Sunday, October 4, 2015

First Time Garage Sale - Lessons Learned

During the past five years, we have moved quite a bit. We started in Box Elder, SD; to two places in Copperas Cove, TX; to two places in Tulsa, OK; to our current location in Marshall, MN. Every single time, I regretted that we did not have at least one garage sale at each location.

   We got rid of so much stuff - mainly by either throwing it away or giving it away. We could at least have made a few dollars on the stuff.
   So, the desire to have a garage sale has been very strong and last weekend, we finally had one. But, it was nowhere near as successful as I had hoped. There seems to be a very strong garage sale community here in Marshall. Signs are up everywhere and the town even has a designated Garage Sale Day, which features numerous sales on every single block (at least it seems). That was in the beginning of May. And that would have been the best time to hold ours.
   First of all, we waited until the end of the season. The best time to host a garage sale is in the summer - before school starts.
   The second thing that went wrong - we did not shell out the $25 to advertise in the local newspaper. Me, in my constant frugal state of mind, wanted to make money, not spend money.
   The third thing - windy days equals lost signs. I put up five signs in strategic locations and only one was still in the ground by the time we closed down.
   The fourth thing - it's not a big money maker. I had pie in the sky dreams, but didn't come close to it.
   The fifth thing - get enough tables. People don't want to bend over or squat down to look at stuff on a tarp on the ground (thankfully, we got rid of enough stuff on the first day to display everything on the tables by the second day).
   We only got rid of about 1/4 of the stuff we had out on the lawn. And while we are happy to have our storage closet mostly cleaned out, my van is now packed with boxes holding various items. Those items will be going to a consignment store tomorrow.
   We also learned the more functionality an item has, the more likely it will sell. All of Tony's hardware went bye-bye. No one even glanced at the Christmas d├ęcor or the 24M baby boy clothes or 6-12 girl clothes.
   A lemonade stand managed by your kid is usually a crowd pleaser. Bee managed to get money from almost every single customer we had. They did not always buy her lemonade, but most of them donated to her lemonade treasure box.
   We will do another garage sale next year and hopefully the lessons learned this year will be remembered.

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