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If you don’t use the right garage sale tools to alert potential customers, you’re sale will be a FLOP.
Selling Stuff Is Easy As Long As You Have The Tools
Local garage sales are slowly popping up as Spring has finally arrived.
You’ll find the end of May into June, July, and August the most prominent garage sale months of the year.
Typically garage sales kick off on the Victoria Day long weekend at the end of May when most people poke their heads out from inside closed doors.
It’s as if it’s safe to come outside.
For those eager sale seekers, some people host a garage sale as soon as the birds start chirping at the end of March.
Spring cleaning is in full swing, with windows opened to let the fresh air circulate through the musty-wintered house.
This is also when homeowners and renters realize they have too much stuff.
Mrs. CBB and I decided that we would hold our first CBB garage sale this summer and get rid of stuff once and for all.
I firmly believe that whenever I’m out to make/save money, I treat whatever I’m doing like a business.
A garage sale is a big business, especially for homeowners who need space and money.
If you’re not prepared with the right tools, you may lose the customers with the money to spend.
The last thing you want to do is haul all your useless stuff back in at the end of the day.
Garage Sale Success
If you’re planning on hosting your garage sale, success relies on two things;
- The seller (that’s you)
- By having the proper Garage Sale Tools.
How To Host A Garage Sale
At the dinner table a few days back, we discussed what garage sale tools we would need to host a successful sale.
Both of us are planners, so the need to know comes in before we jump into cold water.
In essence, hosting a garage sale is about hustling customers and getting the best prices for stuff you have no use for that they see as gold.
- Start going through your stuff and set aside what you no longer want.
Our biggest downfall after buying our first home in 2009 was that it was empty, so we went wild filling it up.
Almost everything we own is second-hand, apart from technology-based items we prefer to buy new.
Buying used was in part, a savings mechanism we used to help us pay our mortgage off in 5 years.
We even purchased our unfinished basement, which will probably last a few years.
That’s a long time to hold on to furniture and home decor.
The worst is dusting something you aren’t using but want to use.
It’s easy to keep buying, but it’s harder to let stuff go until it becomes an overwhelming clutter of stuff you forgot you owned.
That’s when you know it’s time to de-clutter and organize a garage sale, and perhaps a KonMari method approach could help start the process.
Marketing Your Garage Sale
Once you have all the stuff you are ready to part with; you should pick a date with start and finish times, then post your garage sale listing online.
You can also post in the local newspaper and, the night before, put signs up around your neighbourhood to direct traffic to your goodies.
Always remove the signs when the garage sale is done so they aren’t left to look like clutter.
If you do post your garage sale online, it helps if you have garage sale pictures of some of the big-ticket items you are selling.
Photography is another wonderful marketing tool that garage sale hosts don’t want to miss out on using to their advantage.
An attractive garage sale sign that is easy to read always intrigues people, especially if there will be free stuff.
I wouldn’t suggest marketing free beer as in the photo above, but I’m sure it got the attention of many.
Protect Your Assets
You’re welcoming strangers onto your property and, for some, into their garage and home (furniture/TV/computer, etc.).
Always lock your front and back doors because no one will take much notice if someone is walking inside or to the back of the house if a garage sale is in progress.
Even if you are in the garage, lock that door unless someone is inside, as garage sale theft is a big business.
It’s easy for a stranger to slip in without notice, with backup watching your every move while guiding the burglar on a cell phone.
Keep pathways clear and put up signs if you want people to take their shoes off, avoid smoking or feeding the pets (or your kids) if you have any outside.
Nobody Likes A Messy Shop
It would be best if you did not attempt to organize a garage sale the morning of the sale or even the night before.
Planning a successful garage sale takes time and the right garage sale tools to help get rid of your stuff.
What time is it?
I don’t know.
Get rid of the clocks if you have any in the garage.
You don’t want to rush your buyers away because as the clock is ticking, they know the good stuff won’t last long at other garage sales.
Well-seasoned garage sale ninjas are on the hunt, and they move fast.
These people get in and out and look like they’ve had too many coffees for 7 am garage sales on a Saturday morning.
Some buyers arrive on a cruise ship, and others use a speed boat.
Learn to tell the difference by watching your customers.
Oddly, you won’t make much money from them because they know what they want, have eagle eyes, and can swallow everything you have in seconds.
If they spot something, they will do whatever it takes to get it for the least amount possible.
Buyers Reselling Purchases
Many of these garage sale warriors will re-sell the stuff they buy for profit, so they already know what they are willing to pay.
If they don’t manage to dig the garage sale owner into the ground for the price they want, they’ll walk away and send someone else to try.
Ha! Not always, but it happens.
The same thing happens on the popular buy-and-sell Kijiji app.
If the seller doesn’t budge on the price, get your mother, father, brother, or sister to message the seller and see what they can get the price down to.
