Friday, June 6, 2008

Garage Sales

I recently held my first garage/estate sale. It was not one of my favorite things to do and am not looking forward to the next one!
I watched the news and checked the weather and extended weather forecasts before deciding when to have the sale, I went through box after box of estate stuff and priced it way below what it was worth, re-boxed the stuff pending the sale, bought two new card tables for displaying the items, went and bought signage to put up, put an ad on Craigslist, bought a short ad for the newspaper and listened while everyone gave me their take on what to do and when to do it.
I did listen to one friend who said to have the sale on Friday and Saturday, instead of the traditional Saturday and Sunday. That worked out quite well, actually, as the Antique and Flea Market dealers came out on Friday and scooped up most of the good stuff for re-sale. And, yes, they did arrive before I had everything set up.
I won't depend on extended weather forecasts, ever! It was supposed to be "nice" (at least not raining) and instead it was raining cats and dogs with a nice chilly wind to make things worse! I had put up a canopy the night before, just in case, which, unfortunately, was so worn from prior use that there was now holes in it, so I had to run to the store and buy a role of plastic to put over the canopy!
As the weather got worse, a friend (who was helping me) and I added a clear plastic wall to the side of the canopy to shed the water that was coming in and soaking everything. The next day, the weather was so bad, we added a wall to the other side of the canopy also! People did appreciate this effort!
Most everyone that showed up was nice. Of course, there are always a few flies in the ointment! Some people are just born crabby, I guess, or maybe it was the nasty weather.
I got ripped off for a couple of small (less than a dollar) items and one $5 necklace, which made me wonder why they even bothered to steal them!
All in all, I thought it went quite well considering the weather probably kept a lot of people home. But, I didn't consider this an event that I would want to do very often, or even ever again!
We nearly froze to death in the wet and cold, while people looked at items and asked if I would take less on a $3 item that was clearly never or rarely used and cost, originally, $20 or more. Or picked up a $20+ collectible item for $5 and told me they wouldn't buy it at that price! My last sale of the weekend was a choke chain collar for a large dog... it was brand new, still had the original tags on it... I had it marked 50 cents... the man who picked it up asked if I would take 25 cents for it... in my mind, I shook my head in disbelief, but, thinking maybe he just didn't have more than a quarter to spend, agreed to take his quarter - then he handed me a dollar, so I had to make change!
I came down on most prices, only because I wanted to get all this estate stuff out of my garage. If I had room to store it or or time to sell it at an antique store or other outlet, I would have never accepted the prices offered (it was insulting to sell my deceased father's belongings for next to nothing) and they were already getting a great deal.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS to anyone wanting to do a garage sale: 1) put up a canopy to keep the rain out or to keep the sun off your stuff and keep your customers looking longer, 2) start your sale on Friday morning if you can swing it. 3) keep your money on your person or in a belly bag, not a cash box, 4) never do a sale alone, you can't keep your eyes on everyone at once and you don't know if some ne'er do well might try to rob you, 5) make yourself and your helpers a sandwich the night before and put it in a cooler or something in the area you are positioning yourself so you can get some nourishment without leaving the sale area, 6) make sure your doors, if they are always in your view, are locked, 7) post a sign stating you don't have a public bathroom, 8) don't pull a wad of money out of your pocket to make change - keep a few ones and fives in a separate pocket to make change from, 9) don't accept anything bigger than a $20 bill, 10) dress for the weather, and lastly 11) if don't REALLY want to sell it - don't put it out for sale!!
Take care!

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