Looking for an easy way to get rid of that jumble of stuff and still make some good money? The best answer might be a garage sale. Garage bazaars are easy to organize and manage and can turn your junk into treasure.
Part 1 of 5: Collecting Items
Step 1. Gather things to sell
Look in those old boxes behind the sofa, garage or closet and select things you can sell. Do the same in every room in the house identifying things you don't use and no longer need.
- It can be difficult to let go of things even if they've never been used. A utensil leaning on for more than a year will certainly not be missed.
- Sell everything you don't use, like clothes and shoes that don't fit anymore, dishes that don't come out of the closet, handcrafted decorations made by you, old video games, photo frames and other junk.
- People buy pretty much anything. While there are best sellers, such as children's toys, old tools, books, antiques and kitchen utensils, don't be afraid to try to sell those things that you wouldn't even buy. The worst case that can happen is that you are unable to sell and you have to donate for free.
- Make sure your merchandise is in good condition and get rid of bad stuff to prevent customers from getting hurt. However, it is possible to expose broken things that pose no risk. You'd be surprised how many useless things people buy. Old PC parts, torn hoses, old doors and other unwanted trinkets are also interested. Another option is to give these things away as gifts.
Step 2. Take inventory
Write the name of each of the items you want to sell. Many people skip this Step, but having a complete list of everything that will be marketed can make your sales easier.
- Include the price of each piece in inventory. It's very easy to lose price tags at garage sales. When this happens, it becomes more complicated to give last minute discounts, especially if you are serving someone and someone else starts asking questions about an unlabeled item.
- The more things on sale, the greater the need to keep track of inventory.
- A list can help you check items to see if they haven't been stolen.
Step 3. Put a price on things
Make a complete list of your inventory and determine a reasonable price for everything.
- To get rid of the knickknacks, make a buddy price. For higher value items, the general rule of thumb is to cost ¼ of the original value.
- Some objects may have high prices. Well-preserved pieces, collectibles, antiques and rarities tend to be more expensive.
- Remember that the main purpose of a garage sale is to get rid of old stuff and not necessarily make a huge profit. Buyers of this type of business are looking for bargains. If you don't want to come back indoors at the end of the day, put prices low. Some people pay no more than 10% of the original value of an item. Price your products to sell them and you will make money.
- If you don't know how to rate a particular item, write “Make your offer” on the tag. Buyers can try to take advantage by choosing ridiculous prices, but it is also possible to make a label with the words “R$ 40.00 or better offer” if they want the customer's opinion on the value of the piece.
- Prices must not be unchanged. You can change the values of certain objects according to demand.
Step 4. Label your products with tags and prices
Visibly price all items. This will help you not to be bothered all the time with questions about how much this or that is worth.
- To save time, use colorful and eye-catching labels so customers can find prices easily.
- Your options are sticky labels or using a label printer. If you don't have labels, put the price on pieces of masking tape or make your own stickers.
- Many things with the same value like DVD's, VHS tapes, etc. can be put in a box with the value stamped on it. For example, write “Any item $1.00”. Your customers will rummage through the boxes looking for something of interest and may end up taking more than one piece or making a proposal to take the whole box.
Step 5. Make the biggest garage sale possible
Bazaar goers like variety. If it looks like there's not much for sale they might not even get out of their cars. Likewise, a flashy, large, and crowded sale will attract both bargain buffs and people who didn't even want to buy anything.
- Ask your friends, family or neighbors to contribute things to sell. Perhaps someone you know wants to sell a few items but is not prepared to organize a garage sale. If they do, they will have to make an inventory with everything that is for sale and the values assigned to facilitate the logistics.
- Talk to your friends before bargaining the prices of the items they deliver. When a buyer is not willing to pay the suggested price and wants to haggle, say things like “This part is not mine. I'm selling it to a friend and I can't change the price”.
Part 2 of 5: Planning and Outreach
Step 1. Get a permit if you need it
Check if you need a permit for this in your city hall.
- Many cities have restrictions on garage sales, dictating where you can advertise, when you can sell, and how long it can last. This serves to differentiate residents selling sporadically from merchants in residential areas.
- It's better to spend some time looking at these issues and pay a minimal fee than to risk losing a lot of money on fines.
Step 2. Consider the idea of having a collective garage sale
This means choosing a day for neighboring families to do their bazaars at the same time as you. Each participating home or family will attract its own buyers, who will eventually visit nearby garages. This type of event is usually much more profitable and efficient.
