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Friday, April 17, 2009

Garage Sale Planning - Part 2

So...we left off with advertising your sale with signs. Your signs (including at the end of your street) should be put up the day prior to the sale. Make sure they are taped with clear packing tape otherwise you risk a lot of lost signs due to wind, kids, etc!

I am a firm believer in leaving as little as possible to set-up the day of the sale. I have price tags/labels ready for the larger items, i.e. furniture, appliances, etc. and general prices for books and clothing. I do not even begin to try pricing knickknacks, games, toys, etc...let them ask you and you name your price then (ALWAYS make it higher than you expect them to pay so when they talk you down you both feel like you are "winning"!). If you really want to make it easy, set out grocery bags and sell clothing for $3 per bag (more or less depending on the quality of what you have out there). You may want to separate particularly good items - designer brands, suits or evening dresses and coats - and price them accordingly and not allow them in the "all you can fit in a bag" deal.

The evening before the sale day, I make sure all of my folding tables are in one spot nearest to the garage door. I ensure that I have a dolly to move any furniture and that there is an extension cord to allow potential buyers to test electronic items. I have a fanny pack ready (yes, stylish, I know!) with a small calculator and adequate change (about $50 in bills and coins) to start the sale with. I also make sure I have a comfy folding chair for me to relax in between what I hope will be hordes of customers. Finally, I make sure the coffee pot alarm is set and so is my bedside alarm - Always allow 1/2 hour to get coherent and an hour for set-up before your start time. And (no kidding!) hard core shoppers will show up as soon as you turn on a light outside and pull the first table out. Do not let them negotiate prices on large items until you've actually been up and running for at least an hour...if they really want it, they'll be back.

Other day of sale notes:
* DO leave lots of room for people to move between items (aisles so to speak)
* DON'T (if at all possible) throw clothes on the ground on a tarp - hard for people to sort through and easy for them to get stepped on. Try to arrange to hang up the best items and put the rest on a long table.
* DO separate kids' books from adults' as this will give them something to look at while parents shop.
* DON'T sell baked goods - too much possible liability, BUT when my daughter was selling Girl Scout cookies, I did put those out for sale.
* DO have a contingency plan for if it starts to rain (or as it did one late spring in Boise, snow)...clear tarps help immensely.
* DO keep the money on you at all times and don't let people rush you when you are counting items or making change. Be aware that sometimes someone may try to take off with an item or cash and you do not want to leave the sale without someone running it at all times. Also, when you get large amounts of cash, put some inside the house - you won't need it all for change.
* DON'T take personal checks unless you absolutely know the person!
* DO take down all of your signs at the end of your sale - keep the neighborhood clean!

With these guidelines in place, you can count on a successful sale...and be realistic - any money you make is more than you had before you started! Enjoy the "game" of the sale and meet people!

Happy selling!

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