Are your garage, basement, and closets overflowing from the heaps of stuff you’ve been saving “just in case?” Then it may be time to put it to good use-in someone else’s home. Rummage sales are a great way to clear out, recycle, and make some extra cash. Follow these suggestions for a successful sale and a clutter free home.
A garage is usually the best place to hold a sale offering shelter and requiring little daily set up and tear down. If your garage is hard to get to, hidden from view, or contains valuables that can’t easily be hidden, use a covered porch or patio or your yard instead. Keep plenty of tarps available to protect your goods from rain and for covering at the end of the day. Don’t use your basement unless it’s your only option. Many people will skip your sale, feeling uncomfortable walking into your home. Furthermore, it can be a threat to your safety.
ALL IN THE TIMING
Early spring to mid summer are the best months for holding a sale. Garage sale traffic tends to slow by late summer and into the fall. Typically, the best days to hold your sale are Thursdays thru Sundays, with Saturdays bringing the most sales. Mornings bring the greatest flow of traffic and the earlier the better. If you open by 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. rummagers will flock to your sale.
DISPLAYING YOUR WARES
Don’t make the mistake of heaping your merchandise on tables or leaving it in boxes to be ransacked. While some people don’t mind digging through messy stacks, most won’t bother to dig through such disarray. Hang as much clothing as possible. Use a laundry pole or portable closet, or install two support brackets and a closet rod. You can also stretch a ladder between two shelves attached to walls, or support a ladder between two stepladders. If you have few clothing items, a clothesline will do.
Plenty of table space is a must. Borrow folding tables, and if you run out, make your own table by resting a sheet of plywood over sawhorses, or prop spare planks of wood between chairs. Keep all but big items off the floor for better visibility. Neatly fold and stack clothing that can’t be hung on tables, and label stacks according to size. Organize good toys and complete sets where parents and grandparents will easily spot them. Set up a ‘guys’ table with hand tools, gadgets, electronics, and home repair items. Place small articles such as jewelry in divider containers or egg cartons so they are easy to view.
One exception to the disorderly rule is for little toys that parents are unlikely to purchase. Stick all these little goodies in boxes on the ground where young children can dig for treasures to take home. Label boxes according to the price per item or allow children to choose one as a prize. Finally, make sure batteries or electricity is available to show that items are in working condition.
NEXT TO NEW SELLS
Appearance plays a big roll in the sale of used goods as well as the prices they can bring. Wash and dry all clothing and linens, then fold or hang immediately to prevent wrinkles. Wash dust, dirt, and grime from toys, tools, and household items. Repair broken merchandise when feasible.
PRICED TO SELL
Avoid the temptation to overprice or you’ll wind up packing up as much as you started with. For big items, look through classified ads for typical resale prices. Some top quality items in like-new condition can bring 25–35% of the replacement cost. Occasionally, tools, equipment, and other items in small supply can be priced higher and could sell for 50–60% of replacement cost, depending on age and condition. Most often, however, used merchandise will bring 5–10% of replacement cost at best. Most items will fall in this category.
Newspaper classified ads usually bring the best results unless you live on a main street or a heavily traveled highway. Include in your ad, your address and main cross streets, dates and time of your sale, and what you’ll be selling. List big items individually as well as the categories of items you’ll sell such as “tools” or “toddler clothing.” In addition, post fliers on grocery store or laundromat bulletin boards, and if there are no regulations against doing so, post signs on nearby corners. Also, don’t forget a bright sign in front of your house and balloons tied to your mailbox or a tree.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- The bigger the sale, the more traffic you’ll get. Go in with family, friends, and neighbors and hold one big sale rather than several small ones.
- Hold a street or subdivision wide sale. This will draw people from surrounding areas.
- Move big items such as furniture or appliances into the driveway to attract passersby.
- Avoid the temptation to overprice or you’ll wind up packing up as much as you started with.#