Restricting Access to Your Home: Lock up your home (windows and doors). You will have to be the gate keeper of Who or If-At-All you will allow anyone in your home. If you do NOT want people in your home. Post a sign that says "No Public Restrooms or Access". IF you ALLOW access to the inside of your home, I would recommend having your Cash, Valuables, Jewelry, Medications, etc. locked in a secure location BEFORE you "Open" or allow access.
Children Awareness: Make sure if you have young ones, they are not left alone or unattended (according to their age, experience, and abilities). Guests with young ones should be supervised around Strangers, Valuables, Dangers, and Breakables.
Pet Awareness: Both Your's and/or Guest's: Some Pets can be an Asset (Security and/or Cute Factor), and others can be a Liability (Distraction, Biting or Scratching Hazard, Allergies, Smells, or Create Fear), to you and your Sale. Remember that certain Pets should be on a leash (by Law and/or common sense) however, be aware that the leash could be a moving / tripping Hazard. HINT: Consider having a water bowl to encourage pet owners to browse.
Guest Awareness: If they seem to have any physical disabilities, be alert to potential needs. Also, how well you know them, how long they stay (example: more than an hour???), or what they concentrate on (Garage Sale Items, or Non-Garage Sale Items) should all play a factor in if you need to decide that their "Expressed or Implied Invitation" is to be Revoked, and you ask them to leave.
High End Items: Your Guest do not want to injury themselves or your "For Sale" Items. Keep heavy items where not at risk of falling. Keep breakables secured. If it is a small or light weight item that could easily "Walk Away" at a busy or distracting time, you may want to place it in a more secure area.
CASH and CHANGE storage: Avoid showing large "Stacks" of CASH. After you accumulate an unsafe amount of visible CASH, you may want to have someone make a deposit to a secure location (like a Bank).
Lower Pricing: Requests / Offers: Don't be Offended by Lower Offers. You still have the Executive Power to say a Polite "No" or "Not at this time". You can take down their name and number if you change your mind, or have them come back towards the end of the Sale. You could say: "We just opened, and I would like to wait a few more hours to see if I can get a higher offer." Then quietly wait 22 seconds for their Increased Offer.
Up-Sale: A couple of ideas.You can Offer a Paying Guest a "20% Off Coupon (on items over $10) on their next purchase. When someone is interested in an item, offer a package pricing with a complimenting item, at a package price (example: interested in framed painting, offer candle holders at 50% off). Also See: "Pricing Items" in the "Before the Sale" Section.
Friends, Family, and Neighbor Discount: Do you want a Quick and Friendly way to avoid Awkward Negotiating with these Beloved People? Considering Offering them a 10% - 20% OFF everything OR, 1 FREE Item under $10 (but keep it between you and them alone). Two things to keep in mind: (#1) It is possible that you would be talked down on pricing by a complete stranger. Wouldn't you want to treat these people better than a stranger? (#2) That "Wiggit" you purchased 2 years ago for $30 (and don't need / want any more), could be sold for $5 dollars, and you would then have $5 dollars. However if you give it to a Friend, Family, or Neighbor, you have the warm and fuzzy feeling of giving them a $30 dollar "Wiggit". In my book, that is a small price to pay. And they will remember it for years longer than a $5 Dollar fast food hamburger you would have purchased with the proceeds.
Avoid Leaving High End Items Unattended: It's easier to watch a tidy / well kept sale. Have Capable Assistance for another pair of eyes. And another reminder to keep your awareness for: Dangers, Guests, and Loved Ones (Human or Pet).
2 Hours Before YOUR last day of hosting YOUR Garage Sale, Consider having an "50% OFF SALE": You can make it on "All items under $50" (or something similar). Or you may want to have some items excluded from this sale (Those items should be Clearly Marked).
Half hour Before YOUR Closing, Consider Offering items for FREE to Friends, Family, and Neighbors: Now's the time to make friends with the neighbors for when you need to borrow the hedge trimmer. I have seen signs at a Garage Sale that read "EVERYTHING FREE (Must take ALL)" Just to avoid the hauling-it-off portion of the day.
Don't Leave unattended items "FOR FREE" in Yard: Items left Unattended, In the Rain, or After Dark, the Last day of Sale, look poorly on Everyone [You and the neighborhood]. And likely to be a Larger Mess for you later. Pick up all Garage Sale Signs.
If Eligible, Keep Receipt of "Value of Items Donated" to a IRS Recognized, Non-Profit Organization, for tax purposes: You'll want to check with your CPA, or the latest tax codes on this one...
Turning Trash into Treasures
Garage Sale Season!
It is our Sincere Desire that Everyone in Our Community has a Safe and Enjoyable Experience, turning used goods into someone else's Treasures. Conversing with Neighbors, making New Friends and Memories. The information contained on this page is for your Discretionary Use Only, and NOT to be considered legal advise. As the Host or Owner of your property, you are responsible for the Health and Safety of: Yourself, Your Family, Your Loved Ones, and Your "Guests" during your Garage Sale.
Real Estate Broker with Crescent II Inc.
Finding "For Sale" Items: Spring is in the Air. Time for Spring Cleaning. Some folks choose to use the "1 year rule". If you haven't used it in over a year, put it in consideration for the Garage Sale. (HINT: Places to Look: Storage Unit, Garage, Closets, Shed, Attic, etc.)
Inspection: (Properly Discard / Recycle: Broken, Non-Functioning, Dangerous, etc.) As a general aid, Electronics and Batteries should NOT be discarded into the trash, but should be properly recycled. Note: some items that are Broken or Non-Functioning, still have value when repaired or restored (HINT: Factor your time and materials to clean and restore, verses the repaired sales value).
