Garage Sales, Is It Worth It?

garage Last weekend we had our community garage sale. We weren’t interested at first since we didn’t really have a lot of stuff to sell. I was however, excited to see what the neighbors were selling 🙂 We finally decided to go for it the night before. We had a few things to sell and besides it will be fun to be outside and meet the neighbors. This is our first garage sale as sellers so, we thought, why not? After putting price stickers, on each item, I calculated $200 worth of stuff. I figured if I made $100, I’ll be happy.

Saturday morning came and as planned first things first. Before I set up my “store”, I walked Mulder the Dog around the neighborhood so I can scope out what everyone else was selling. $5 for a fishing rod, $10 for a plastic patio table and chairs, large mirror for $10, FREE plant containers of all sizes, various toys, tools and artwork. As soon as I got home I took all my stuff out and started displaying them. My “store” occupying only a quarter of the driveway paled in comparison with the next door neighbor’s garage. Nevertheless, while the neigbor drew the crowds, I made the sales. I guess as a first time seller, I selected things that I thought were worth buying.

I was amazed at how much traffic this event drew. I counted at least 70 groups – in cars, walking, biking, everyone who showed interest including some neighbors. In the end, I made $52. Was it worth 7 hours of my time? Not really but what I gained was worth much more than that. I got to meet a lot of our neighbors, made some acquaintances for some possible job opportunities, enjoyed the sunny day and even Mulder had fun people-watching with his friend Ramsey from accross the street. Most of all, it felt freeing to eliminate clutter and “stuff” that we don’t really need. We might even do it again next year. If we do, here are some things I will consider doing:

1. Start a pile of garage sale items early, maybe 1 month in advance. This will give me time to sort and think about what I want to sell. I ended up with only a few things to sell because I did not plan in advance.

2. Even though it is already a community garage sale, it is still worth combining items with a neighbor or two. One neighbor had a sloped garage so he asked if he could move his items to our driveway. I agreed since I didn’t have much. As soon as he moved over, more crowds came because there was a lot more stuff to look at.

3. Keep in mind peak hours. The sale was going on from 8am-3pm. I had mine from 9-4pm. I should have made it 9am-1pm. The crowds were the thickest between 9-12noon. It slowed down after that but picked up again around 3pm so I ended up staying “open” until 4 pm.

4. Talk more to buyers. I found that if I make a connection with the buyer and “talk up” the item, I sold more. It is just like any other sale, you must engage the customer.

5. Pre-determine the lowest prices on high-dollar items. I ended up saying yes to all the “offers” without thinking. I guess I thought they were going to be donated anyway.

Now for the buyers, I’m pretty sure it is well worth most people’s time. You can get some really good stuff. I sold 2 camelbaks for $3 each both only used twice. A brand new set of silverware for $2. I saw people driving by with patio furniture, bikes, fishing poles, among other things.

Garage sales are like games, the sellers aim high while the buyers aim low. A few times I felt insulted by the “offers” but agreed anyway. I could easily have been the buyer and would have done the same thing. All in all, if you know what to expect and are willing to spend some time either bargain-hunting or selling, it could be worth it.

This entry was filed under: Gardening