Garage Sale Shock
Anyone who hasn’t held a garage sale before or hasn’t been to garage sales might be shocked when it comes time to host their first sale.
It can be overwhelming for the sellers, especially if they have a sentimental attachment to items and buyers are trying to scoop them up for breadcrumbs.
You have to be ready for business and every kind of customer to come your way.
To deal with your customers, you must ensure everything else is controlled and organized with your garage sale.
This is why gathering all the garage sale tools you need before the sale is important.
I’m talking even a week or two before to ensure you’re ready.
Sometimes it’s the small stuff that adds up to big disasters.
You don’t want to miss a sale either because you don’t have your garage sale tools ready to go.
The most appealing garage sales are neat, tidy, and organized.
I think those three words all mean the same thing.
In other words, buyers don’t want to dig through mounds of old clothes on a tarp on your front lawn.
I’m also attracted more to friendly, welcoming, and smiling sellers.
I think all of those three words mean the same thing too.
Customer Service With A Smile
No one will talk to you if you’re grumpy, and for goodness sake, eat your breakfast before the garage sale.
I can’t stand it when homeowners are outside with a bowl of cereal and trying to sell stuff.
How would you like it if you went into Tim Hortons for a coffee and your cashier was finishing up a donut and trying to serve you simultaneously?
One of the best garage sale tools you can have is yourself.
Don’t if you aren’t in the ‘mood’ to host one.
You can wait until you’re in a better selling mood and then watch the sales pour in.
Another pet peeve is when a garage sale is not ready when they say it will be ready.
Prep work is essential; doing it the morning of is the biggest waste of time, especially when the crowds are streaming and looking for item prices.
No one likes to wait for a price but will wait to negotiate the right price.
Keep your pets indoors or under control so they aren’t disturbing your customers, and if your kids are playing with the stuff you are selling, odds are no one will buy it.
Garage Sale Tools Every Seller Needs
On any given Saturday during the high season for garage sales, there will be so many listings that buyers will pass you by if you’re not on top of things.
That means lost revenue for your business wallet.
Stop Sharing Too Much Information
Excellent customer service skills also mean knowing when to sever ties with a buyer that isn’t making a purchase.
As friendly as you should be, don’t waste too much time on one customer by talking to them about stuff irrelevant to your job- selling your stuff.
You’re not there to make friends; you’re there to make money, but swapping numbers or catching up later doesn’t hurt.
Consider These Garage Sale Tools And Tips
- Successful garage sale pricing in 2017 depends on how much you paid and what it’s worth to you and to someone else. If you over-price, it won’t sell if you under-price, you lose. Knowing current trends, prices, the shape of your item, and being able to read your buyer are all attributes of a sale. Whatever you do, please don’t use Amazon Canada as an online garage sale pricing source. The numbers are skewed on many third-party products, so you need to know your prices before becoming an Amazon shopping pro.
- Garage sale clothes rack. Suppose the clothes are on racks, neat, and on hangers with price tags. You can divide the clothes into Men’s, Ladies, Babies, unisex, boys’, and Girls’ by size. The easier you make the process, the faster you will sell it.
- Garage sale tables to place your items on so buyers don’t have to reach the ground for everything.
- Garage sale signs that are pre-made from the dollar store
- Bristol Board/Markers/Tape to make unique signs for everything. Try to be funny and inviting when marketing your signage.
- Cash box with small denominations of money
- Table and chairs or desk for the seller’s stuff. This also acts as a payment area so the buyer doesn’t have to hunt the homeowner down to pay them.
- Calculator to make sure you’ve got the right numbers.
- Pen and paper to make notes
- Host a garage sale bake sale with lots of homemade goodies and drinks.
- Music is nice to break the silence and add a bit of ambiance but not too loud.
- Colour-coded stickers from the Dollar Store- Make a sign with the prices and coding colours that the stickers represent, or attach a sticker to each item and use a marker to price the item.
- Telephone just in case a buyer needs to call a lifeline such as a wife, husband, boyfriend/girlfriend to see if buying something or asking questions is OK. You might even need to call the police or 911 in an emergency.
- Measuring tape, screwdriver, and hammer are needed, but only if you have items that might need to be taken apart or measured.
- Garbage can for the buyers with empty coffee cups and whatever else might need garbage.
- Internet access nearby to look something up if needed to make a sale.
- Directions to the nearest coffee shop with bathrooms
- Plastic bags or empty boxes to encourage buyers to load up on stuff.
- Caution tape to divide the space inside the garage so certain garage items don’t go missing. It’s also like a barrier for buyers that says, Stop.
20. As a garage sale host, it’s important to be seen, so wear something goofy that says you’re the homeowner and get out there and sell.
Don’t sit on your lawn chair sipping coffee and chatting while sales are walking away.
Discussion Questions: What other garage sale tools would be handy for a sale?