Today we had our first garage sale in 4 years.  Several people participated by contributing items – we had a TON of stuff.  And a friend of ours hosted it at her house.

It was a great time and we sold a lot of things.  But I’m not sure it justified the 15+ hours of prep I put into it.  Some things went great, and some things could have gone better.  Here are some takeaways for next time:
  • Put stuff out for a garage sale about once a year.  It’s better to put a few things out 3 or 4 times than to save things up for 4 years and hope that in a 5 hour time frame, enough people come who are interested in all the things you have for sale.
  • Always invite a friend to join you for the garage sale.  Nothing beats working together on a project and spending the slow times talking.  It’s like 6 free hours of quality time!  Never do alone what you could do with someone else.  What otherwise would have been painful was really enjoyable because of the company.
  • The name of the game is SELL.  Whatever doesn’t go by the end of the day, you’re stuck with.  The chances that someone will come later in the day, be interested in the same item, and offer more for it than the person standing in front of you is highly unlikely.  Be willing to negotiate.
  • At the same time, when people make offers that are so unreasonable they are offensive, just tell them straight up that their offer is offensive, they can’t have your item, and carry your stuff back home with your head held high (wish I would have done this with one woman…)
  • Put advertisements on yard signs (sticks in ground) rather than taping them to street signs.  Yard signs are immune to wind.
  • Put random stuff in.  The stuff you think will sell doesn’t, and the stuff you don’t think will sell does.
  • When you’re “low balling” prices before the garage sale, realize that everyone will think you have priced them for twice as much as their worth.  Seriously – one person haggled with me over a brand new infant bonnet marked at $.50.  She took it for a quarter.
  • Donuts sell.  About 3 dozen should cover the demand.
  • Go through all the stuff before you sell it.  Especially other people’s stuff who donate to your garage sale.  Take first dibs, or live with regrets.
  • More signage is better.
  • If at all possible, find out if any other BIG garage sales are going on that day.  Don’t try to compete with the local school’s 100-family sale…
  • Advertise on craigslist.
  • Spread the stuff out so people can go through it easily.  And place similar items near each other.
  • Strive to ensure everyone leaves with something.  Better they leave giving you a buck than they just leave.
  • Probably it’s better to put anything worth $5 or more on craigslist rather than trying to sell it at the garage sale.