Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Garage Sale-ing

A couple weeks ago we held the big "garage sale" that we had been planning all summer.  The same garage sale I secretly was afraid wouldn't happen due to weather or unexpected engagements.  The same garage sale that we collected stuff for in boxes in the basement since spring, but I was afraid wouldn't amount to enough things to make it worthwhile.  The same garage sale that we continued to bring out stuff to sell while it was in progress.  The same garage sale that continues to this day, as we have some of the remaining items on Craigslist.

I am happy to report that we made a very satisfying amount of money, cleaned out a lot of "junk" that other people could use, and even had some fun!

We made almost $450 at our garage sale over two days.  We made over $60 more on Craigslist in the day that followed.  And we're not done!

Pretty awesome.  That money covers our backpacks and then some, although we already bought those, so it's much more fun to think about what $500 might get us on our RTW adventure:

  • Visas for both of us for Russia
  • A month in a private room in a hostel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Both of us to fly from Mumbai, India to Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Cost of one of us to hike the Inca Trail in Peru with a guide and porter
  • 50 steak dinners for two in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Full day of scuba diving in the Galapagos for two(with rentals and National Park fees)
Now, these are just SOME of the amazing things that this money could get us!

It's great to know that our time and effort paid off, people can use the stuff that we considered "junk" and "clutter," and we have a little boost to our trip fund.  Not too shabby.

I figure it's only right that I share some of my Garage Sale Tips:
  • Signage is key!  We didn't advertise, but we live off of a few highly trafficked roads and used that to our advantage.  We had bright yellow plastic signs that stuck in the ground.  The text was bold and readable, contained our address, and arrows pointing in the direction of our house.  There were also subsequent signs that potential buyers would see along the way to direct them to our house in case they were unfamiliar with the area.  An early-bird garage saler even complimented us on our "A+" signage!
  • Organization is appreciated!  We had a futon, small table, chairs, pillows and throw blankets for sale.  We arranged them into a room-like setting, decorating carefully.  I also made a board for displaying my jewelry, so the necklaces could hang freely and everything was visible.  We sorted items on tables into groups so that housewares were all in one area, books in another, and so on.  As people bought things, we would rearrange to maintain neatness and fill in empty spots.
  • Labeling is important!  Put prices on everything!
  • Some people are bargainers, others are not.  Don't assume people will always haggle the price down.  Many don't.
  • Don't jump the gun!  Don't lower prices prematurely, you could greatly reduce your earnings.  My husband was an anxious bargainer in the first hours of our garage sale, lowering the price on certain items before the person had even made a decision on the labeled price.  We may have lost some valuable dollars.  Later in the day, a pair of women had a small child and as they walked up the sidewalk they immediately began ogling a plush "Nemo."  The price tag was high, even in our eyes.  Hubby wanted to tell them they could have it for half price (without them even approaching, asking, or remarking on the price).  I told him to just wait...they walked around the entire sale with it.  One asked the other what the price was.  She read it, they did not show any signs of shock or outrage at the price and proceeded to come over and pay the asking price.  Score!  On the other hand - towards the end of our sale we knew we would simply be donating most of the stuff that was left.  I walked around and told people that everything was half price.  It may have encouraged a bit of increased spending, it may have simply reduced what we earned, who knows.
  • Have fun! We found the people who attended our sale to be friendly (for the most part), entertaining, and just plain fun to talk to.  It was great to hear what amazing uses people had for some of our "clutter", and it made me feel really good about getting rid of everything, on top of the money we made and additional space we gained in our home!

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