So this summer I had a huge baby/kid/come buy all my shit garage sale.
I have had some sales in the past and none of them have been very successful. I made a lot of mistakes with the first few sales that resulted in low turn out. Low turn out means less money for me and more things I have to store for the next sale or donate. But this sale was a smash success and it was due to several things I did differently.
1. PICK A GOOD DATE
Picking a good date is important to drive foot traffic. Our city has subdivision yard sales on certain dates through the year. Since we aren't part of any subdivision, my best bet was holding my sale the same weekend of the closest subdivision sale near me. It would ensure I would have a lot of traffic passing by my street. Which leads me to my next point;
2. GET THE WORD OUT
Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!
Getting the word out is the way to get people to your sale. Use every medium you can think of to spread the word. Since I knew the subdivision a few streets over was holding their annual sale (see point 1.) I placed the bulk of my signs in that area. I made sure to have a sign on every corner leading to my street with arrows pointing the way. I also placed signs on the main road through town, listing the times and place for my sale. Since I had my sale on a Friday and Saturday, I placed the signs the Tuesday before. If you get sturdy signs (mine were just poster board and a stake, so that when it rained on Friday, they didn't hold up too well) you can have your sign out for a week or more ahead.
Also, think outside the box! I am member of a few Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups. I followed their rules for posting and posted the time and date of my sale two weeks before the sale. The week of, as I had everything set up, I took photos and posted them to the site, as a preview. I also posted to Craigslist as well, two weeks before and then a few days before with photos.
Let everyone know what you have. On all my signs and all my postings online, I made sure to list the sale as a kid/baby sale. I listed the sex and sizes for the clothes I had, listed the bigger ticket items, like a play kitchen and easel, as well as specific items that might be harder to find at a sale - baby carriers, breastfeeding supplies, bottles, etc. I also had a lot of brand name clothes, so I made sure to note that on my listings as well.
4. USE YOUR DRIVEWAY
I like the comfort that having a garage sale provides - some shelter from the weather, a place to organize - but if you have everything in your garage, it might not invite people to come and take a look. So utilize your garage to highlight your stuff. I placed bigger ticket items outside and gave people a glimpse of my sale. It also gave people a safe distance to look at the sale in case they didn't want to come into the garage right away.
This is also a great way to have kids get interested. Having toys at kid level helped keep them occupied while their parents shopped. I priced them low enough that it would encourage kids to leave with a few as well.
5. HAVE A PRICE LIST
Instead of pricing everything individually, have a master price list. I tried to streamline the list as much as possible: tops, bottoms, swimsuits, dresses and PJ separates were one price, while jeans, jackets/hoodies, outfits and footed PJs were a different price. Also try and keep your prices even dollars so you don't have to deal with change.
Display the sign where everyone can see.
6. HAVE A FREE BIN
Clothes that were just a little too worn all went into the free bin. I tried to have clothes that were just slightly stained in the bin. Clothes that I might pay a quarter or .$50 for at another sale went in the bin and I encouraged everyone to look and take something.
The biggest compliment I got was how organized I was. Seriously, everyone that came to my sale complimented me on my organization. One woman even took a photo to show her daughter just how to set up. lolz
I sorted each table into boy or girl clothes, then into sizes and then seasons. I made sure to post signs telling people what sizes were where. I separated the clothes into winter and summer to make it easy. I also grouped outfits together, pairing tops with bottoms so that when you bought two, you ended up saving money. I did the same for the PJs, keeping the sets together but marking down the price.
I also had the smallest sizes on the tables in the front, working up to the bigger sizes on the tables in the back.
9. GROUP SIMILAR ITEMS
As you can see in the driveway photo, I tried to group items together. Toys were grouped in a separate bin, as was stuffed animals and baby dolls. I also grouped onesie sets together and put them in a ziplock bag with a flat price. I did the same for burp cloths and receiving blankets. I also had bags of play food and a bag of play pots and pans grouped next to the play kitchen.
10. USE YOUR SPACE
Have a hanging rod for clothes that can't be folded. It will take space off your tables, giving you more room for outfits and it will allow more people in your sale to look both at the tables and the rack.
11. BE PREPARED FOR EARLY BIDS OR NOT
Since I had put signs up around town, people knew I was having a sale. When I was setting up on Thursday, I had more than one person drive by "just to look." When people wanted to buy something, I told them that was fine but I didn't have much change. I didn't want to discourage anyone from buying but I also wasn't planning on having my sale until the next morning. I sold half my big ticket items the night before my sale even "started."
Also know that people WILL COME EARLY. If you really don't want anyone at your sale at, say 7 am, then advertise that your sale starts at 8 am and be prepared for people to show up at 7:30. You can always post on your signs and online postings that you prefer no early sales but people might not honor it.
12. PRICE TO SELL (OR DONATE)
There are two main reasons to have a sale - make money or get rid of your stuff. I would say that my sale was 50/50. I wanted to get rid of all the baby and kid things I had but I didn't want to price things so low that people would be turned off. If you price too low, people might think that all you have is junk and they won't buy anything. But if you price a little higher, people are more interested and want to make you an offer. It is up to you to accept their offer or not. I am not a fan of negotiating, so if someone offered me a price that seemed fair, it was more likely that I would accept.
13. MARK DOWN YOUR PRICES
I had a busy day the first day of my sale. By the afternoon on the second day, things had slowed down and the idea of packing everything up seemed daunting. So I slashed prices, updated my posts online to let everyone know everything was 50% off and made deals left and right.
14. HELP YOUR SHOPPERS
I had paper sacks ready to go for people to use. I also gave away more than one hanger. It was a great way to get rid of all the plastic hangers you get when you buy an outfit in the store.
15. GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME AND TABLES THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED
This is probably the biggest tip. I dedicated the entire week before my sale to set up. By having it in the garage, I was able to set up the tables and keep them that way until the sale was over. Every night, after the kids were in bed, I would sort and organize clothes. I was also able to guess how many tables I needed but in the end, I could have used two more. I was also able to call someone on Tuesday to ask to borrow a table instead of Thursday night.
I also washed every.single.bit.of.clothes before I sorted and organized them but you can probably skip that step if your clothes haven't been in storage for long. Thursday night did end up being a bit long for me, I went to bed too late, setting up still, so never underestimate just how much time you need. Give yourself just one more day to set up.
~OTHER TIPS~DONATE OR STORE THE DAY AFTER - as you are breaking down tables and packing up, sort your clothes to donate or to store as you go. Take the donate bin to the donation spot that day.
HAVE MUSIC - it seems to set the tone for a pleasant day and helps the time pass. I just wouldn't play death metal.
HAVE DRINKS OR FOOD - if the kids were older, I would totally let them set up a lemonade stand and let them go. But since TGD can't read or math yet, it wasn't an option this time.
START WITH LOTS OF CHANGE - you will get more as the day goes on, so you might want to only get a few bills in each denomination to start, but I would get at least $150 in change ($60 in $20, $50 in $10, $20 in $5 and $20 in $1)
BE FRIENDLY BUT GIVE PEOPLE SPACE - as an extrovert, I want to be welcoming and chat up everyone but I never wanted to give people a hard sale for a 9 month footie PJ. Mostly I just followed the lead of the other shoppers and had a great day. I met some people that were totally cool chatting me up for a while and it was nice.
Hopefully following all these tips, you will have the best and most organized sale ever. With just a little planning, you can maximize your sales and get rid of all your stuff.