Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hosting a garage sale and it's aftermath

The Labor Day weekend is upon us! The holiday is considered the unofficial end of summer and for me, the beginning of  prime-time garage sale season! It's now a twelve week dash that concludes around the Thanksgiving weekend. Throughout Saturdays in the fall, I try to accumulate boo-coo inventory to carry me through the off-season. Hopefully, I'll find some good scores to pass along to you.

Speaking of Labor Day weekend, I found only one neighborhood yard sale on Saturday. Initially it showed some promise. It was located in a nice suburban neighborhood with lot's of young families. Young families means kid's toys, like the aforementioned Bumbo seats, American Girl dolls, Lego's and more! However there were a couple problems with this sale. Upon arrival, I realized the neighborhood just hosted a big yard sale back in the Spring. Worse yet, it seemed like the same houses were participating! That's not to say you can't get lucky at a repeat sale, but how much good stuff could these folks have left? In most cases, you're dealing with the crummy leftovers from the previous Spring garage sale. So the odds were not looking very good!

The second headache I faced was the enormous crowd that came to the sale. Since it was the only neighborhood sale for miles around, everyone and their uncle seemed to show up. On a normal fall weekend, this same crowd of pickers would be dispersed all over town. Instead, everyone had converged in this one neighborhood! I knew it was going to be bad when, pulling into the neighborhood, I spotted a fellow picker who apparently beat me to a nice jogging stroller. It was taunting me from the back of his truck! I can normally count on flipping a jogging stroller for $50 to $75 dollars. But in this case, all I could do was groan and wonder how much profit I missed out on? That stroller turned out to be an omen-I came home with absolutely nothing!

With this kind of poor quality garage sales taking place in August, I figured I might just as well hold my own. So a few Saturdays ago, we did just that. It was a great opportunity to clean out my "Hoarders" basement. Plus it's always fun mingling with neighbors and like-minded pickers. Our total profit for the day was $180 dollars-not a bad morning's work! But once the sale was over, Mrs. Dude grew exasperated with all the unsold clutter left in the garage. She strongly encouraged me to haul the leftovers down to the local Goodwill collection center. The center is five minutes from my house. It's a former gas station converted to a "collection only" operation by Goodwill. Located at a busy intersection, the place rakes in an incredible amount of donations. Saturdays are particularly busy, as people seem to clean house and drop stuff off all day long. One of these days I intend to take an early morning photo of the place, followed by an evening photo later that same day. You'll be amazed at the accumulation of stuff that piles up in just eight hours!

Recognizing that Goodwill isn't in dire need of my garage sale leftovers, I decided to hold off on making a donation. I still had one more trick up my sleeve to squeeze a few more dollars out of the stuff. With the garage sale over, I tossed the remaining items in the back of my truck. This included books, framed pictures, VHS tapes, toys and lots more. Once in the back of the truck, I took a few digital photos of the collective heap. I then posted an ad on Craigslist with the title, "Truckload of house contents for sale." Notice that I didn't use a pejorative title like, "Leftover Yard Sale items"? That would surely be the kiss of death-nobody is interested in leftovers. So instead, I use the intriguing "house contents" title. Hey, I am not lying...it's all "contents" that came from inside my house! Sounds much more enticing that way, doesn't it?

My "house contents" ad was posted just hours after the close of our garage sale. Feeling the pressure from Mrs. Dude, I needed the stuff sold ASAP! My starting price was $40 dollars, and while I got  few nibbles, no buyers showed up on my doorstep. Several days went by with no sale, so I lowered the price down to $25.  Boom!....that must have been the correct "price point" because e-mails began rolling in. The very next day, a women showed up and we crammed the "house contents" into the back of her Honda CRV. She left a happy lady and I was $25 dollars richer! In the grand scheme of things, who knows what great stuff that extra $25 bucks might buy me?

So the garage sale and it's aftermath worked out pretty well. How about you? Do you have any tricks to squeeze out a few more dollars out of garage sale? Give us your ideas below....  






 
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12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thrifty Momma - Glad you like it : ) ....Dude!

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  2. I wish I had more garage sale tips for ya. I'm always under-performing, I suspect because I don't have excess furniture and "Bigs" people are truly looking for at yard sales. I'll share secrets when I have 'em ;)

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    1. Van-Sounds fine, let us know when you do. Good luck out on the garage sale trail and thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  3. Oh My! It is Friday and I just looked over our online newspaper for garage sale ads... wow, last weekend=nothing (Labor day weekend). This weekend, 3-pages of garage sales and a long list of Craigslist garage sale ads. I think my husband will hide his wallet and my credit card ;) Holy Moly!

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  4. Garage Sale Addict- Ha! I am right there with you, Charted about tne garage sales, so it's on!

    One lady put right in her CL ad she's selling lots of American Girl Doll stuff-Gawd Noooo! Don't tell everyone..I want to scoop it all up for resale $$$ !

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  5. What a fab idea about listing it that way on Craiglist! A few years back (before I was an online seller), we had a huge garage sale. Made about $1000 over the weekend. But the next day we loaded everything up and dropped it off at the Salvation Army. If only then I knew what I know now.

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else


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    1. Margaret-Glad you like it! Making $1000 at your own sale is noting to sneeze at....nice work!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  6. When I actually do a garage sale, it's always more about cleaning out "stuff" that won't sell or just clutter than it is about making money. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to make a buck or three, but in the case of a garage sale, the mental switch has gone off in my head and I'm in the mode of purging.

    Typically, my real purging begins around 11:30 or noon during the actual garage sale (depending on the amount of traffic I'm getting). I'll take the worst, cheapest stuff and start putting it to the curb with a genuine handmade "FREE" sign. Every buyer who then approaches is assured to be told that the stuff at the curb is free. By the time 2:00 rolls around, half the stuff that's left is at the curb. Then I'll go through and really comb out the best stuff that's worth holding onto and whatever remains goes to the curb. The Craigslist "Garage Sale leftovers - free at curb" notification goes up and typically, but the time of Monday garbage pick-up arrives, there's only a few scraps left.

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  7. Sean - You have a whole system to unload your stuff -makes sense too. I use CL to unload "free" stuff, mostly stuff I have no chance of selling.

    Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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