Rummage Sale Success
Tips and strategy for having a successful rummage or garage sale including pricing suggestions, getting neighbors involved, and where to look for items to sell
Rummage sale, yard sale, garage sale, porch sale, and even basement sale. Many different names meaning the same thing. Somewhere along the line, you have accumulated so much ‘stuff’ that you decide to sell some of it to make room for new ‘stuff’. Following some simple steps and strategy can help you have a successful sale.
If you have decided to have a sale, asking neighbors if they would like to have a sale the same day is a great way to help draw in more people. As a potential rummager myself, the idea of heading off to a sale is nice, but the thought of driving to a neighborhood that is having several sales on the same day is usually too good to pass up. The old saying of the more the merrier definitely applies here. Having your neighbors involved also lessens the chance of them being disgruntled about the extra traffic. This is especially important if you live in town, but can even apply to rural neighborhoods.
Making a list of rooms and closets in your house should be the first step you personally take. This way, you will not miss any boxes or items packed away that may have escaped your memory. Do not forget garages, sheds, and barns, too. Human beings are naturally pack rats!
Deciding on a central place to put the things that you are going to sell is the next step. Somewhere close to where you will hold the actual sale is best. As you go along, sort out any items that are garbage and dispose of them. Next, sort out any items that you are unsure of a price…that vase handed down from a long ago relative, though not very attractive, may be worth more than you think. Check for items that need cleaning. Potential buyers do not need or expect every item to be spotless, but if you have a whole box of glassware covered in cobwebs, a simple rinsing will make them much more attractive to a buyer. Divide items into several main categories as you go along. Clothes, books, kitchenware, electronics, furniture, sporting goods and toys to name a few.
After all is gathered and separated, price everything. Do not overprice, do not overprice, and do not overprice. I cannot stress this enough. The sweater with the blue dog that took you several trips to the local mall to find and was not on sale may be worth a lot to you. To a potential buyer it is just a used sweater. If something has so much sentimental value that you cannot figure out a fair price, set it aside. When all the pricing is done, go back to it. Do you want to sell it or keep it? As you are pricing, a good rule to go by is 10% of the original cost. Take into account extreme wear on an item though, and reduce the price more if necessary.
One of the most important parts of your sale will be how you advertise it. The ad should contain your address, directions if needed, and a short list of items. When listing these, try to list the items that you think will draw the most attention. Baby items, books, and sporting goods are all good attention getters. Local papers usually run a special area in their paper just for these types of ads. Many even offer a rummage sale kit with each ad. These usually include signs for you to post, and a tip sheet for pricing suggestions. Do not overlook bulletin boards at the market. Our local mall even has a large bulletin board at one entrance just for such a purpose. The day of the sale you should put signs at both your residence, and directing traffic to your road or street.
The day of the sale has arrived. People are out and have found your sale. Be polite. Make sure you have enough change on hand for early birds that show up with nothing smaller than a twenty. Keep your money on you. A small belt bag works great. Many people love to barter over prices so decide beforehand if this is something you will consider. One possibility is to say early on that prices set are firm, but the last hour or two, if an item is still there, you will be open to offers. A notebook should be on hand to keep track of sales, and do not forget a chair for you to sit. By the end of the day, this will be the most important item at your sale, and when the sale is done, sit back, count your earnings and think of all the new ‘stuff’ you can buy!