If you are: planning a yard sale, selling items in the paper, selling vegetables or fruit, from home, planning a trip to theme park or fair, or buying at a weekend flea market/antique shop hunter, buy a $3.00 counterfeit money marker.
I lost $20 or more at my yard sale last weekend. I'm sure they bought a $1 item and I gave back $19 in change. A loss of at least $38. total. It never crossed my mind while preparing for my sale. Funny money is on the rise, and these are prime target spots to pass them.
My story was printed in local news paper to raise community awareness.
By igaragesale from Cabot, AR
By Tricia from VA
This is a good time to get ready for this years Garage Sale. Go through your closets, the kids toys, kitchen cupboards and your basement/garage or storage areas for items you will be selling.
I do this by category starting with clothes. I wash, mend and spot treat items. Use empty boxes (will need to cover in plastic) or bins with lids for storage. I print out labels in my PC using whatever price labels (.25/1.50/$1 etc.) are available and cut, if needed for thriftiness. Remember to add your initials in case your friends or family members want to join in the sale. Then as I sort through everything, I price them as I store them. When I am ready for my sale, I will not need to price them, just unpack and display. Easy peesy!
I always organize the items into functions or rooms so items will be easy to find. Add a hanging rod, just conduit from the hardware store hung between ladders or by string from the garage ceiling. This is for any clothing you can possibly hang. Keep your clothing store hangers for this or buy cheap ones at Walmart for this purpose and store away when done. Just cut a hole in the center with a slit in the side to slide onto your rod with the size written in permanent marker on BOTH sides.
Have some long walls cleared away to hang your artwork and mirrors for sale. Clean any items that need it, you'd be amazed how much more you can get for clean, mended and nicely pressed items. Put sizes on table cloths, draperies etc., people will want to know before they buy the wrong size for their home and it will sell faster.
Always try to have boxes of items for kids, or small change, you'd be amazed at the amount you can make when people only buy the small things. If something is broken show this on label and write "needs repairs" or "for parts only". People appreciate that. Any electronics that don't sell take to the recycled businesses. Toys that don't sell, recycle in your own recycle bins or give to Goodwill.
The week of the sale, clean the garage out. Sweep the floors, put your items at the back and put up sheets or cardboard to separate the sale items from what you want to keep. This will distinguish items for shoppers. My last sale I did this, but to my surprise, two shoppers went around my barricades to grab a garage sale item I had bought myself and had not gotten around to taking the price tag off. So you always seem to have some people who don't know appropriate boundaries, never had that happen before!
Be sure to get enough change before the sale. Two $10 bills, four $5 bills and about ten or fifteen $1 bills, some quarters and other coins depending on your prices.
Make sure you have enough tables set up to display without crowding, people will make messes sorting through your crowded items. Every hour or so, re-fold clothing on tables. This is why I suggest hanging clothing.
Put your best items in prominent places. If possible, make sure large furniture items can stay until the end of the sale to attract others to the sale. Any dresser or cabinets etc in your sale can be used to display items in also. Plug in any radios, TVs or stereos etc. to confirm to shoppers they do work, use appropriate extension cords etc.
When making posters for the sale, you will want them on bright colored posters. Get plenty of boards in case of rain. Nail them to posts or boards snugly and well in case of wind. Write in permanent black marker, large letters and neatly: "garage sale" with the times, address and dates. Make sure to take the signs down promptly to avoid confusion for future sales.
When advertising your sale, list big ticket items first, and popular items such as kids clothing and sizes and garden items or building supplies. Keep it short and sweet, this is cheaper. Make sure to ask your paper if they have a garage sale package, often 3 days for a special price, and do your sale accordingly. Do not open before and don't close down early, I have my biggest sales at the end of the day, after 4pm.
Clerking the sale: always have someone out at the sale, use fans to stay cool or heaters to stay warm, if you must. Do your sale with a friend if you have children, so someone is available to their needs. My son sells frozen water in the really hot sales ($1) and makes about $20 per sale. We buy the cheap water, freeze the night before and bring it out in the cooler an hour or so before opening. You'd be surprised how many people appreciate it and it gives my son an opportunity to learn his counting and social skills.
