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Rummaging around garage sales

By Hollen Wheeler

Summer is coming and that means lemonade stands, trips to the pool and community garage sales. Looking to declutter closets, purge attics and basements and make a few extra bucks? A garage sale may be the answer.

Garage sales attract several types of buyers: collectors looking for that unique purchase, those looking for everyday sundries at a reduced price, and others looking for the whimsical, unexpected find.

Garage sale experts suggest several steps to garner the most success out of a sale.

First, they recommend trashing the “garage sale” moniker in favor of “yard sale” or “multi-family sale,” as examples. Garages are dusty and can be smelly, so marketing the sale differently is better, even if the sale is in fact in the garage.

Advertise the sale with signs on busy street corners and on social media platforms, even highlighting a few key pieces to attract collectors: “Moving sale at 123 Street, antiques and vintage clothing, leather couch and loveseat,” for example. Friday and Saturday are known to be the best days for yard sales, not Sundays.

Next, it’s recommended to place price tags on every piece of merchandise. There is an assumption that dickering will happen without a price tag but the experts say the opposite. A price point could get even the shy buyer to negotiate. If there is a surplus of similar items, instead of pricing each one separately, group them together and sell them at a discount; for instance, “one book for $2 or three books for $5.” One garage sale professional, with a large amount of baby clothes, said she had success when she put up a sign, “Fill up a plastic bag for $5.”

The display of merchandise is key for shoppers. Make sure the signature pieces to sell are placed in a way that will get the most traffic. Hang clothing so it is easy for buyers to peruse. A wide variety of merchandise and a well-organized display will be more attractive to potential buyers.

For safety and for general help with the flow of shoppers and purchases, yard sales should be manned by more than one person. Garage sale gurus say that hosts should have plenty of change from pennies to $50s, and one person should be designated to wrap up or bag the purchases for customers while one person handles the financial transactions.



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