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How to Prepare for the Ultimate Garage Sale

With spring and summer come the urge to shed a few layers and lighten your load. What was once considered cozy quickly becomes clutter and the saying “out with the old, in with the new” begins to really ring true. What better way to tidy up and make a little spending money than by hosting a garage sale? All you need is stuff to sell, a place to sell it, and this helpful list of ultimate garage sale tips and tricks.

Be Prepared
Before turning your front lawn into an outdoor retail space, make yourself a checklist of things that you’ll need. Price tags, folding chairs, display tables, and plenty of change are just a few suggestions. Nothing is more frustrating than having to run to the bank for singles midway through the morning or realizing that you have no way to price your items the night before the sale. Scope out a few other sales in your area prior to your own to see what works and what doesn’t and try to glean some inspiration to help make your event a success. Another good idea? Make sure to double check with your city’s rules and regulations in order to avoid any sale day surprises.

Be Realistic
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure but sometimes, it’s best not to take this literally. In some instances, one man’s trash really is trash and trying to pawn it off on some poor unsuspecting soul just isn’t going to work. When going through potential items up for sale, really consider whether or not you truly believe someone would be willing to pay for it. Sometimes, it’s best just to offer a freebie pile or consider a trip to your municipal dump. Reducing and reusing is always a great idea but even die-hard environmentalists have their limits.

Prepare Your Merchandise
While the idea of a garage sale is to unload the things that are cluttering your home so that you no longer have to deal with them, it pays (literally) to spend a little time giving them some TLC before sending them to their new homes. Customers are far more likely to consider items that are clean and in good shape so before sale day, take a moment to scrub and disinfect. A few minutes spent polishing could mean the difference between a sale and a leftover.

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
No matter how awesome your products may be, you’ll be hard pressed to sell any of them if no one knows they’re there. When planning your garage sale, enlist the help of your most creative friends and design eye catching posters that no one will be able to ignore. Use eye-catching colours, cool fonts, and try to incorporate key words that will draw crowds. For instance, if you’re planning on selling some choice mid-century pieces, say so. Hang the signs a few days before the sale to drum up some anticipation and then get ready to sell!

Organize, Organize, Organize
Nothing says “skip this garage sale” like chaotic piles of household goods scattered around a lawn or driveway. In order to attract buyers, consider taking cues from your favourite shops and merchandising your wares. Use collapsible clothing racks and folding tables and consider organizing items by category or use. Customers will be impressed that you took the time to separate your items into ‘departments’ and having all of your goods properly displayed means they’re far more likely to be sold.

Price Accordingly
While you may have paid an arm and a leg for that lamp for your first apartment, chances are it hasn’t held its value. Unless, of course, its an Arco Floor Lamp. In that case, call me? I’ll take it off your hands. Seriously, though, garage sales are where people go to get a bargain and most aren’t willing to pay top dollar for your used stuff. If you can’t bear to lower your prices, consider Craigslist or eBay. Otherwise, price low and be prepared to bargain. After all, that’s part of the fun.

More is More
If you want to really make this a garage sale to remember, consider recruiting neighbours and taking it to the next level. Chances are you’ll find lots of people willing to participate and the more stuff you have, the more people will want to shop. Be forewarned: organizing a street sale can be a major undertaking. Be prepared to invest some time and effort into the event but know that the money you’ll earn and sense of community you feel will make it all totally worth it.

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