Never leave your money box or money apron unattended even for a minute. I can't tell you the number of sales I've been to when the box disappears or the children's fund is removed.
Smile! Be friendly, you will sell more and you will get to know your neighbors. Give deals, if someone buys six or more items, I give them a discount of sorts e.g. ten shirts gets $2 off.
Displaying: I line up bright colored toys, large furniture along the sides of my driveway, people want to see a "preview" of your sale before deciding to stop and look. Keep as much inside as possible if it looks like rain is forecasted. Keep clean tarps close by if you can't move things inside. Sell items accordingly. This might be a time to take a loss on that big chair you never liked, so you don't need to move it again. It may not be worth the effort.
Know your prices: know what things cost and price appropriately. Don't put $3 on something that you can buy at walmart for $2, even if it's a premium brand. Chances are no one will spend the money. Don't cheat yourself either, premium items such as Bath and Body Works lotions sell for $10/bottle or tube. I have bought these for as little as .25, unopened. Also if the fragrance is not to your liking, you can return their products for another fragrance even if it's been used. So know what to make money from and what to keep.
Budget for loss. No matter how many people are manning the sale, you will suffer loss. Something will be broken or stolen and you will need to watch; but know it is not totally preventable.
Don't put junk in your sale. People don't want to buy your junk. If it's broken and cannot be fixed at least put it in the free box, if you can't bring yourself to trash it.
Know your own price limits. You may have a large item priced higher because you "know" it will sell for a higher price. If it rains or you are tired of dragging it in the garage at the end of the sale each day, it might be worth lowering the price or taking a lower offer.
Promise yourself you will not carry anything back into your house or garage to store another year. Once you do this it will be easier to take lower offers and chances are you won't miss the item or the money.
Price things at half price the final day or the last half. Don't advertise this or you will have people waiting to buy it cheaper then. Make plans to have a pick up or have hubby take unsold items to a local charity. Don't forget to get a receipt for tax purposes!
Lastly, be sensative to others. If your friend or family member has given you something, be sure to keep it inside until they leave. If you know it won't matter to them, then you may want to keep it in the sale. Also anyone helping you may want their own sale and you can volunteer to help them. Good luck with your sale.
Furnishing a home can be quite expensive and once it is done, after time the newness wears off and it sort of just melts into the wall becoming invisible. I have found a remedy to saving cost on furnishings and keeping the excitement of a new living space by venturing to weekend garage sales. Garage sales are a great way in which to protect and take care of our environment, because instead of dumping in landfills we are reusing otherwise disposable goods.
My approach for garage sale hunting is to review the "Penny Saver" weekly and skim the page for the garage sale heading. I search for anything that looks interesting and circle. I am an early riser, therefore on Saturday mornings I am up with the birds and ready to begin "the hunt". I have a list of things that I would like to find, which I take with me. I do deviate from this list if I find something very interesting that I know I would enjoy having in my house. I also don't rely completely on the "Penny Saver", although it does save on gas if you know where you are going, but I do tend to stay in one area.
I have found in general that bargaining is welcomed, therefore I will negotiate the price down, but always to a reasonable amount. I never offer a unreasonable amount, never wanting to insult the seller. Remembering always that this was once their beloved treasure. So in honoring that I am considerate of that in my bargaining and 9 times out of 10 they will agree to my price offer. Always, set a budget for yourself, based on what is affordable to you.
It is always a good idea to get an early start, as the treasures go fast. Although sometimes waiting later can get you a better price. Small or large, whatever I find adds character to my home and a pleasure to my eyes at a small cost. Enjoy the hunt!
By Cathy from CA
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Have the garage sale on the weekend, Friday to Saturday, then possibly Sun, 1:00 PM to dark, is a good way to avoid problems.
I will not shop a sale that has no prices on the items. I use a roll of narrow masking tape and write the price/short description on every single item the week/day/night before.
I will not shop a messy, dirty sale, with things thrown all over the grass with no care. Take the time to use whatever you have to display items in some reasonable order to make your sale, "buyer friendly". I tend to think a seller is sizing me up in order to judge what I might be able to pay, and am offended and not likely to buy anything at all. Remember that your sale is not the only one in the city. Your things may not be as important to others as they are/were to you. You're not a retail store, nor are your things always another man's treasures. In fact, most things are truly junk, not treasures, I believe.
