All year long, when cleaning out closets, playrooms and the basement, you’ve thrown unwanted things into your “For Garage Sale” pile.
But now that it’s that time of year, the last thing you want to do this weekend is drag all that stuff outside and actually put it up for sale.
Well, have no fear, MoneySmart is here, with the lazy person’s guide to garage sales.
Follow our simple, step-by-step instructions and you’ll be done in no time. Because who needs perfect when you can have good enough?
1. Try to time your sale to take place during a block sale or when at least one other family on your street is having a garage sale.
That way, they can do all the work getting the word out and you can sit back and reap the customers who straggle over.
2. If no one on your street is planning a sale, call the newspaper and put in a classified to advertise your own.
Now you’re stuck. If you don’t have a garage sale on the date you’ve advertised, you will have people showing up at your house trying to buy your lawn mower and other random things in your garage that aren’t for sale. There you have it: instant motivation!
3. Make your kids drag everything you want to sell into the garage.
4. Stuff that looks nice will sell better, so start cleaning your merchandise.
Normally, that would mean buffing out scuff marks with shoe polish and spritzing Windex on things with shiny surfaces. But in this case, just knock the cobwebs off and wipe down the dust.
5. Start thinking about price. If you want to make sure everything goes, price it low. You might make slightly less money on a single item, but you will likely sell more overall.
Think of it this way: Do you want every possible cent for that old mini-trampoline or do you want it out of your cellar? What’s worth more to you, getting market value for that 15-year-old treadmill or having someone haul it away at their own expense?
6. Start pricing. Keep it simple, with just a couple of pricing categories, and then sort items into piles according to price.
Depending on what you have, you might stick to just four pricing categories; say, 25 cents, $1, $5 and $10.
That way, instead of writing out each individual price tag, you can make one color-coded sign. Each price gets its own color sticker.
Group everything of the same price together on one table or blanket with a sign, such as, “Everything on this table, 25 cents.”
7. Make sure you have lots of change. If you stick to your simple pricing scheme, it will also simplify what kinds of small bills and coins you’ll need – such as quarters, singles, fives and tens. Keep it in a locked box away from your house.
8. Take a picture of your goodies and post it online.
Wait, that came out wrong. Take a picture of the merchandise you’re selling and post it, along with the details of your sale (time, date, place) to Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist.
It’s a great way to advertise your sale, and since you can do it from your smartphone, it doesn’t violate the principles of laziness.
If you’re feeling really ambitious (which, I know, you’re not) take a picture of each different price category so people can really get an idea of what you’ve got.
9. Invite your friends. Not to buy stuff, though they might, but because you shouldn’t hold a garage sale by yourself.
For one, it would be boring, and for two, there are a lot of weirdos out there. Safety in numbers.
10. Fill a cooler with ice and bottles of water. You can sell the bottled water for $1 apiece and make more money! Besides, your friends will need someplace to chill the pinot grigio.
11. Grab a ton of plastic grocery bags out of the junk drawer or wherever you keep them. People will need a way to carry their purchases home.
To encourage people to buy more, take a cue from Bath and Body Works and hand them a bag as soon as they walk up. This serves two purposes: it allows people to carry (and buy) more, and it guilts them out of leaving empty-handed because they’ll feel embarrassed to hand you back an empty bag.
12. Put everything on clearance. An hour or two before your sale ends, slash everything to half price. Have the least tipsy of your friends scribble “50 percent off” on a big piece of cardboard.
13. When your sale is through, pack up whatever didn’t sell and call Amvets or another charity that picks up donated items.
14. Once you’ve donated your leftovers to charity and before they’ve been hauled away, get a receipt for your donation and put it in your “For taxes” pile.
15. You’re done! Now use some of your new pocket change to order a pizza for your friends and go party in a house made spacious by the newly vacated garage sale pile.