By Alicia Hutchinson
It’s garage sale season. Friday and Saturdays are plastered with bright orange signs pointing you in the direction of cheap what-nots from your neighbor’s storage closet that you might just love for yourself. I’ve gone to a few this summer, but having just moved, I try to stay away—I know how quickly clutter can multiply, especially when you’re staring at it all in boxes. Chances are you have a slew of items you could bear to part with—just like your neighbors have done—but you’re afraid. Garage sales are scary. A) They’re a lot of work. A lot. B) You run the risk of rain or a big, fat flop where no one but your mother-in-law shows up.
I have had exactly three garage sales. Two were great, the other one? Not so great. But I’ve learned some lessons along the way.
- Start gathering items way ahead of time. Scrambling at the last minute to find all the stuff you want to get rid of is super stressful. Start a little pile in the corner of your garage a few weeks ahead of time. Make a goal list for getting rooms sorted through. It’s also great to price things as you go as well. Setting up will be much easier!
- Do your sale with a friend. This not only makes it more fun; it also creates more stuff to sell and will probably attract more shoppers. When you advertise make sure you say that it’s a multi-family sale—people love seeing that.
- Sell large stuff. There’s nothing worse than driving across town for a garage sale and seeing that they only have a card table full of old trinkets. Get rid of some large pieces that you no longer use anymore. This will make it a more appealing sale. The bigger, the better!
- Organize it! Pretend that you have your own little shop for a few hours. Put an apron on so you’re recognizable as the lady in charge, and start setting up your store. Have it make sense—put clothing sizes all together and separate boys and girls. If you’re selling a table and chairs, set it up like it’s time for dinner. Set a pretty vase of flowers (for sale of course) with some dishes you’re selling. Making it look nice and neat will be much more pleasant for your buyers.
- Price to sell. Let’s be real here—it’s a garage sale. Yes, we want to walk away with a little money in our pocket, but we also need to get rid of it. Price things to
- Get your kids involved. Make up a big pan of brownies and a pitcher of lemonade. No one will be able to resist your little one’s lemonade stand and they’ll make some money too! You can also recruit them to help people carry things to their cars or bag things up.
- Advertise well. Use Craigslist, the local newspaper, and Facebook to help you get the word out. Start several days ahead of time.
- Choose your date and hours wisely. Make sure you’re not planning your sale when there’s a big event happening in your city or town. Planning your sale when there’s a city-wide sale planned would be great! Choose wisely.
- Go straight to Goodwill/Salvation Army afterwards. Don’t even take it back into your house. Load it into your car and take it away. Your clutter-free house will thank you!
Organizing and pulling of a garage sale is not simple. It can seem overwhelming, but there’s also some wonderful benefits—clean closets and a little extra spending money! Personally, I feel like having a garage sale every couple of years is plenty. More than this probably means that you’re filling it right back up after you slim down. Host a great sale and sit back and enjoy your newly uncluttered home, and then take your family out for ice cream!
Alicia Hutchinson is called “Mama” by four kiddos; two boys and two girls. They have been homeschooling for seven years, and history and good literature are their favorite subjects. Alicia can be found blogging at www.aliciahutchinson.com where she talks about making a home, current projects, creating, reading, teaching, and enjoying the little things that come with being a mom/wife/teacher.