So we had our first multi-family garage sale this past Saturday and it was an okay success. I mean, we got some money for some of our stuff. So that’s good. But really, it was a lot of work for little return. It will likely be a long time before I do one on our own again.
Here then are some thoughts I had about the process:
1) If your neighborhood ever has neighborhood garage sales where someone else (usually a realtor) does all the advertising, signage, and organizing, do that instead. Prepping and advertising a garage sale is a real pain in the ass. Plus, you will likely have a lot more foot traffic.
2) Don’t wait until the night before to price your stuff and make signs. That just means you will pull an all-nighter (I did) and ensures you will take all of Sunday to recover. (Hapa Papa is a saint.) I know this is obvious and we all knew it going in and yet we STILL procrastinated. So painful.
3) Don’t price your stuff too high. We fell into this trap thinking people would haggle. People did not. A lot of people just walked away. Some money is still better than no money.
4) Good signage is KEY! We had very good signs. (I am biased since they took me several hours.) Letter sizing should be 3-5inches tall in dark, thick ink. Ours were on bright poster board and I included huge arrows.
I was super anal retentive and drew down lines so the letters would be the same size. Also, I first wrote in pencil so I wouldn’t have one of these situations:
On the front, I also numbered each sign and had it correspond to a number on a map that detailed each intersection and direction the arrow should be pointing. The back of each sign also had that same number as well as the cross streets and a small map giving the approximate location.
I know. Perhaps I spent too long on the signs. But without good signage, how can people find your house? My crowning achievement was multiple compliments on the signage. It’s the little things, people.
5) Make a pact with your friends (or yourself) to immediately donate your leftover garage sale items. Don’t bring them back to your house. You will feel better.
6) Have a cooler with drinks and maybe some snacks on the side. People will buy them. We didn’t intend to sell food and drinks, but we did anyway.
7) Be prepared to possibly have more stuff at your house than you started with. Especially if your house is where the garage sale is held. That’s because some big pieces or random flotsam will be left at your house until people have time to pick it up. Also, you will inevitably swap stuff with your friends.
8) Clothes aren’t usually a big seller. I say next time, just donate it first.
9) Have lower expectations about how much money you will make. This is NOT Clean Sweep. That being said, our combined loot was around $4-500. Some folks made more than others.
If you have the time and energy, perhaps multi-day sales are a way to go. But in general, I don’t think the ROI is there.
10) Combine garage sales with your friends. You’ll have a lot more loot and a lot more fun. Even if you don’t sell much, you are at least still hanging out with your friends.
Look at all our loot:
11) At the cashier, you should have at least two people. One person to tally the total of the sale. One person to tally how much goes to each person. To cut down on adding, I made a grid with our names and various prices. That way, I could just mark off a price versus add for a person. In other words, if Fleur had three items purchased, one at $0.25, one at $1, and one at $10, I would make a hash at $0.25, $1, and at $10 versus adding up $11.25.
Ok. That’s all I could come up with. Those of you with more experience, let me know what I missed.