Garage Sale Success

Well, we finished up our two day garage sale and deemed it a success. Both financially and just getting rid of stuff.  We had purchased a package with 1000 stickers that had prices stamped on them. I’d say based on the number of stickers remaining we sold off at least 400 items of various sizes. Thought I’d share a few observations about the sale.

We actually found it less of a challenge to decide what would go in the sale than we thought it would be. Especially on the emotional side of giving up stuff. That may have been made easier because it’s not our final sale and we have come to an agreement a 5×10 storage unit could later house, at least for a while, items we are not willing to part with or are not sure if we will need it on the road. Boy did I have a few questions to ask others about what we should keep for the road. Fortunately, an opportunity came up where I had to travel to Joplin Missouri for work. Our good friends and full time RV’ers Cheri and Dean were parked in their home town. Cheri writes the Travels with Bentley Blog. I took a detour on the way home to pay them a visit. Not just to ask questions but to see how they were doing. They kept a larger storage unit after selling their house. I ran a list of items past Dean, asking if we should keep them for the road. The couple are doing good and preparing for their trip north to see family and more.

I’ll just bullet point a few comments about the sale:

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  • We advertised on Craigslist, Facebook and the local paper. Taking into account the households within a 10 mile radius of us, I’m thinking the advertising could have reached up to 35,000 homes.  We are also fortunate to live on a corner lot with a major street so a well placed sign pointed folks to our home.  We had plenty of customers. Surprisingly this also turned out to be a great way to meet neighbors we had never spoken with in the past. We also received cards in the mail from local realtors asking to be interviewed or considered as an agent once we get ready to sell the house. One of our adds mentioned we would be selling the house next year.  That add also had an unanticipated effect at work! Several fellow employees apparently read the add and asked others what was up, was I leaving now. Not a big deal for me but something you might want to think about should you advertise for your own sale someday.

 

  • Items over $60 in price did not sell well. People were looking for deals. I’ll not go into the details of how to setup garage sale displays as I’m sure you can find that advice online. We moved all the leftover large items to one side of the garage and will post them individually on Craigslist.  That got me to wondering if it would have been a good idea to have posted them for sale on Craigslist or Facebook, individually, prior to the sale. Then just use the sale date to have people show up to buy. The lack of selling more expensive items has us worried how we should plan our final sale, when way more expensive or larger items are to be sold off. I’ll talk about that in a few moments.
  • A good way to look up what you might want to price something at is not to use a laptop for searching. Use you phone’s voice to text feature and just ask “eBay or Home Depo (fill in the blank)”. The Google search should pull up what others are selling the same item for and if they had any bids on the item. We priced most everything below the online price because we wanted to get rid of it.
  • We essentially have a three car garage with two overhead doors. We moved everything that was not for sale behind an area draped with tarps hanging from a soffit. We moved all our shelving from inside the house to the garage to setup displays. The shelving will be sold in the next sale. I sent a text to a neighbor to see if he had any tables we could use. He volunteered to get four 10′ tables from his church where only a small deposit was needed to insure the tables came back in good shape. Steve even hauled them to and from the church for us. Karen and I plan to take Steve and his wife to dinner as a way of saying thank you. He also has a power washer I can clean our concrete with – score!
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Cleaning Station

  • By far the most time consuming part was cleaning everything. We setup a washing station outside and a bucket with stool in the garage.  I used Windex and a rag for a few final touches. I also bought a can of black spray paint for a couple lawn mower attachments that had been in one of our two storage sheds.
  • We planned for the sale to begin at 8:00 am but opened the doors earlier. Friday was full of what I’d call professional garage sale shoppers. I asked a couple if our prices seemed reasonable based on their experience. The answer was yes and they were impressed how we organized everything.
  • Here’s a big reason the sale was so successful – we started Saturday morning by posting signs that everything was 50% off the labeled price. We had watched people looking over items on Friday that had not sold. We also wanted to give the people who were at work on Friday a chance at finding a few bargains. As expected, more than once I heard someone on Saturday say something similar to; “well I don’t need this but for the price I’d better buy it.”  After all, the goal was to get rid of stuff!
  • We decided not to make any donations to charities who resale goods – yet.
  • We pushed our shelving together and put a tarp over the leftovers for the next sale. There are a few other leftovers stored in boxes in our basement as well. Lot of totes were freed up to go in our future fifth wheel basement later!
  • A good trick to get ride of stuff that might not sell individually is to throw it in a box with other stuff. Charge a single price for the entire box.  Good thing we saved up a few boxes for that. During setup I had several boxes pre-marked for sorting. Those boxes were labeled HVAC and Plumbing,  Electrical, Nuts and Bolt, Electronics.  I made sure to have at least one good item in plain view in the box to encourage someone to buy the entire box just to get the good item.
  • Another special category worth mentioning is books.  We priced hard covers at $2 and soft covers at .50 cents regardless of actual value.  Karen loves her books and said they are hard to let go of. We arranged them by subject, sometimes stacked on the top shelf. We found people would buy most of the same group of books by subject. We have thought about donating some to local RV parks where we know they have books in their library for campers to enjoy or trade other books for.