In the heat of the summer, place the sale under the shade of a tree or set up patio umbrellas, or an inexpensive canopy. If cold, have it inside a warm garage, or defer to spring/summer/fall.
When using masking tape or labels for prices, attach them to the inside of lapels, underside of collars, and not on any outside area, because the sun can melt some of the adhesive to fabrics or plastic. Another way to price is to have a large well placed/written poster near the cashier area with summaries: dresses $____, blouses/shirts $_____, shoes/bags/hats $ _____, furniture as marked.
Remembering that in most cities, there are limits to the number of days one can have a sale in their home. Ours is three days, three times a year, i believe. I forget from year to year, and suggest that you check. Regardless, keep in mind that you only have a few days to make the sale and move your things out of your way for some price. Put enough thought into it that you decide in advance, not at the sale, what is your minimum price, because most want to "bargain" for the lowest price, usually asking, "Will you take $________for this and this?"
Choose found/used doors covered in table cloths for sale tables on top of lawn chairs, smaller tables, TV trays, tire stacks, boxes, etc.
Try not to sell too much at a time. It's confusing and messy.
If it is your first sale, be very careful because you may not know the value of your belongings passed down to you from relatives. I lost precious items this way, only regretting it later. Get books from the library about what is more valuable at a sale. Remember that collectors buy one at a time, usually, and go to other sales to get familiar with pricing in your area.
Do not keep a cash box in full sight, but rather use a fanny pack around your tummy and keep it zipped up and in front of you, keeping a sharp eye and feel on it at all times. I have had two cash boxes stolen off a table next to me at sales.
Keep a calculator handy inside your fanny pack rather than to rely upon your scrambled memory at the moment. Keep whatever large bill an individual has given you in between three fingers of one hand, while you give/count change with the other, so there is no misunderstanding about the correct change. Remember that you cannot deplete your only change (starting with about $25 at the beginning of the sale, in mixed bills/change of quarters only).
Also, in this day and time, with so much crime/poverty rampant, watch children who walk out with things in their hands, watch adults who wear jackets/hats, and groups where one tries to keep you engaged in questions while the others steal. This happened to me several times. Do not have two cashiers. Thieves will get a price for something or two from you, pick up a third or fourth and walk to the other cashier saying that you said, $____. The second cashier will shout the price out to you and you will not realize it was not just for the items you quoted, and cannot see the extra items in the buyer's hand(s). Save and use every possible bag you have so that everything gets bagged as they leave the sale. This way, if someone carries something out in their hand, you can more easily see it.
Always have at least one other adult as a helper/substitute for when you need to take a short break for any reason. Two more helpers is even better, so that one can always watch for thieves.
I like a sale that divides men/women/children/ family/infant areas, to make my shopping easier, friendlier. Also, do not set your prices too high, and do not reduce your asking price too much, to avoid those who want something for nothing. Save that for the very last hour of your sale, and you will have to bargain, often time for the whole remaining lot, at a price.
When selling clothes, wash, fold, stack/hang them, to get the best prices. Good toys need to be near the check out table and off the ground. Tough, more used child-proof toys can go on the ground for testing by a child.
If selling hats/shoes, become totally familiar with them and have helpers to watch buyers head, feet, hands, arms, purses and signaling to one another. There are many scams and opportunists today that frequent all sorts of sales to rip folks off. There are also some very kind, honest buyers, but a few only appear to be when, in fact, are "dealers in disguise" who are buying your item as cheap as they can talk you down for, only to sell it for a huge profit. These often buy a lot of merchandise and use the excuse "since I am buying so much, will you take $____ for them all?" Seldom is it a bargain for you, unless it's the end of the sale and you really want to move the merchandise and not have to store it. I have "given away" items rather than have to store them, so the bottom line is yours. Once you make a decision, don't look back with regret, let it go and relax, you've got a garage sale to clean up.
