Our Garage Sale Experience: Part III

Garage Sale

Our garage sale was held Saturday and I thought I would share our experience, including what worked and what didn’t work.

The Good

  • We made $140.
  • We cleared out all of the baby things that took up a large portion of our basement. Yep, done having babies!
  • We got rid of wedding gifts we have never opened from their package and never used in our home. This is one of the reasons I like to give cash as a gift.
  • My son earned $1 per hour for helping me and learned the value of working for his fun money. He was able to earn $5 towards a video game he wants.
  • People saw our Disney sign and offered to donate towards it without buying anything. It was very sweet.

The Myeh

  • It was freezing cold and raining, so we had fewer people than expected.
  • We didn’t grill our hot dogs because of the rain.
  • I probably should have checked the value of a few things on Ebay before trying to sell, including these Lenox porcelain cat spice jars that belonged to my husband’s late aunt. We didn’t sell them at the sale, but they are worth $12-25 each, and we have 22 of the set. We were going to sell them for $3!

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The Bad

  • I baked all four dozen cinnamon rolls in the morning, but should have waited to bake them one dozen at a time. We only sold about a dozen, and have had to eat through the rest. We only sold a few bottles of water.
  • It took at least 4 hours of work the night before to get ready, plus an hour in the morning. I the  sat out in the garage for 7 hours. Our hourly rate was just under $13/hour. I make an awful lot more per hour as a nurse.
  • I froze my behind off!
  • No one wanted my husband’s and sister-in-law’s 30 year old skis.

In the future, I will not choose to work a shift before the day of a garage sale, and I will check Ebay for higher value items. We probably only sold 1/3 of our stash, but we did get rid of some big things that were taking up room. All the extras are going to Goodwill!

Planning A Garage Sale

Garage Sale

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Every year our neighborhood holds a huge community garage sale. Though we had garage sales when I was a kid, in the ten years we have been in this house, we have never participated in the community sale.

I have sold a few things on Ebay and craigslist, and a Facebook yard sale page, but my success has been hit or miss. I don’t have a lot of time right now to make weekly trips to the post office or to meet in a parking lot to make an exchange. We have years worth of baby clothes, and though I have been able to pass on our girl clothes to someone who needed them, I haven’t had much luck selling our boy clothes or the baby equipment we have left, never mind the skis my husband and his sister used in the 80s, endless boxes of books I KonMari‘d this past year, and wedding gifts from ten years ago we never really wanted and have been storing in the basement.

Since I don’t have a lot of experience, I reached out to members of a frugal Facebook group and asked for their best tips. I’ve devised a plan using their advice and I thought I would share it with my readers. The sale is on April 30th, and I will check back in and let everyone know how it went.

The Plan:

  1. Create a “garage sale” pile in the basement. I know it’s a big job to gather everything together, so I am making a corner of the basement to pile things over the next month.
  2. Price everything- but price things using “batch” prices if you can. The skis will be listed for $40, but the books will be $1 each for paperback and $3 each for hardback.
  3. Offer a “bulk discount” if possible. I am going to do this with books by selling 4 for $3 for paperback and 4 for $10 for hardback.
  4. Price a little higher than you want so you can haggle down- but not too much higher.
  5. Hang up clothes or lay out on a table rather than jumbled in a box.
  6. Stack books in boxes with spine facing out for easy reading.
  7. Have lots of change ready.
  8. Put the most interesting pieces out by the edge of the driveway to pull people in.
  9. Have bags available for buyers (we have a huge stockpile in the basement).
  10. If it’s going to be hot, keep a cooler full of water bottles and soda on ice and sell for $1 a bottle.
  11. If you expect a crowd, think of selling food. (I am considering my homemade cinnamon rolls recipe, which costs me $0.50 for 14 and are easy to make ahead, freeze, and bake the morning of the sale. Maybe hot dogs for lunch?)
  12. Get up early and be set up by 6:30 to take advantage of early birds.
  13. Plan to be exhausted by the end of the day and anticipate you won’t want to cook. (I think it will be a pizza night).
  14. Put an extra sign up in simple clear lettering with your most interesting pieces listed. (I think I will have one that says “Cold Water! Fresh Cinnamon Buns! CDs! Boys Clothes! Books!”)
  15. Have something to keep little kids occupied. (I think I will put the water table and bubble machine in the front yard.)

What do you think? Any tips from seasoned garage salers?