Garage Sale 101

This weekend we hosted a multi-family (5 to be exact) garage sale in our driveway. I’ll be honest: the cause was not charitable. We will tithe some of our proceeds and the rest we are putting toward our Mexico 2015 fund. 🙂 I grew up helping my parents hold garage sales and finding treasures in the wee hours of a Saturday morning with my grandparents. It’s nostalgic for me.

Joey and I held one the first year we moved to Norman. All our things fit onto three small card tables and people would literally slow down to notice we had nothing of value to sell and then drive off. I tried not to get my feelings hurt. This weekend’s sale, however, was quite different. Our entire driveway and garage were full of wares. Our junk; someone else’s treasure.

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If you’re thinking of hosting a garage sale yourself, here are a few tips I hope you’ll find helpful:

1. If you don’t have enough stuff to get rid of, ask a few friends to collaborate.

2. Decide location. A straight shot off a busy street with ample parking is best. Flat driveways are nice too.

3. Decide your purpose. Do you want to make money or do you want to get rid of stuff? Price your items accordingly.

4. Buy labels/tags. Assign each of the garage sale participants a color for pricing their items. This will help you keep individual items and subsequent sales separate.

5. Buy a permit from your city. Norman’s are $10 for three consecutive days.

6. Choose a weekend. We sold on Friday and Saturday. I think next time I’d just sell on Friday. We had to basically shove people out of our garage Friday afternoon but Saturday was slow and we were exhausted. We made about half as much money on Saturday as Friday.

7. Pack your garage full of tables and items the night before your sale so you can just move it all out in the morning.

Prepping the evening before...just moments before Finn threw the iPad on the concrete and shattered the screen. Boo.

Prepping the evening before…just moments before Finn threw the iPad on the concrete and shattered the screen. Boo. Lesson learned.

8. Cover your garage walls with sheets to hide anything you don’t want to sell.

9. Advertise! Post your sale to Craigslist and include that it’s Multi-Family. Provide some pics. Make signs to post at the end of your street, front of your neighborhood and any busy cross-streets. We taped poster board to empty boxes and dropped bricks in the boxes to keep them in place.

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10. Assign jobs for your friends. Have a coffee/breakfast runner. Friday morning Pascha picked up Panera. Saturday I made a quiche and Joey put on a large pot of coffee.

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Assign a few people to help set out tables in the morning. Someone should get change (Laura got about $40 in ones). Have someone bring you lunch…or else you’ll get cranky. Thanks, Morgan! Childcare. Joey took Finn to the Starbucks patio to play in his wheelchair, they visited a few friends, and even went to the Natural History Museum. SuperDad.

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And lastly, have a boy available to haul anything away that doesn’t sell to Goodwill. Jeff, you’re the man.

11. Organize. This will provide sanity in the chaos. Kitchen items stay together, home decor in one place, toys in a box (all one price?), books and dvds together, etc. Organize baby/children’s clothing by size.

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We put ours into tubs and priced them all at $1 unless otherwise marked. Hang adult clothing on racks.

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Shoes can be placed in pairs on the ground.

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Place furniture close to the street so it’s easy to load into vehicles.

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12. Keep valuable items in sight. We had three Coach purses for sale and tried to keep an eye on them at all times. We neglected to watch our jewelry, however. Within two hours, four of my seven pieces were stolen. And another was stolen even when we moved the jewelry closer. This made me so sad; I’d rather just GIVE items away. Don’t steal a $2 item, people! Sheesh.

13. Keep track of sales in a notebook with families labeled by tag color.

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You can simply pull off the tag and stick it to the notebook page. Or write the price on their page if the tag falls off or in the event that you lower the price.

14. Offer lower prices as the day wears on. By the time we were packing up Saturday, just about everything was $1.

15. And maybe don’t host a garage sale when you’re a week shy of nine months pregnant. It’s hard work! Whew.

My feelings exactly, Finn.

My feelings exactly, Finn.



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