[Here’s a post I didn’t have time for from before we left].
My sister and I are avid garage-salers. Some summers we got out every Saturday morning as early as possible, grab breakfast at McDonalds, and go out hunting for the next great deal.
Some things you should know about going garage-saling:
- The early bird, really does get the worm. The best deals are obviously the quickest to be snatched up, and you’re competing against serious people like my sister and me. So get there early. Most garage sales start at 9, so it’s good to be on the road by then.
- Last call can also be a winner. Sellers are a lot more willing to barter when facing the prospect of packing everything up and taking it to Goodwill or the Thrift Store. That’s why the end of the day can be a great time to garage sale too.
- Hoarders are real. Don’t make fun of them. Don’t be one of them. We’ve all seen that lady driving around in the 1982 minivan with stuff packed to the ceiling, and other stuff crowding the passenger seat and some stuff falling out whenever she opens up the door. Only buy stuff you need or really want.
- Barter, but be reasonable. Nothing is more annoying for a seller than a shopper picking up at $70 item and offering $5 for it. Decide what you are willing to pay and offer that amount. If they don’t agree to your offer, then walk away. But a smile goes a long way!
- Embrace the drive-by. Buzz past a prospective stop. If you see stuff you like, or get a good vibe, park.
- Don’t park like an idiot. Don’t block driveways, don’t park on the wrong side, don’t block the lane-way. If you have to park a block away and walk, it will be good for you.
- Don’t comment on the weather. They’ve had that conversation already.
Some things you should know about holding a garage sale yourself:
- A well-signed garage sale makes all the difference. Make sure you post good, recognizable signage all over your area. Use bright neon colours, or different shaped signs that people can recognize. The should each say the date and address. Don’t forget to take them down after.
- Use the internet. Post ads in the Garage Sale section on Kijiji and Craigslist. Find any way you can of getting out the date and the name of your street. (Don’t put your actual address, or people may show up the night before for a sneak peak).
- Try to get your neighbours involved. The more chum there is in the water, the more sharks will stop by. Whoa!! But really, from a shopper’s perspective, if there are lots of sales in the area, it will definitely be worth a trip to your neighbourhood. Post it online as a “Parade of Garage Sales” and indicate the name of your neighbourhood or area.
- Price every item. There’s nothing worse that people asking you constantly, “How much do you want for this?” Just put the price down. It takes some time, but makes life easier.
- Have lots and lots and lots of change. Most people will pay for a 25 cent item with a twenty, so make sure you have lots and lots and lots of change.
- Have a power supply for people to test electronics.
- Only sell things that work. If stuff doesn’t work, make sure to mark it.
- Hope you get nice weather. If the weather sucks, the turnout will blow.
- Decide ahead of time if your goal is to make money or get rid of stuff. If it’s to make money, be prepared to barter with people and reject low-ball offers. A wry smile goes a long way in price negotiation. “Come on, what’s your real offer?” If your goal is to get rid of everything, accept every offer, but be prepared for the major lowballers.
For interest’s sake, and because we’re not really holding anything back on this blog, we sold about 95% of everything we put out, and cleared about $1900. Not a bad couple of days.