- Put your name on the tags or divide items by color if your pieces and your family's are mixed. That way, the cashier will know what was sold and who the money raised goes to.
- Inform your family members and the cashier which items are open for negotiation and which have fixed values, especially if the items are mixed.
Step 3. Decide the day and time of the bazaar
A two-day garage sale may be enough to eliminate inventory. The best weekends are during the summer. Choose a day when potential buyers will be out and about.
- Most yard sales start at 8:00 and last until late afternoon. Plan to stay an entire day, such as 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- Check the weather forecast and try to avoid rain, hail or very cold winds. It's easier for people to leave the house on hot days.
- Be careful when scheduling your sales on special dates and holidays, as many shoppers may have more important things to do than wander around looking for garage sales.
- Some streets and neighborhoods may have their own days for neighborhood bazaars. These are the best opportunities. These days everyone is in the region scouring the goods from all the points of sale. Keep an eye on the neighborhood newspaper and the community center.
- Avoid the days when there is maintenance on the main road leading to your home. This tends to drive away potential buyers from the region, who try to avoid it and are probably grumpy because of the traffic.
Step 4. Choose the place
Places are already selected if you're selling alone – your backyard, sidewalk, or open garage are the most obvious options.
If you're organizing a big sale or a charity bazaar, choose a place that is comfortable for customers to browse and that is easily accessible. Prefer places close to parking lots or parks
Step 5. Publicize the sale
You don't have to start too far in advance, although this can dramatically increase the flow of customers.
- Use the classifieds in the local newspaper, they may have different prices for businesses in the region. Ideally, the ad should be published two days before the event and be ready days before that.
- Advertise for free in local publications or supermarket bulletin boards and other businesses in the neighborhood. Spread the word around the community.
- Don't underestimate the internet. There are many websites that allow free ads.
- Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms. Invite everyone from your social network to share your items.
Step 6. make posters a few days before the sale.
Enter the date, time and place. Take the opportunity to list some items for sale if you have space.
- The words can be as simple as “Garage Sale: Saturday, 31st, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm – Rua Silva Melo, 1552” or “Family sells everything: Rua Silva Melo, 1552” next to an arrow indicating the direction.
- Include useful, fun and easy-to-read information for drivers and pedestrians. The words “Bazaar” or “garage sale” should be highlighted.
- Use bold colors and simple letters to get the important information across.
- Advertising and informational posters must be made with rigid materials. Glue several layers of cardboard and a paper with whatever you want to say on top so it's easy to stick and they don't bend in the wind.
Step 7. Spread posters around your neighborhood
Hang the posters a few days before the bazaar in easy-to-view places. Interesting places are public payphones, lamp posts, trees and bus stops. Do not do this in prohibited places.
- Display an advertisement at the entrance to your street and near your home.
- If you live near a main avenue, spread it out on public telephones or street signs near intersections. Traffic signs are particularly good.
- Check with the municipal government or condominium for the rules for publicizing the posters.
Part 3 of 5: Preparing the Garage Sale
Step 1. Arrange the place of sale
People interested in this type of business prefer to buy (and at higher prices, even) products that are well cared for by the former owners and the environment influences this perception. They will be more willing to stop and look at parts if the place is tidy and clean. Presentation is the lifeblood of the business.
- Mow the grass, sweep the leaves, and open spaces to display your wares if the bazaar takes place outdoors; if indoors, it should be well lit and clean, with no visible dust and cobwebs.
- Keep in mind the parking issue. Think about how you will allocate customer cars. On a busy street it can be difficult to park nearby. A good idea is to contact a nearby parking lot and establish some kind of agreement, or talk to neighbors about using their parking spaces temporarily. Reserving spaces in front of the venue may not be allowed, but it may also work – check with your local authority.
Step 2. Have plenty of displays
You can use the tables and shelves in your home to display merchandise or rent party tables if you don't have enough space.
- While customers see and buy products displayed on the floor, it's important to place small, delicate items on tables. This will prevent them from being kicked and broken and your customers will be able to inspect them more easily.
- write signs with the words It is not for sale for your home furniture to avoid mistakes. Another good measure is to use towels or blankets to cover and preserve it.
Step 3. Get a lot of change
Customers may not have the exact amount on hand and your ability to give change can be a differentiator in sales.
- Unless you have a lot of coins at home, go to the bank a day or two early to change the money. Make rolls of coins and keep small bills handy.
