Last weekend I joined several relatives in holding a garage sale. Since we live in the middle of the woods, I was lucky to join a garage sale in a small town as part of the city-wide garage sales.
I brought two vehicles (including a minivan) packed full of stuff to sell. And I came home with $140, a TV cart, and a Rubbermaid container of stuff. Not too bad for an afternoon of chatting with some fun people.
I’ve participated in garage sales several times, but this was one of my most successful. I think there are a few reasons why this year’s sale was more successful than others.
I priced things low. I was more interested in getting rid of the stuff than I was in making a buck. It made more sense to me to let things go for cheap than to pay the $12 in gas to drive to town to donate it later.
I had what people were looking for. I sold a ton of quality baby and toddler clothing and toys. I also had a few bigger items such as a computer desk and a TV stand that people were looking for. I noticed that most of the bargain hunters were looking for kids’ stuff, home decor, furniture or tools. Household stuff and adult clothing didn’t move much at all.
I was quick to come down in price when people made decent offers. My mission was to bring home as little of my inventory as possible. If someone made me a decent offer, I accepted. I was pretty willing to negotiate all day.
I didn’t worry about sunk costs. If you really want to have a successful sale, you have to let go of how much you paid for your stuff. It’s not worth anything to you now, so you may as well sell it and move on.
I focused on my goals. I had two goals when I started preparing for my garage sale: To eliminate clutter from my garage and to earn at least enough money to fund some of our summer projects. I made sure to get my kids involved in determining what toys they wanted to sell. My husband was motivated by the idea of having an organized garage.
If I had any regrets about our garage sale, it is that it didn’t get advertised very well. We had a lot of signs and it was listed on the map of city-wide sales, but it should have been in the newspaper more.
I’m thrilled with how this year’s sale went and am looking forward to next year. This time, I’m going to be smart and try to price things as I clean and sort so that I’ll be ready for the next sale.
Have you had a garage sale this summer? How did it go? What did you learn from the experience?
photo credit: tacojim