Another kind of garage sale that I benefitted from was one with all "giveaway prices". This was a Christian family who would have just donated good items to charity, but decided to ask a little something and enjoy seeing who got what. It was a god-send for me when I needed clothing for cheap, because I had almost no money. I got whole outfits for $.50/1.00. The elderly need and appreciate low low prices, as well.
If you have sales regularly, as some in our area do, all rules are different, prices are usually fixed, and there's less negotiations. But when you see lots of dust and rusty junk, you can know that it's not a true garage sale, but is likely just someone who perhaps has sales for a living.
Be honest with yourself, asking, "are my things out of style, coming back into style, or all worn out?" Price accordingly. Listen to what a buyer is saying, especially if more than one says something. If no one is buying, either your prices are too high, your products too bad, your signs are gone/moved, or you may have something negative in the sale area, such as wrong music, eating during the sale in front of the buyers, your animals/children under foot, some unpleasant odor in the air, or something broken and obviously not worth the price.
I prefer electronic items to be together, tools to be together, and toys to be together. Have as little as possible out that is not for sale. Sold" signs on items is OK, but not too many.
I like having a table from which to buy a good cold canned drink for $1.00, And perhaps a packaged healthy snack.
Watch the ground on which you have your sale. Keep it clean, clear, and safe, so that buyers are welcomed, not soiled or sorry.
Walk around, sit little. Keep your eyes open. Act kind but firm. Wear a bright colored shirt/blouse so that helpers can tell inquirers who to pay.
I play gentle Christian music at my sales, because I believe it draws honest folks, disarms/discourages thieves, and blesses all who hear.
I watch the weather and plan accordingly, with plastic ready and available, plans for moving items in case of downpour/high wind/night time. I never leave my items outside for the next day, unless there is too much junk i'd just as soon someone steal. With every purchase, I appreciate getting a "thank you, i hope you enjoy that!", it helps in case the person might tell someone else about your sale. Also, should you have address labels to spare, keep them handy for anyone who might need to return or send another there. Don't give them out for no good reason. Have a sign that says, "all sales final" or "we cannot guarantee used items. Choose wisely and please handle carefully. If you buy or break it, you own it."
One of my most favorite signs is just outside of the buying area/fence. On a child's art easel, "Thanks for coming. God bless you." seen as the buyer leaves, and "Welcome. Come on in!" on the side seen as they come in.
I believe the most important things to remember are: good signage, greatest locations, price all items fairly, keep it clean, stay alert, and have pleasing music playing.
By Lynda from TX
If you don't like the price you can offer a different price which is nice for those of us who find haggling in person intimidating. You can search for one in your area by typing in "virtual yard sale" in the Facebook search box. If a group doesn't exist in your area you can start a group. Its a great way to purchase items at garage sale prices or get rid of some things that are gathering dust. The absolute best part is no fees!
By Kristinas from South TX
By Fisher Swanson and Susan Sanders-Kinzel
Advertising a yard sale is as key as location and time. Choose a location that allows for easy parking. Preferably find a friend who lives in a suburban neighborhood; then ask if you can combine to have a "multi-family yard sale." This attracts people because it offers a variety of items for one stop. If the weather report looks clear, place an ad in the paper for your sale.
Timing is important, too. Try to choose a prime yard sale time of year and avoid cold or rainy weather days. What works best is when several people in the neighborhood hold yard sales on the same day. Multiple ads in the paper for the same neighborhood make the drive worth while for the customers.
The best yard sale is one that offers high quality items at reasonable rates. This may seem counterproductive, but it generates more sales. Ignore how much the item cost new; it's not new anymore. People are looking for spontaneous, low budget purchases.
Another turn off for yard sale customers are items without prices. Be sure to have each item labeled. A popular tactic is to label everything on a table for the same price or five items for $2.
Customer service doesn't stop at the store. When someone is walking with an armful of items, hand her a box to make carrying easier. Then, rather than adding it up offer a blanket price, $15 for everything. It may have come out to $17, but often this is the customer who will turn around and look for something else to add to the box.
