Other than the garage sale we are having this weekend, I have only done one other garage sale. But it was really more of a “street sale.”
Said “street sale” was held in the Dominican Republic, just before we moved back to the good ole US of A back in 2005. It was a “street sale” because there are few garages in the Dominican Republic. We did not have a garage, so we sold our stuff on the street!
When moving to and living in a foreign country, you are limited to what you can carry in your luggage. (Unless you want to ship a container of your belongings and pay out the you know what. Which I never did, because I’m cheap like that!) So when I moved to the DR, I had exactly 220 pounds of stuff. 70 for each checked bag and 40 for each carry-on. I took advantage of every square inch and ounce!
We still managed to accumulate a lot of stuff. Through care packages that were sent to us and other trips back to the States, we ended up with an apartment full of stuff.
But guess what…when it came time to return stateside, all we got was 70 pounds per checked bag. (Thankfully this was before they made you pay for your luggage. Quick shout-out to Southwest for not making passengers pay for their luggage. Now would you hurry up and start flying in to Dayton so I don’t have to drive over to Columbus. Thanks!)
So “street sale” we had! And a big one too!
A few lessons I learned from selling our stuff on the streets.
1. Emotions – Get over it! – It’s tough to part with your things…because “So-and-So gave this to me for my 12th birthday,” or “But I can’t let this go, it’s too precious and grandma would be disappointed if it wasn’t here next time she visited.” Well sorry to be non-empathetic here, but get over it! It’s likely that grandma doesn’t remember giving it to you and your 12th birthday, really?!? (Please, keep all valuable family heirlooms. That is not what I’m talking about here!)
2. Be visible – If you are not located on a busy street (as I am not…at the end of a street off the beaten path), then make your sale visible at nearby intersections with signs. And balloons! Give your address or point to your house with some arrows. And throw a few of the main sale items or categories onto your sign too.
3. Bargain – Encourage haggling. Totally not something we are comfortable with in this culture. But encourage it. You’ll sell more stuff. I promise!
And a few lessons I learned from selling our stuff on our driveway.
(Our garage is now our playroom/office and laundry room!)
1. Get it out of the house – Go through your house one closet at a time. Don’t do it all at once! You will fall over from either exhaustion or the dust kicking up your allergies!
2. Ask yourself - When going through your house and your stuff, ask yourself, “Would I pack this up and move it to a new house?” (Even though you are not moving, it’s a good question to answer in helping decide what to sell.
3. Stop using reusable grocery bags for a month – I asked for plastic bags during the last few of my last grocery shopping trips, so I could have some FREE bags on hand.
4. Take advantage of FREE advertising – Craigslist, homemade signs (cover up political signs with your sale information!), and participating in another larger sale that will do the advertising for you.
5. Clearly mark the items - Like every other mother around, my short term memory is completely occupied with where toys are hiding around the house and what and my long term memory, well, it’s just shot. All that to say, I won’t remember how much items should cost. So mark them! Once you’ve got your “asking price,” you can go from there in your bargaining!
6. “What would you pay” – When pricing, mark the items with a price that you would pay if you saw the items at someone else’s sale. If you like the price, chances are others will too!
There you have it. That’s all I’ve got.
What have you found works for you when having a garage sale? Or what doesn’t work?!?