Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Garage Sale

We held our first garage sale over one of the weekends between our two weekends in Illinois (you following me?), back here. Every year the people on the front end of our street hold a garage sale in late Spring. Last year I begged them to let me in on it next time. I was pregnant with Mara then, and I was already so excited to get rid of all our baby stuff! I've been hoarding away junk for the garage sale for about a year now. Sheesh!

I stored it all in bins in the basement. I tried to keep things organized as best I could -- toys in one bin, clothes in another, etc. I didn't price anything until the night before. As I put stuff away I did contemplate how much I might list it for, but by the time I had it all out I was running on Walmart's business model. "There's so much crap here! Just sell it as cheap as you can!"

People got awesome deals, I tell ya. And we made out pretty well ourselves. Ben predicted we'd make $200, but my goal was $400. We brought in $450, but we paid out $20 to a babysitter Friday morning and the kids each made a little haul off some of their toys and the lemonade stand. Plus, we spent about $10 on signs and lemonade and treat supplies.

The main reason I'm posting about this though, is because I want to give myself a little advice for next time. Yes, I plan on doing it again sometime in the next two years (maybe one, maybe two -- we'll see how I'm feeling next spring). This advice is directed straight at me. If you're looking for a true "how to" I recommend googling it.

1. PUT OUT A CHAIR! I'd read about this on all the "how to" sites I researched, but come crunch time I completely forgot about it. I spent all day Friday on my feet. Not only did it hurt, I think it was awkward for some people (see #2).

2. Try harder not to socialize. I've worked retail in the past (and I'm good at it), so it was natural for me to greet people, refold clothes, straighten out things after people looked at them, etc. But garage sales aren't The Buckle and I think most the people who frequent garage sales have little desire to interact with the seller. Plus, when I got chatty (several people I knew -- be it well or casually -- showed up) I made more mistakes with my money totaling. There were two women who I know through a mutual friend and I'm pretty sure their kids walked away with things they thought they had paid for but I hadn't noticed. Oh well.

3. Don't negotiate in the first few hours. I hate bartering and rarely do it myself. But ... I know bartering is part of the whole garage sale experience. I prepared myself by creating my own deals that would try to dissuade people from asking for their own bargain. For example, the clothes folded up on the tables were .50 each or 5 for $2. I also prepared myself by having a bottom number in my mind for most our big ticket items. But when people tried to take a dollar or two off mid-priced items I usually agreed, and in hindsight I wish I'd had a "no dropping prices till noon" policy when I first opened Friday morning.

4. You'll need more tables than you think. I had Ben get three to start with, then he went back for two more, and then even more. We ended up using 7 or 8, plus we had stuff on bins and other things out on the driveway. It was packed!

5. We did borrow a clothing rack from a friend, and we made our own rack with a broomstick and two ladders. But next time I think I'll just use our ladder, since it opens up flat. If I prop it up on storage bins or something it could cover up the whole back length of the garage.  Speaking of clothing racks: I grabbed a couple bags full of kid's hangers from my favorite stores and it was awesome to have everything appropriately marked as far as size goes! I just need to do this sooner next time (see #6)

6. Get everything (change, tables, clothing props, sale items) set up two nights before opening. This leaves one full day for pricing and photo advertising. Pricing really wasn't too difficult, but I think I listed a lot of stuff super low because I was just tired of it by the time pricing rolled around. Plus, I wasn't able to advertise with photos until bedtime the night before, but I did have several people stop by because they'd seen my photos ... so it works!

7. Put a sign on a fence post at the edge of our lot. The people at the beginning of our street attract a lot of shoppers, but I think a lot of people left after stopping there.

8. Some of the best advice I used from other's (and I might forget) was to wear an apron instead of having a cash box. Put any tools or other "man magnets" closest to the street. Remember people typically shop from right to left. To hep guide the flow of traffic, have big ticket items on the right and high traffic items in the back middle.

I think that covers just about everything I want to remember for next time. Ben may be questioning my sanity if he hears me say I want to do it again. It certainly is a lot of work and if I break up the hourly wage it is hardly worth it ... but I think I'm more motivated to get rid of stuff if I sell it myself than if I give it to Goodwill (that may be selfish, but at least I recognize it). I do feel lighter now that all that stuff is out of my house, and I'm glad we've got some extra spending money to tune my new piano!

Two of my little helpers keeping me company Saturday morning

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...