Mader: Garage sale |

Mader: Garage sale

It’s that time of year for us again — moving time! It’s seems like this happens to us every other year or so. This time it’s different though — we have no idea where we are moving. We have been renting a house in Falcon, Colo., for the past two years but the owners are selling it, so we have to move out by July 31.

We may stay in the Colorado Springs area, move to northern Colorado or go somewhere completely different. The suspense is stressing me out! The kids and I have been praying that no matter where we go that we can find somewhere to live in the country! I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, though, I have been busy getting ready for the move. You’d think that after nine moves in 15 years I would have my things whittled down to nearly nothing, but that’s not the case. Each time I move I realize I have way more than I need and I have a garage sale. I’ve had 10 garage sales in the past few years and I have learned quite a few tips about holding one. Here are my best ones:

Plan Ahead

I try to give myself at least two weeks of active planning time before the sale. During that time I collect items, decide where I will advertise, gather tables, and price items. For me, it’s easiest (and worth a dollar or two) to buy the sticky preprinted garage sale price tags. I make sure to have several packages of them on hand. I also get about $150 cash (including about $20 in quarters) so I have enough to make change.

Price Everything

I think the thing that has contributed the most to my garage sale success is clearly pricing all of my items. I’ve been to plenty of garage sales and flea markets where things are piled in heaps and I have no idea how much things cost. It’s a pain to ask a seller for prices, and unless there is an item that I am more than marginally interested in, I usually don’t ask for a price and just leave the item. It is so much less stressful for me and for my customers if prices are clearly marked. Prices also keep me from making foggy on-the-spot pricing decisions. I’ve been known to price things too high or too low in those situations.

Price Reasonably

When people go to garage sales they plan on getting good deals. I try to price my sale items according to what I would buy them for at someone else’s sale. I would rather sell things cheaply rather than just give them away at the end of the sale. If I have some things that I think deserve a price close to retail, (like new clothes with tags) I try to sell them on Craigslist, Facebook or eBay before putting them in my garage sale.

Make Good Signs

I think the best are on brightly colored paper (I like yellow) with the words “Garage Sale” and the time written in a black marker. I like to tape a sign to a cardboard box, put a weight in it, and set it near street signs. I usually put up three or four signs, so no one gets lost. When I helped with a garage sale in the country, someone spray painted large pieces of old wood with red paint and used that for signs! It worked well out in the country and even though the sale was 10 miles from town we got lots of business!

Advertise Well

Unless you live on a busy street, advertising can make or break a sale. I used to buy an ad in the paper to market my sale, but these days I primarily use social media to advertise. I post an ad on Craigslist and on my personal Facebook page. Most communities have some kind of classified or garage sale Facebook page, so I utilize my community’s too. In my ads I make sure to list brands and big ticket items. Pictures are a big bonus! ❖

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