Garage Sales are a lot of work. I knew that going in but decided freeing up the space in my garage was worth the effort. I was tired of opening up my car door into a box of something I clearly didn’t need as it had been sitting there for four years. At least I can park my car in the garage; I just can’t get out of it easily. My suspicions were correct, only worse: Garage sales are astronomical amounts of work! Approximately 57 man-hours went into a six-hour sale that netted $130 or $2.28 per hour. And I didn’t get rid of nearly enough.
I will share my wisdom for those hoping to get rich off your unwanted treasures.
- Lazy pricing is the way to go! Thank goodness I did not waste time pricing each item. For example, I grouped vases, jars, and sculptures on a table: $5 each or $7 for a set (usually two items.) Originally I offered each item at $5 per item and $10 for a set. I know. It took me a second to realize my genius deal. Don’t get too lazy with the pricing. Also, I didn’t sell anything off the decor table until I dropped the price to a dollar per item. See lesson two.
- Price items to move, not for profit. The true purpose of a garage sale is to get crap out of your garage or your house. The event really should be renamed: “Get Rid Of It Sale.” Anything over $10 did not sell, except for a small lamp. I have a garage full of proof. If you make any money out of the process, consider it a win with fewer trips to GoodWill.
- Antiques are better off sold on craigslist, etsy or ebay. I would have made more money charging Looky-Loos admission to see my very cool antiques that I neatly displayed on one table in the antiques section of my sale. (I was very organized.) Unfortunately, nobody wanted them for fair market value. My crafty pricing I printed off ebay and attached to the item to PROVE the worth of an item did not work. For example, I had a 1950s Bean Pot with working hot plate. I crossed off the $30 pricing on the ebay listing and wrote in $20 with a sharpie, a deal! Refer back to lesson number two.
- Free items sell! Sounds obvious but honestly, it was the most disappointing sale of the day. The bag of crayons, markers, paints, colored pencils and electric pencil sharpener did not go to the desperate teacher I hoped would pick it up. Instead, an early bird threw all the stuff in her car and wouldn’t tell her friend or me her M.O. so we all felt weird, like I left a $100 bill in the bag. I kind of hoped the bucket of markers she got was all dried up and she only found out after testing each one, all 100 of them. If the expectation is to give away items to a certain kind of customer, mark it: FREE to Teachers.
- Meet your neighbors. Our driveway was the social hot spot throughout the day and made the garage sale worth it.
- Hubby taught a precocious ten-year-old down the street how to play Risk, the used game we sold him for $1. They talked about flag football and whether the QB on his team was accurate. “Of course he’s accurate or he wouldn’t be the quarterback,” the wise boy answered the silly old man.
- Hubby taught another neighbor how to take care of a goldfish properly, while giving away four fishbowls, a fishnet and colored rocks. It felt wrong to charge them $5 for the whole kit. Good thing hubby came so I could work the bigger deals like a $20 lamp (the one big ticket item) and $10 kid golf clubs.
- An 83 year-old lady wanted to buy the beautiful Garage Sale signs I posted in the neighborhood so she could use them for her sale. I told her I would be happy to make new ones since the date and address were different. She talked to me for thirty minutes about everything from ailments to Beatles albums to broken email. She admired my muscly son and decided to hire him to move marble tiles out of her attic on the hottest day of the year, 97 degrees. She wanted everything I wasn’t selling.
Despite all my learning, next time I’m going to skip the garage sale and host a pay-what-you-want lemonade stand instead. I can raise money for a charity while visiting with my neighbors, all worth it.Share on Facebook