- The idea is to make change for many customers, so use a fanny pack or apron with a pocket. If possible, separate the bills from the coins and leave the large bills at home until needed. That way you won't run the risk of losing them and the damage will be less in a robbery.
- If you have an iPhone or iPad, use an app that allows you to accept card payments. In addition to being a professional touch, this can attract even more customers to burn cash and makes it easier to sell expensive items such as furniture, bicycles, musical instruments and antiques.
Step 4. Prepare everything the morning of the sale
Wake up early and buy time to prepare the bazaar area. The morning shift will take up most of your time with arranging items, organizing the parking lot, etc.
- Recruit close friends and family to help you on the big day.
- Do strategic planning the night before. You must know where the tables will be, the products, the value of each piece and where the money received will be kept. When your garage sale becomes popular you will have to start early, so set yourself up for success.
- Savvy bazaar shoppers tend to arrive before the advertised time so they can get a first-hand look at the most valuable items. Everything should be ready at most an hour or two before the announcement.
- Don't get everything ready the night before, even if you live in a safe neighborhood. You never know who walks the streets at night. This is even less suitable if sales take place outdoors, as the products can spoil or stain with morning dew.
- To avoid people arriving before everything is ready, put the posters around the neighborhood after the bazaar is set up and ready. Put the notices near your house last. Early risers (usually customers who intend to resell parts later) can get in the way and rush you while you're busy organizing things.
Step 5. The layout of the exhibited pieces should be inviting
Many potential customers will walk past them before they stop and actually shop, so set up the bazaar in a creative and organized way to get attention.
- Get the goods out of the boxes so people passing by can see them instead of a bunch of cardboard boxes.
- Place special objects (such as new parts, antiques, large tools, etc.) near the street to attract customers.
- Position the tables so that the products are well exposed, with space between each piece for customers to be able to manipulate them easily.
- Instead of piling up folded clothes on a table, hang them on a clothesline near the garage trees, get a macaw, or improvise something similar. This will make it easier to show and handle each piece and you won't have to refold them all the time.
- Helium balloons are an inexpensive way to draw attention to the bazaar. Hang them around tables or at the entrance.
Step 6. Offer something to drink
Use differentials such as serving water, tea, homemade bread and biscuits, etc.
- Having coffee and cookies around encourages shoppers to stay and buy more.
- People attract people. Potential buyers can walk straight through if there is no one inside the establishment.
Part 4 of 5: Making Sales
Step 1. Be an active seller
Conducting a garage sale is a lot like any other business. Awaken the salesperson in you!
- Welcome your customers with a friendly smile when they arrive.
- Ask buyers what you can do to help them. If they say "nothing", let them feel free to look at the products. You want people to feel comfortable in your bazaar and not harassed or pressured.
- Offer lots of products (anyone who wants to buy a blender can't pass up those frozen margarita cups, right?) and reward big buyers with good discounts. Don't expect your products to sell themselves.
Step 2. Get help
Invite family and friends and offer something in return to make customers feel safe. At the end of the day, do something special for those who help you, such as dinner or payment.
- Toilet breaks are easier with an assistant to take over the blinds. So you can take care of your needs and keep sales going smoothly.
- Never leave the bazaar unattended for more than a few seconds or leave it under the supervision of children.
Step 3. Keep merchandise organized at all times
The more you sell, the more things will be messed up and some might even break. The arrangement is fundamental in sales, keep an eye out and whim.
- Rearrange products while serving customers.
- Move products around as you sell them, putting the best ones ahead.
Step 4. Negotiate with the hagglers
Even if prices are on display, some people will try to bargain. Play together; this can be a pretty fun experience and you'll sell a lot more if you're willing to satisfy these dealers.
- Don't be afraid to turn down an offer, but consider them all with care. After all, you are trying to get rid of these things.
- Don't rush to lower prices. If you have come this far to organize an efficient bazaar, you will certainly be able to attract many buyers willing to pay the right price.
- As stated above, only trade third-party products with their permission. With that in mind, if a customer is unwilling to give in say “This is not my product, I'm selling it to a friend. I need to keep the value full for anyone.”
Step 5. Offer lightning offers
If you still have some items at the end of the day, make promotions. Here are some offer ideas you can make:
- When buying an "X", get a "Y".
- Discount for collections or sets.
- Three for two or five for three.
- Cut the values in half after a while.