Cleaning / Packaging: (Warning: Antique, Vintage, Rare, and Collectibles are OFTEN best left in their current state (unless properly cleaned and/or restored by someone trained to do so). Other Items that are dirty should be cleaned (unless the time and materials to clean them exceeds the resale value). (HINT: [Example 1] Stained clothing may no longer have clothing value, but can maybe be packaged as shop rags. [Example 2] Package electronics with the charger, manual, and/or other accessories.)
Pricing Items:Try to price in increments of .25 Cents, or better yet $1.00 Dollars, for ease of making change (HINT: Package items together in a clear sandwich bag [stapled shut], and sell at a bulk discount [Example: 6 items of .25 Cent value for $1.00]). For Non-Designer clothes, Offer "Fill a grocery bag for $5". DVD/BlueRay: $1 each disk. Why is it a good idea to price slightly less than a Pawn Shop, Thrift Store, or Used Online Venue? They have some perks a typical Garage Sale can't Offer: Accepting Credit / Debit cards, Issue receipts for write offs, offer a 30 day in store credit on all return merchandise, and have public posted hours of operation following the sale. There are of course exceptions to this general rule but you get the idea. When comparing an item to Online pricing, check that online's SOLD Prices (not Asking Prices). If you have the manual, all the accessories, and the Original Box / Packaging, you can probably ask a 20% - 30% higher price than a similar used item without packaging.
Clearly Marking / Pricing: Larger Items, like Appliances and Furniture, should have a larger price tags (perhaps a half sheet of paper or 3x5 card, clearly marked with a thick permanent marker (Careful not to let the marker bleed through the paper). HINT: Some items of higher value that are difficult to get stickers off of, could instead be price marked with a Quality Painters Tape (Much Easier to Remove).
Combining Garage Sales: Community or Multi-Family Garage Sales tend to get more traffic, because the general public think there is an increased possibility to finding things they need, or hidden treasures.
Determining Which Weekend: Have the sale on a weekend that follows when most of the people in the area receive their income (perhaps following the 1st and the 15th, Government check (Tax Returns, Food Stamps), or a weekend that has optimal weather.
Hiding Items NOT FOR SALE: Keep items that are "NOT For Sale" out of sight (perhaps covered with a non-damaging sheet, or behind a temporary wall of sheets).
Free Box / Bin: This is sometimes just the bait needed to get people out of their cars and see your other items for sale. Just like the bait of a fisherman, the bait may have a small cost or value, but the idea is to sacrifice that, to get the Big Fish. HINT: Have a Large FREE sign that is Easily Seen from the street / driveway. The larger the sign and box, the better.
Strategic Product Placement: From the Garage Sale Guest's viewpoint, keep the FREE Box Visible and Close. This will encourage them to stop the car and follow the bait... (See also "Health and Safety", "Pre-Advertising...", and "Extra Profit Hint" Below)
Health and Safety:Have all walking surfaces clean and easy to navigate. Remove all Slip, Trip, or Fall Hazards (skateboards, extension cords, etc.). Glass and Breakable items secured on a sturdy surface(s). Knives, Scissors, Staples, and other Sharp items secured (Secured, Taped, Corked, etc.). Sunscreen when necessary. Keep hydrated with fluids containing electrolytes. Outdoor Electricity is GFCI protected. It doesn't hurt to know how to perform CPR, and have a Fire Extinguisher handy.
Pre-Advertising High End Items: What a Great Way to get more traffic to your Garage Sale! If a Garage Sale item(s) is of high value (Perhaps Over $100) You may want to additionally advertise it on a free online sales site (I think CRAIG has a way to LIST, or you could OFFER it UP, etc.) You may likely receive Higher Offers than you would have without the additional free advertising. Advertise on a pubic bulletin board at you local Grocery Store.
Rain and Shine Preparation: In case of rain or shine, you may want to have a plan for protecting your goods. Rain can damage electronics, paper products, etc. And the Sun can also damage items like: candles, sun fade colors, or start a fire when magnified through glass products (like prescription glasses or other magnification lenses)
Change for a $50.00 ???: This depends a lot on: How you have priced your items, How many items you have, How long you plan to be open to the public, Foot traffic, and How well you Up-sell and package deals together. It would be Unsafe and Unwise for us to suggest you have a certain amount of "CASH ON HAND". However We can suggest that you not bother with having bills above a $5. If you need to give $30 dollars in change, you could have a $20 and a $10 on hand, or you could just give them (6) $5 dollar bills and have a lot more versatility. It's a good idea to have mostly: Quarters, $1, and $5 Dollar bills. Warning: Never show large amounts of CASH to the Public (Remember that $50 Dollars in CASH can look like thousands when bundled together as $1 and $5 Dollar Bills). It is a good idea, when you have a safe and free window of opportunity, to reduce or hide the larger bills and/or Wad-O-CASH that the public may be able to view.
Shopping Bags: Garage Sale Hosts often forget to have shopping bags available for their Guests. You are missing a great opportunity to accomplish 2 things YOU would LOVE to have happen. Item #1: You get ride of a bunch of those grocery shopping bags that you have crammed under your sink. And Item #2: You free up your Guests hands to shop and buy more of your things! I recommend that you have plenty on hand (HINT: Used plastic bags are often free at your local grocery store) and double bag everything (this safeguards their newly purchased items better, also makes more noise letting other shoppers know they have competition, and they better get buying... You can also use the bags to help secure breakables and cushion them.
EXTRA PROFIT HINT: Buy a 24 Case of Water for around $5 Bucks, and put it in the Refrigerator the day before. Your Guests may try to negotiate with you down 50% on an item, However they will Happily pay you $1 -$2 Dollars for an: Ice Cold, Factory Sealed, Bottle of Water that you paid around .20 Cents for. (Mild weather $1, Hot weather $2). Have a nice Big Cooler, Clearly Labeled "Water $1".