Earlier today I shared some tips on how to make your garage sale a success. (To get people to your sale and to make some money!) And now I’m sharing some little tips that make life easier as you plan and prepare for a sale. (Yes. I’m doing two garage sale posts in one day, as if I have nothing else to do…What can I say? Typing relaxes me.)
1. Don’t put a garage sale on your calendar, place ads and then start to get ready. No matter how well organized you are, having a sale is obviously still a lot of work, so it’s best to not leave that work to the last minute. A garage sale is one of the only things I do that doesn’t involve procrastination. I have a lot of anxiety in general. I don’t need to be schlepping stuff around my garage at 2 a.m. the night before a sale. NOT. FUN. So, if I know I’m having a sale in the middle of May, I start working my way through the house in March. This way I can spend nap time or an evening here or there setting aside boxes in our basement as I go through closets and drawers. This makes a lot of work feel like not much at all.
2. Have tables of items all one price. This will only work if you have your sale alone, but it’s a great tip and something I have done in the past. This way, you don’t have to put a sticker on each and every item and it can make life easier for the shopper as well. This saves a ton of time. BUT, if you are having a sale with friends and family and you need to use stickers to know how to ring things up and keep the money separate…
3. Buy stickers with prices already printed on them and use a Bingo dobber (Yes, I said Bingo dobber, shut up!) to color code. You’ll need to go quickly through each sheet of tags to add your assigned color but then you’re done! The day of the sale, each person has a color and as people pay, the tags are saved on separate pieces of paper by color. This, my friends, means something so terribly rad: No standing putting stickers on each item and then writing the price and your initials!
4. As people pay, put the tags from items on a plastic lid. What, Heather? What do you mean? Well, it can get kind of hurried and disorganized when pulling tags off items and adding (for me, quick addition is HARD) and then putting the tag on the right page by color for the keeping of the separate. So, with each person that comes up to pay, pull their tags off and apply them to a plastic storage container’s lid. Like a Tupperware food storage container. Then, after it slows down, remove the tags from the lid and put them on the right pages. This also solves the problem if there’s any confusion about what the total should be. If you haven’t put them on the separate pages with all the other tags, you can just add everything over again to double-check.
Speaking of tags (still)…
5. Mark your items as you pull them out for the sale and before you put them in storage for the sale. That sounds confusing and extreme, but what I mean is that once you’ve cleaned out one certain area of your home and have piles to put in boxes until the sale, mark your items (color-coding the tags if needed) as you put them in bins or boxes to be brought out to the garage. Then, in the nights before the sale, all you have to do is pull your sale items out and put them on tables. Woot! (Yes, I just said Woot! About garage sales!)
6. Stack your tables. No, not during the sale, ya silly head. As your prepare things in the nights before your sale, it can get crowded in the garage. You want to have a lot of the tables and furniture, etc outside on the day of the sale so people can see it driving by, but if that’s the case, most of the time you can’t fit all the tables, etc in the garage as you get ready. (Obviously you can’t “store” things out on your driveway or in your yard before the sale.) The solution? A tip straight from my friend Jenna–Table stacking: Do your folded clothing first. Lay it out in rows on as many tables as it takes. (Side Note: Don’t stack your clothes too high, it’s hard to shop that way and it also will make it hard to stack tables.) Now lay an empty table of the same size with it’s legs folded in on top your clothes! Now you can lay out more clothes that table and on the day of the sale, you simply lift off the top table and move it outside. (This takes two or three people since you have to pull down the legs of the table while holding it, but it’s very easy.) I LOVE THIS TIP.
7. Have two check-outs. If you have a well-advertised or large or otherwise popular sale, you must do this. Nobody wants long lines at a garage sale. It’s too stressful for you and too annoying to shoppers. If you use tags, it takes awhile to pull them off and stay organized. It’s so much easier to have more than one person doing this.
8. Have a helpful Helpy Helperton. At the sale we just had, both my friend Jenna and my mom took part. So Jenna and I manned the check-outs and my mom helped answer questions and kept things cleaned up, etc. In the first hours of a sale, people really rifle through things and make a mess. It gets hard for the next shoppers to make sense of the madness so it’s best to have someone re-folding, etc.
9. Don’t forget the small things. Be sure to have your “bank” (small cash and coins for change) ready the day before the sale. Make a note to go to your bank to pick this up. I’ve been to sales where the person forgot and yeah…not good. The same is true for signs. We got a little disorganized with timing this year and I ended up having Ryan run around putting up more and more signs the morning of the sale. Normally I have the signs ready to go earlier in the day before the sale and we put them up the evening before. Done. It’s so much better to have that off your mind the day of the sale. I also recommend buying pre-printed signs. Now you can get them with Garage Sale printed on them and spaces with faint arrows to color in when you know which way the signs will be facing. Ryan actually took the black permanent marker with him and filled in the arrows as he got to each sign location. Not every sign needs to be huge and unique. Many are just a trail to the address. The signs on main streets are the ones that should be hand-made with details like appealing items that are for sale and words like EPIC and WONDERFANAWESOMETABULOUS. The rest can simply point to the address.
10. Have a goal. Maybe your goal is to raise money for something specific–to donate or to go on a trip, etc. Whatever the reason, even if it’s simply to downsize, minimalize and refresh your home, keep reminding yourself of that goal because sales are a lot of work and it’s not going to be fun at all unless you’re doing something that matters to you.
If you have more tips for me, I’d love to hear them. You know, I like to keep it simple.
Now go forth and sell.