Warmer weather and summer means garage sale season is upon us. Rebecca, in our accounting department, came up with 10 ways to rock your rummage sale.
With any move to a new home comes new challenges and opportunities. Maybe your favorite clock just doesn’t look quite right on the entryway wall, or maybe putting all those clothes on hangers in your new closet makes you realize that you haven’t actually worn certain items in years! Whether it’s time to refresh your design, let go of some junk, or move up to the big boy bed, a rummage sale can be an amazing way to de-clutter, de-stress, and make room for the new!
Top 10 Ways to Rock your Rummage Sale
1. Set a designated area in your house for sale items
Whether this means clearing a spot in your garage, basement, or closet, or maybe simply putting a big yellow label on an existing tote, it’s a good idea to have a place where you can throw things in as they come to mind. If something doesn’t fit in your box, or maybe is conveniently packed away for the moment, just add a list to that box detailing which additional items you don’t want to forget and where they’re currently located.
2. Start collecting early
The best rummage sales are the ones where you don’t open your closet a week later and say to yourself, “Shoot, I should have put this out too!” If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t do a deep clean of your house and all its contents all at once – that’s completely overwhelming to think about, right? But if you can break it down by room and do a thorough de-clutter every couple weeks in the few months leading up to your sale, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and energy. You can feel calm and collected knowing you’re prepared and nothing has been missed!
3. Set your sale date
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll be amazed at how much more focus you can direct towards other things once you’ve just blocked off this weekend and committed to a date. Plus, if you need to borrow tables, extra hangers, or maybe some manpower, you can request help or resources from friends and family well in advance.
4. Clean your garage
A lot of shoppers make judgements about your stuff based on the first impression they get from your garage! If it’s dirty, cluttered, or funny smelling, they are going to be a lot less likely to find your items appealing than if they can clearly see that you take pride in taking good care of your possessions. You definitely don’t need to get down on your hands and knees to scrub that little bit of paint off of the floor, or move all your power tools out to the backyard, but a quick sweep and bit of organization can go a long way in making your garage much more inviting to your customers.
5. Decide on your pricing strategy
What is your biggest reason for having a rummage sale? Are you in it to make money and have items that you feel still hold a lot of value? Or are you ready to make space and part ways with your items for good? If you have a lot of expensive clothing, relatively new electronics, or other valuable goods, you may want to consider putting them up for sale online before charging above average rummage prices. While you are certainly not obligated to sell anything for less than you think it’s worth, high prices can be a turn off for some shoppers who are likely to make impulse purchases if they see a bargain, especially if they don’t really need the item. If you’re ready to make a final break with your stuff, you’ll need to take a detached, objective look at the way you price and choose to find joy in your beloved castoffs going to a new, appreciative home rather than making a huge profit or getting back what you may have paid. The lower your prices, the more volume you’ll move! Price everything prior to opening and decide in advance whether you’ll be willing to barter.
6. Have an organized display
In my personal opinion, nothing is worse than a bunch of clothes with potential stacked in impossibly high stacks on overcrowded tables! Digging is no fun. Make sure that you have plenty of table space to lay out your items, group similar items together (clothes with clothes, kitchen things separate from bathroom things, ect), and that everything is clearly priced, reasonably clean, and tidy. Whenever possible, hang clothing instead of folding and stacking. Take it to the next level by organizing by size and even putting signs on tables. Taking an extra moment to untangle jewelry or cords or adding notes that “all pieces are here” will also boost your customers’ interest and appreciation.
7. Get the word out
Advertising can make or break even a garage sale these days, depending on your location. If your house is closer to the outskirts or town or deep within a mostly residential area, making sure that customers know you’re having a sale is key. Facebook groups such as “Fargo Moorhead Buy and Sell” and Craigslist are great places to put the word out for free and allow you to highlight your most interesting items or volume with pictures. Your local paper is also a great place to advertise if you’re willing to pay a small price (consider your pricing strategy and if you think it’s worth it to you) and may also have the option of posting an ad just to their website rather than in the physical paper. Don’t forget to include your address, dates and times of your sale, and any additional information like specific items or directions.
**Expert tip – really dedicated rummagers such as myself LOVE when people post in the Fargo Forum, because your address shows up on a Google map I can open in my GPS navigation and actually plan out my whole rummage route!
8. Signs, signs, and more signs.
Not everyone goes out of their way to seek sales, so the importance of putting out plenty of signs directing nearby traffic to your address can’t be understated. Make sure your signs are durable and sturdy (in case of wind or rain), simple and easy to read (I need an arrow and an address, minimum, that I can see across a few lanes of traffic), brightly colored (so as not to be confused with open house or for sale signs and to really catch someone’s attention), and strategically placed (the more, the better!) Just remember to practice good etiquette and neighborliness by removing your signs once your sale has closed.
9. Don’t overlook the necessities
Lots of smaller bills and change, plastic grocery bags, stickers or masking tape to price, bubble wrap or newspaper for fragile items, and a friend to help make change, bag, and supervise the sale while you distribute signs, take breaks, or run for lunch are all things that can be easily forgotten. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have plenty of the above. If you’re shy by nature, a radio for some background noise can also be really helpful.
10. Enjoy your success and clear out the leftovers!
Most area thrift stores are thrilled to take donations of unsold rummage items, and even offer free pickup after your sale! Just make sure that you call a couple weeks in advance to schedule and find out if there are any restrictions or requirements for donations (ie, everything needs to be boxed, stickers must be removed, no furniture, ect). Take down your signs, fold up your tables, and park your car back in the garage. Feel awesome about yourself for making the world (and your clutter-free home) a better place!