Step 6. Stay open until the last time to wait for latecomers
You never know if that great buyer is trying to get there but can't because of the traffic.
- This applies if you have set a time such as “9:00 am to 3:00 pm” and even more if you have advertised the bazaar on the internet and in the newspaper. Customers can keep arriving until the last minute.
- Waiting to close after hours can yield great sales. Some late customers may even offer a black bill to take all remaining products, depending on what's left.
Step 7. Donate what you can't sell
Don't toss near-perfect or almost-new things that haven't been sold in the backyard – try to find someone who needs them.
- You can advertise the remaining objects on the internet or through posters.
- Ask your friends, family or neighbors if they are not interested in the items you plan to donate.
- Look for charities and thrift stores. Some of them will accept things that haven't been sold.
Step 8. Remove all posters when sales close
Try to get as much of them as possible to keep your neighborhood and community clean. Nobody likes to see old ads ruining around.
- Have a friend remove the posters while you organize things or close the latest sales.
- Everyone will know where you live if your address is on the posters and you leave them all over the neighborhood. Even worse, you may continue to receive customers from time to time, even after the bazaar closes.
Part 5 of 5: Taking care of security
Step 1. Keep an eye on customers
A garage sale attracts all kinds of people, including thieves.
- Keep your merchandise always in sight and avoid leaving a sale unattended for more than a few minutes.
- Ask friends and family to help take care of the place so someone will always be on the lookout for customers. The more eyes, the greater the chances of catching someone with their mouth in the jar.
- As long as people know you're watching, there's probably no fuss and if someone steals a small object a confrontation might not even be worth it. Use your judgment; if the thief is a neighbor's child, maybe you should confront him and tell the parents, but if he's an apparently dangerous rogue, it might be better to let him go without further hassle.
- When you suspect that someone has stolen something of value, approach it tactfully and call the police if necessary, but don't try to stop it yourself.
Step 2. Lock your home doors
During the bazaar, lock the doors and windows in your home, including the front doors, back doors, laundry area, side windows, etc.
- There may be a thief or thieves working in a group looking for 100% discounts on things inside your home.
- Crowds can distract you. It is very important that you and the goods are always visible.
Step 3. Pay attention to money
Anyone can come and steal the money you've raised, so someone will have to answer at all times. Another option is to keep the money in a fanny pack hidden under your clothes.
- Keep only a certain amount of cash in the box or with you. That way, if someone assaults you, the damage will be less.
- Buy a special pen to detect counterfeit bills when someone passes a $100 or $50.00 bill.
Step 4. Have a plan for the bathroom
The bigger your garage sale, the more time people will spend there and the more likely someone will need to use it.
- Some customers will certainly ask. You are under no obligation to let them into your home, but you can make exceptions for young children or the elderly.
- If someone really needs it, indicate the nearest public restroom.
- Have cardboard boxes available for those who buy a lot of things.
- Have an extension cord for customers to test electronic devices. You can sell them for even better prices if people can prove they work, and if they don't, don't sell them for that purpose.
- When setting prices, look at each piece critically and ask yourself how much you would pay for it.
- Bargains are very common at garage sales, so price all products at a value just above the stated minimum. For example, a toy you would sell for $1,00, put in $1,25 or $1.50.
- Get ready for customers who smoke or with dogs. If this really poses a risk, hand out “no smoking” signs, provide a place to tie up the dogs, and place an ashtray outside.
- A garage sale is an excellent reason to fix up your garage.
- Sometimes buyers try to get things for free. Imagine the scene: the customer arrives with a product that costs R$1.00 and delivers a R$100.00 bill to pay. What he hopes is that you don't have change – either he takes you all away or, to avoid frustration, you let him take the object for free. Your options are to ask him to change the money or have the change ready for these eventualities. Remember that there is always the possibility that a R$ 100.00 bill will be counterfeited, as opposed to the R$ 99.00 he ended up taking.
- Be prepared to move all things to a covered area in case of rain if the bazaar takes place outdoors. You can cover everything with canvas if you don't want to move them into the boxes again.
- Poles, payphones and facades are considered illegal places to advertise, as are the walls of your neighbors. Always check permission to post posters wherever you are. Be very careful as your address will be on them.
- Remember that every customer visiting your garage is a guest and you have legal and financial obligations to them if they are injured inside your home. Eliminate this possibility by keeping the place clean, organized and take precautions to prevent accidents, especially with children. Keep sharp, sharp objects out of their reach.