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Ten Rules for a Successful Garage Sale

I might stop and buy something at your garage sale ... if you follow these simple rules.

As weekends go, it was a pretty fun one, to be sure. After an excruciatingly LONG four day work week, Joe and I slept in Saturday morning, getting up at a leisurely 8:30 a.m. I think. I had the wrong glasses on. Into the living room we went to map out our garage saleing for the morning. Aside from a few promising prospects, there weren’t as many as normal; although there was one with eight homes on one street, though, and we were sure to score something there. 

We didn’t score anything there and in fact, there was one house where the clothes and various dirty household items were strewn about on rickety tables with no prices.

People, if you’re going to hold a garage sale, there are 10 rules. 

1) You’re trying to get rid of it, right? Price it that way. Otherwise you will be packing it all back up again. If it means that much to you, don’t sell it. 

2) Group like items together attractively. Make sure they’re clean and if electric, make sure they work. 

3) Put a price on your items. I cannot emphasize this enough. As someone who’s gone to enough garage sales in my lifetime, I tend to walk away from something if it doesn’t have a price on it.  

4) Signs. There can never, ever be enough signs to gently guide me, the garage-saler, to the exact location of your garage sale. After all, if you’ve gone through all the trouble to have a garage sale, let people know where it is. 

5) And if you advertise a garage sale, then hold a garage sale. We have searched high and low for a particular sale because of what was promised in the ad, only to find a closed garage door. It wasn’t pretty. 

6) When said sale is advertised, please don’t just say “too much to mention.” Give us poor, coffee-swilling, diehard garage sale fans some idea of what you are selling. My idea of miscellaneous is household/clothing/glassware. Yours might be quilt blocks, pictures of cats, baskets and embroidered toilet tissue (For Decorative Use Only). Neither one of us would be happy, right? Right. 

7) Having a cooler of water/soda or a lemonade stand on a hot, hot day is a stellar idea. Just don’t charge more for the drinks than you do for items on the table. And if you are charging more, they have better have liquor in them. 

8) Have a “free” box and put something in it. 

9) If you have colorful children’s items, line them up and down the driveway. It catches our jaded garage-saler’s eye and makes us more apt to stop and browse. 

10) It never hurts to have friendly people manning your garage sale. Throw on the radio. Turn on a fan for circulation in a hot garage. It does make a difference in your garage sale ambience.  

Yesterday on our Saturday “hunt” we found: a cool Schlitz sign, a unique square plate, a bag of pretty headbands and a ceramic heart decoration. 

We also, despite our complete zig- zagging around Rockford, found that we came across the same husband/wife couple at three consecutive garage sales.  When we saw them the last time, I mentioned that we weren’t going to map out garage sales next week; we’d just follow them around. The wife responded by grabbing up all of the cool dog toys that I didn’t see. The husband retorted that we’d have to be willing to go to breakfast first and pay the bill in exchange for their knowledge and expertise.  

We laughed. As the husband passed my husband on the way to the truck, he told Joe that he and his wife were going to do a little tweaking to their garage sale schedule so that he could, and I quote, “see if he could shake us.” 

He probably just didn’t want us to get at all the embroidered toilet tissue. 

Game on. See you next Saturday.

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Plainfield Ind July 13, 2012 at 02:22 PM
4 - Keep all the signs out of the public right of way. Signs are not allowed by Village ordinance in the medians, on light poles, and in any of the public right of ways.
Denise Williams July 13, 2012 at 03:08 PM
"Garage-saler", I love it and completely understand it as I too, used to be an addict. It is a hobby I don't indulge in much anymore, except when I am looking for something, or for something to do. I agree with the idea of pricing everything, at least by table or area, but I no longer always dicker for prices. When I pull up to a sale and there is a "For Sale" sign in front of the house, my first thought is that anyone trying to sell a house in this market is probably not doing it out of choice. In those cases things are not being sold to just get rid of them, as I've seen happen with too many people in town...they are selling things because they are desparate for the money. If I get that sense, I look harder for something I could use (or my husband won't object too much to) and pay whatever they're asking, if I can. The fact that I am there and able to buy means I'm probably better off than they are, and I figure I'm helping out another family.
Christine Cacciatore July 13, 2012 at 08:37 PM
well said.
Jacki McHale July 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Love the list! I grew up with G.S. on our Friday and Saturday calendars all summer long! This list was a reminder to me, thank you! And Happy GS-ing!
Christine Cacciatore July 18, 2012 at 11:00 PM
we have found some pretty cool stuff this year, including some brand new halloween stuff...which, of course, is my favorite holiday... http://poopwafoley.blogspot.com/2011/11/halloween-how-i-love-thee.html

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