7 ways to have a fabulous garage sale

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Garage sales take work, but they are a great way to clear out clutter and make a little money in the process.

Here are 7 ways to help your next sale run a little smoother

Invite Friends. When it comes to holding a garage sale, the more people selling, the merrier. For one thing, more stuff to sell piques more interest from passers-by-turned-potential-customers. Second, if you need to take a potty break, your friend can watch your goods for you and let interested parties know that you’ll be right back while at the same time ward off thieves. Lastly, it’s just plain more fun. After all, you’ll have someone to joke with when “Bargain Betty” tries to talk down your $1 autographed hardcover book to 25 cents!

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Don’t price your items too high in anticipation of a “fight.” Sure, some people are going to want to haggle. In fact, some people go to garage sales with the sole intent of haggling down the price and then bragging to their friends about how they haggled down the price. But while you might want to allow some wiggle room for the bargainers in your crowd, if you price something too high, people may just walk away.

Don’t forget the change! This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how easy it can be in the hustle and bustle of sorting and pricing items, putting up signs, and advertising your sale to forget to get change. A good rule of thumb: $50 in fives, $25 in ones and a role each of quarters, dimes and nickels.

Schedule the sale near the start of the month. The logic is simple with this one: People who get paid once a month at the beginning of the month will have more money.

Merchandise your items. First of all, prior to your sale, collect as many tables as possible so your stuff isn’t sitting out on a comforter in your driveway. (Been there. Done that.) Then, use baskets and trays to house small items such as jewelry, knickknacks and the like, and create an eye-catching display. Hang clothes from hangers or fold neatly. Dust, polish, press, even spray paint an item to make it look better.

Prior to your sale, attend a few garage sales, even if you don’t buy anything. This is especially good if you have never held a sale or don’t hold sales very often. The idea is to get a feel for how a garage sale is run and to assess the going rate for items. Learn from others.

• Finally, don’t do the math on how long you spent gathering and pricing items, setting up, or holding the sale versus how much you made. The numbers may be disappointing. But remember, the idea of having the sale is to make a little dough while you unload unwanted stuff. To that end, ask yourself: Is the bigger goal to make money or unload stuff? If it is to make money, price items a little higher but be prepared to hold a few sales or come down in price. If the goal is to get rid of stuff, price the items low—but be OK with letting them go for a song. And if you really want to get rid of your stuff, have a plan to load up unwanted items at the end of the sale and take them straight to your local donation center. Do not let them back in the house.

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