A few final points:

I was worried we might sell something that was a gift from a family member. That stayed on my mind because I don’t want to be ungrateful. One suggestion I’d heard was if this is an issue then call the family member and let them know you enjoyed the gift but now our lifestyle had changed. Offer to give them the gift back or see if they would be offended if we sold it.  That might come up in our final sale.

I should not have put any money into fixing anything up. I should have just sold it as is. Specifically, I’m thinking adding new parts to an old BBQ grill would not have been required to sell it. People who know a good grill when they see it already are aware they can order the replacement parts and could have looked up the price for those parts. I made $10 on a great grill that would have sold for maybe $50 as is.

I want to thank my sister Donna, who lives hours away from us, for sending her friends to the sale via Facebook Messenger.  And Mary, thank you so much for the offer to help setup the sale. We had it under control or would for sure have needed the help. There is a chance we will take you up on the offer at our next sale.

And speaking of our next sale. A dilemma has developed. Do we host a larger “garage sale” or hire/hold an estate sale?  Knowing now that more expensive items do not sell, in our area at least, at a typical garage sale? Also knowing an estate sale requires more extensive and experienced setup? I’m worried if we hold another “garage sale” too much will be sold off and an estate sale business would not be interested in setting up an estate sale should we want to later hire them? And I’m worried if we held an estate sale we might have to allow people in our house after spending the winter fixing up the inside for the pending home sale?

One final step or idea that’s worth mentioning. Some time ago Karen moved her cooking utensils into lower kitchen drawers. As she used them she would move them to drawers above. After awhile, the utensils that still remained in the lower drawers became obvious ones to get rid of. Smart…..   Bet the process would work equally as well for clothes.

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12 thoughts on “Garage Sale Success

  1. And a good day was had by all…
    A garage sale, whether successful or not, is always taxing on the body..lol I’m sure you did very well! You will definitely need me next time, especially if you have stuff of value. I sell things like I’m selling a car! Lol…no really, ask Anyone! I work Every single customer… genuinely of course, but nevertheless.. they buy things they didn’t know they needed! One suggestion for selling higher valued items, check your local Facebook Marketplace and also an App. Called “Let Go”. I made a pretty good haul last winter, selling items. It was a breeze! That’s a great are for Karen to sell purses, shoes, jewelry, clothes. For you as well…also, people are looking for computer stuff, garden stuff, dishes..etc. check it out. I can show you if you go to the Reunion. BTW…don’t say yes to any Realtors yet…I should have my license by end of August😎😊. Karen and I talked about it briefly at Easter. Well…I camped at our local KOA Saturday, with Stella and Rocky. Stella is the campers name 😁. It was a great day to get away. Lots of big rigs in there. Nice place! I’m headed somewhere this weekend too if the rain stays away. I also have a spot at Hermitage State Park for Labor Day weekend. That’s where I would like us to go for next family campout. We need to reserve in December…for May. Well worth it! Can’t wait to catch up on all the cool stuff I’ve experienced since I got Stella. She’s a life saver😍.I just pick up and go whenever I feel like it. Rocky loves it! I’ve met some awesome people. I’m enjoying the cool evening tonight. Can’t wait for fall camping. Hoping to see you at the Reunion…until then.. get some rest. I’m sure you need it after your weekend 😀.
    Love you Brother… Your sis, Mef

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    • Awesome you are taking time out to spend with Stella! I’ll give you a call, hate to say I’m undecided on coming down for the reunion. I need the weekends at home when I can get them to fix stuff up for the sale (painting outside). At least this year.

      I’ll check out Hermitage State Park, I assume that’s not the State Park at the Lake?

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  2. Mark – We appreciate your posts as we plan on a future in an RV in 2022. FYI: You might check a new App for selling / purchasing things: LetGo… Thanks!~ Shelly B

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  3. It’s hard to know which is the best way to sell so much of your household. One of the pros of an estate sale is they do all the work & should know how to price. Con is the commission they get. We were shocked by what we got for really nice furniture and antiques. Nut in the end the goal was to get rid of everything and that we accomplished! Good luck….you’re getting closer to your dream, just keep that in your focus.

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  4. For larger items, I placed ads on our local Facebook Yard Sale Page – got rid of a lot of stuff that way. Since I did most of it on my own, I’d meet people in a very public parking lot near me, so people didn’t come to my house while I was home alone. If someone wanted the much larger items – they had to wait til the weekend when Bill was home. Nice job with organizing! It’s probably why you did so well!

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  5. Thanks for the shout out Mark. We enjoyed your visit so much. Your mind is always working and thinking ahead, so I’m sure your full-time journey will be great for you and Karen! In your area you might do well with an estate sale, as you have a much larger base to reach, but in our area I think we did much better listing items on Facebook and Craigslist. Unless you want to leave furniture in your home until it sells, you can always start getting rid of larger items you will no longer be using. You really did a great job of organizing things, and with everything else you really thought it through before moving forward!

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  6. Great job with the garage sale! After 2 attempts (we are in a fairly secluded neighbourhood) that didn’t amount to much, I’ve started using Kijiji, Craig’s list and Facebook marketplace. Much better success. The rest will be donated. We’ve almost finished the ToDo list to get the house ready for sale and hopefully it will be up next week! Best of luck with your journey! Judi

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