abercrombie and Fitch...I threw all of the corresponding sizes in to a basket/bin. AND THIS WORKED JUST FINE. granted, I didn't have a TON of stuff so the bins were a reasonable size and you could easily sift through to find the pieces you would like. I grouped the adult clothes on one side, and the kids clothes on another then lined them up in size with labels from smallest to largest.

7. Hang it...But what about the OUTFITS?! and my nice stuff?! put the good stuff on hangers and hang them up.. use a rolling rack if you have one...if you don't, feel free to use our trick...we tied up some cord between the garage doors and hung our things from there. Don't get too caught up with grouping things by size and color on the hangers, just seperate by style (Pants, skirts, dress clothes, casual, etc) 

8. Tape it....We had a lot of dishes that we were getting rid of cause our new tiny kitchen doesn't have much space in it, so I was only keeping pieces I really loved. To keep people from buying ONE BOWL out of a full set of 4, I used blue painters tape to group the set together...this won't damage the item and it lets your buyers know that the price is for the set and it is all meant to go together. 

9. Bag it...We also had a bunch of kids toys to get rid of...things the girls don't love anymore, or have simply outgrown. To keep all of the pieces together, throw them in to large ziplock bags and put a price tag on the outside. Have a bunch of little toys (thank you happy meals, birthday party goodies, and treasure box finds....) stick them all in one bag and call it a grab bag, sell it for cheap and let someone else enjoy it! (I have done this at everyone of my sales and it is always one of the first bags of toys to go...teachers love this stuff for rewards and kids love the thought that they can spend their garage sale $1 and get a whole bag of toys)

10. Make it cheap...I can't stress this enough. The reason for this sale is to get rid of this stuff...not to make money. Keep in mind that if it doesn't leave your sale in the hands of another ... YOU have to deal with it again. So remove your personal attachment...or your sellers pride...and quit thinking 'but I spent $50 on that shirt and now I'm just going to sell it for $3?!?" the simple fact don't love it...get rid of it. keep prices for clothing even across the board $.50 per piece for children's clothes...$1 per piece for adult t shirts and shorts $2 per piece for adult dress clothes and jeans...etc. A simple pricing system will keep you from having to haggle on every item out there. 

And when its all said and done, sift through your stuff and pick out the things that you absolutely can't send just give away (for us this was a nice car seat, some boutique children's clothes and a shelf) and take the rest to a charity drop off RIGHT AFTER THE SALE. do not just put it back in the garage and say you will get to it later...cause you won't...put it straight in your car and take it away. Some charities will even come to your house and haul your things away, all it takes is a phone call in advance and they will show up at the end of your sale ready to take your leftovers......Have stuff that is too big to haul away? do what we did...snap a picture and put it up on craigslist under the "FREE" posting and it will be gone in no time (seriously, our whole pile of stuff was gone in less than 30 minutes after we put the posting up) 

Now that your done...grab some lunch...take a nap...then shower up so you can take yourself out for a little reward with that extra money you made :) Happy Sale-ing! 

P.S. I almost wasn't going to put this pic up...but I'm just keepin it real here...this is what the garage looked like "pre-sale" OY!


  1. Garage sales are a ton of work, especially if you're by yourself! Looks like yours was very well organized.

    1. Yes they are a TON of work...We were exhausted when it was all done with. Thankfully I had a helper this year...the one I held last year I did all on my own...NEVER AGAIN! :)

  2. It was successful then!

    I'm always a little leary of using Craigslist...maybe the bad publicity in our area. Most of the local newspapers have an online classified we have used though!

    1. I've heard people mention craigslist being a little dicey in some areas...thankfully we haven't seen many problems in my area...thats a great service for your local newspaper to offer...I would certainly use that over craigslist if it was offered here!

    2. I'm going to actually agree...we use KSL in our area. We are in Utah. (I actually recognized the house you are buying, my ex husband looked at it not long ago! He's working for Samsung now down that way! Congratulations on it, it's gorgeous, those windows!)

      I've copied a lot of your ideas :/ I've not put them into practice, but I'm hoping to try them soon!

      I'm going to say this Shelly, reading your posts and seeing your photos...I LOVE how honest you are. It's hard to feel comfortable online, and I worry a lot about my kids photos being out there. I am still unsure about making my blog public but you've given me incentive!

      Susannah (from Dawn's blog)

    3. Thank you! I'd love to here how things work for you when you start putting them to use :)

  3. Hi! Found you over at a Bowl Full of lemons! I am a follower Im off to browse old post!

  4. Seriously a great post!!! These are all great musts before a yard sale (in my opinion, because it drives me nuts to be running around with my head cut-off during the sale). I love the last one about taking it to the thrift store right after! I've had many sales where I've told myself to not let ANYTHING come back inside. lol

    Thanks so much for sharing at Creatively Living!

  5. Am I the only one who thinks the last "pre garage sale" pic doesn't look so bad? I've been to a lot of garage sales where that picture would be the "during" garage sale shot! (and I mean A LOT! LOL) It looks to me like you had a well-organized, successful sale. Congrats! ... and thank you for sharing your insight. ~ Kristi Kirk Trent, Oklahoma City