"Drive by shopping" is popular with yard sales. If the items don't seem to be of good quality, the car doesn't stop. Present clean items in an organized way. Put vases, doilies, and knickknacks for sale on top of tables to create a store display. Keep like items together for easy shopping. Have outlets available for electronic items so they can be tested. Put high frequency items that offer little interest or value in the back of your sale display. Items like kitchen glasses and knickknacks fill many yard sale and flea market tables. Consider combining your sale with a friend to create a more balanced feel for your sale. Clothing should be clean, free of wear, and hung on a rack. Make your sale look pleasing and let the people see your deals in their best form.
Last but not least, create a budget friendly plan for your profits. Put your profit in the savings account or use it for a weekend trip to the amusement park with the family. It's always rewarding to sell unused items and then use the profits to purchase something the whole family can enjoy like an extra TV for the family room or an air hockey table for the basement.
1. Guerilla Advertising: Make lots of signs to post around your neighborhood before the morning of your sale. The sign should include your address (obvious yes, but easily forgotten!) and directional arrows pointing the way. Printing them on bright colored paper or coloring them in makes them more attention grabbing. After the sale, be a good neighbor - remove and dispose of your signs.
2. Wherever possible, price your items ahead of time and label them. People are likely to buy more if they don't have to ask you "how much is this?" twenty times in a row.
3. Use removable stickers for pricing (drafting tape also works well for this). Damage from a price tag might lose you the sale!
4. Be sensible when pricing.A yard sale is not the place to sell a valuable antique for its true value. People go to yard sales because they want a good deal (we're talking a couple bucks to 10 cents for most items and possibly twenty dollars for furniture). Make sure they get one. Otherwise, you may want to sell your item through another type of venue.
5. Have a bunch of items that seemingly have no value? Throw them in a big box or on a table and label it "Free." Your generosity will endear you to customers and make them less likely to offer you a ridiculously low price for the items you want to sell. By Lisa T.
I am thinking of doing a yard sale and marking just about everything at or under a dollar. Most items are office related, folders, binders, etc. and some household items and small toys. Thought if I did this the items would sell and quickly. I am also thinking if there are 100 items at one dollar = $100.00. Has anyone done this? Any thoughts?
By Robin C.
Just make sure you have good signage. There have been a couple articles regarding yard sale signs here on Thrifty and they may be good for you to search for and read. I have been doing yardsale for 25+ years and the signs really make the difference.
How much should I charge for a bottle of water, can of soda, box of juice, a brownie, a cookie, and a Rice Krispy treat?
Unless you make things in a kitchen that is not certified you don't really have to have a license. Sometimes a nice cold soda or water, etc, will keep the kids happy while the parents shop. I have seen folks pay as little as .18 for each can and sell them for .50 which is a nice profit just to bring it home.
I would stay away from anything you have to bake or make in any way. I have seen it backfire on folks who did nothing wrong, but paid a fine anyways.
Where would I buy one for my upcoming yard sale?
Thank you for your time.
By Lorie from Central area, FL
Counterfeit pens don't always work! We used one at my workplace and one time it didn't show that the bill was counterfeit. Here's a surefire way to tell if a bill is counterfeit or not without the person even knowing that you are checking it. Just run your fingernail over the section of the bill that is the President's suit or clothes. If you feel ridges, it's a real bill. If it feels smooth, it's counterfeit. A policeman showed me this trick and it works with old and new bills. We found more counterfeit bills this way than we ever did with the pens!
I would appreciate any suggestions you all could provide concerning what makes a moving/garage sale successful. I live in Arizona, so it is incredibly hot here, but have to move due to financial constraints. Thank you!
By Paula G.
I agree with the other posters - the price makes all the difference. If you price things too high, they will not sell. Everyone is strained and looking for a bargain, others simply do not have the money. But always have prices posted; people do not like to buy when they continually have to ask how much something is. Also, keep things compact, so it always looks like you have a lot.
For some reason, when things are all spread out, it looks like it's been picked over and people won't take the time to stop. Put out everything - you won't believe what will sell! A bunch of trinkets stuffed inside a bag will sell for .25-.50 .
If possible, do not advertise days - if your sale is advertised for 3 days, everyone will show up on the first day and not many on the other two, thinking things are picked over and the good stuff is already gone. Emphasize the "Moving" sale - people will know you want to get rid of things. Keep lots of change handy - you do not want to lose a sale because you can't make proper change. Good luck.