Thursday, September 22, 2011

How To Hold A Garage Sale: Tips!

The Great Garage Sale eXperiment of 2011

This post depicts an actual HANDS-ON experience!

Recently a I noticed a weekend coming up on my Google Calendar with NO particular business OR pleasure activities scheduled! "What a perfect time to plan a garage sale," I thought!

Actually, I'd been thinking about holding a yard sale since the beginning of summer.

FIRST I had to go through the stuff in the house that I knew I needed to get rid of. This is an important step. Before you do anything else, get this done. I spent a couple of hours one weekend and a few nights during the week before I scheduled the sale. I got everything together in one spot, and a day or two before the sale moved it to the "back porch staging area."

SECOND I called the local newspapers regarding placing an ad. $30 for 4 days was the best deal I could find suitable for my area. My heart sank. I don't have a lot of "big ticket" or "antique" items going out. Then, a co-worker had a suggestion that would later turn out to be a "magic bullet' of sorts: "Put it on Craig's List. It's free and everybody reads it!" So I did! (The paper also has a deadline that would have forced me to decide on a date for my sale before I could check the weather forecast for that day--- see below)

THIRD I checked the 5-DAY WEATHER FORECAST for my local area. You can do that online or watch your local TV. The day I was targeting was not too hot, not too cold --- just right, with no rain in sight! (Some TV stations present a 7-DAY FORECAST... even better!)

FOURTH With a firm date in mind, I went on Craig's List, posted my ad, and that evening began making my signs. 2 for each of the high-traffic cross-streets that intersected with the street I live on. "Sign prep" pix below: I already had paint and markers. I bought 4 poster boards at a local dollar store where they were 4 for $1!
I SCHEDULED MY SALE TO RUN ONE DAY ONLY, from 8am-1pm. My research indicated that those are the "best of times" - I pulled in a few "earlybirds" already in the area waiting for sales that began at 9 (most people run theirs from 9-4 or 5) - then there was a steady trickle throughout the sale day: the biggest number of individuals showed up between 10:30 and Noon.
IDEALLY: watch the newspaper for that nearby neighbor on your street who may feel they have enough stuff to sell to warrant spending money on a newspaper ad. CHECK YOUR LOCAL 5-DAY WEATHER FORECAST. Be sure to schedule your sale for the same time as theirs! This way, you don't need to advertise at all, and better yet, you don't have to make any signs!
I kept a careful tally as the events of the day unfurled:

51 people came and looked at my stuff
12 of them made purchases

67 cars "drove by" - they cruised along the street verrrry slowly, eyballing my stuff but never got out of their vehicles. (the greatest number of "drive-bys" came between 11:15am and 12:30pm)

Minus the dollar spent on poster board, my total profit: $39.35! (That would have been $9.35 had I purchased that newspaper ad)

Note: the first hoursworth of customers had seen the ad on Craig's List... almost every car that stopped by after 0915 was drawn by my colourful signs!

More than half of my yard sale "inventory" consisted of books. I culled them from a library I had built over the last decade!
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