Another Man's Treasure
● By Patrick John
Q97 - Billy and Patrick's Snap Shot
By Patrick John
I missed a golden opportunity. Q97 hosts a huge swap meet/community garage sale every May. During the first event four years ago, Jane and I bought some vendor space, brought all our “stuff” down and sold almost everything in only four hours. Bam! We made about $750, and were pretty proud of ourselves for getting rid of clutter AND making some serious cash. Why didn’t I do that again this year?
Over the last four years, our clutter level has gradually risen back to endangered status, and it’s time to purge. Garage sale, anyone? After hosting several sales over the years, asking lots of questions and doing extra research, here’s the skinny on having a super-successful garage sale, and a list of items that sell fast and make you money.
Preparation is the key, and it doesn’t mean you have to plot, plan, clean and sort for months. First, pick a sale date that corresponds with paydays, and try to avoid holiday weekends or weekends when there are a ton of local events going on. You may even want to let neighbors know, so they can think about having a sale too. The more folks selling in one area, the more buyers will make the trip to your neighborhood. Publicize the garage sale on social media for free, and consider being part of the local paper’s garage sale map. And yes, signs are always a good idea.
We discovered that sorting, pricing and laying out the items the night before makes things very easy morning-of-sale. If you have a garage, all you’ll have to do is open the door, quickly move some tables and furniture, and you’re open for business. Trust me, it makes it so much easier to be ready when the early birds are camped out waiting for you to start selling. Don’t forget to go to the bank the day before so you can have a cash box with plenty of bills and coin on hand for change.
Using tables for most goods keeps things organized. It also makes it easy to have, say, a $1 or $5 table where everything is the same price. Speaking of pricing, you don’t have to price every last thing. You can price everything, and buyers appreciate it, but it is tedious. At the very least, make sure furniture and bigger items are marked, and let buyers make offers on the smaller items and trinkets. When setting prices, determine which is more important—Making money or getting de-cluttered. Try to find a happy medium! When it comes to clothes, hanging them on a rack, line or rod makes them easy to peruse and means you won’t have a heap of messy unfolded clothes. Consider selling clothes by the bag...$5 seems to work well for generic items.
Here’s a list of items that typically sell very well: Like-new items in their original box, fishing gear, almost any type of tools, sporting and exercise equipment, clean baby clothes and toys, wooden furniture, costume jewelry, bicycles, gardening items and pots, books(no water stains please), vinyl records, clean name-brand clothing, retro toys and games, and home décor items. Also, if it’s hot outside, think about selling cold bottled water or soda.
I have a garage full of items, so I need to take my own advice and finish prepping for OUR sale. I’ve got some good stuff, and great prices too. Come on by…