GARAGE SALE TIPS:
BEST PRACTICES FOR A SUCCESSFUL GARAGE SALE IN BEDMINSTER HILLS AND BASKING RIDGE
The sun is finally out and warmer weather is upon us. If you live in Bedminster Hills or Basking Ridge, you know that this is primo garage sale/ yard sale/ rummage sale time. Drive around Bedminster Hills during any sunny weekend and you’ll come across numerous YARD SALE or GARAGE SALE signs.
You might have thought of having your own garage sale in the Hills this summer. But how do you make sure it’s successful?
Here at Hills List, we thought it would be helpful to share our top tips for a successful garage sale in the Hills.
If you’re planning a garage sale this summer, these are some “garage sale tips” to help you. Keep these steps in mind as you plan and, hopefully, your garage sale will be a huge success! Happy Selling!
2-3 WEEKS OUT: PREPARATION IS KEY!
A couple of weeks before your garage sale, start thinking about what you want to sell. Look through your stuff and keep a list of items. If you have room, put some of the things aside. Instead of thinking “I might need that someday”, think about how great it will be to turn the item into cash!
Remember that the more (cool) stuff you have at your garage sale – especially if it’s in Bedminster Hills or Basking Ridge – the better! More stuff will attract more passers-by, which will attract even more. And, the longer a person is at your garage sale, the higher the odds they will buy something (especially if other people seem interested in the same thing).
If you can, talk to your neighbors and friends. Think about either having several sales that day, or having one BIG sale using the biggest lawn.
THERE ARE ADVANTAGES TO COMBINING YOUR EFFORTS:
* You’ll have more things to attract people. For example, if someone is selling a car, that will surely attract more people.
* You can delegate some of the advertising responsibilities.
* You can share the costs of advertising in the paper, of refreshments, and of other materials, like signs.
As you get closer to the garage sale date, start pricing your items. Keep track of each item (and its price) by category (kitchen utensils, sporting, clothing, lawn items. If you have some higher price items, consider jotting down an “asking price” (what you’d like for it), and a “bottom line price” (the lowest price you’ll accept). This will help you (and anyone who’s handling sales) on the day of your garage sale, which will be very busy. And don’t show the pricing sheet to shoppers! To learn more, see the section on Pricing below.
1-2 WEEKS OUT: ADVERTISE YOUR GAEAGE SALE!
If you do no advertising at all – if all you do is set up your garage sale and wait – you’ll still get some people at your sale. If the weather is nice, people are going to be out and about and some are bound to pass by your yard sale. Some might even stop by.
However, you can be just as sure that other garage sales that day – that were better planned for – will attract much bigger crowds. So here are some helpful tips to help you promote your next garage sale in the Hills.
WORD-OF-MOUTH: Word-of-mouth is your friend. Don’t be shy! Tell your friends, family, and colleagues about your garage sale. Tell people about the great items you’ll have for sale. Spread the word and ask them to do the same.
FREE ONLINE ADS & LISTINGS: Post your garage sale on every free listing website. Here are some links for FREE online advertising for your garage sale:
* Hills List: Remember, our site is devoted to the Hills at Bedminster and Basking Ridge. We’ll be happy to list your garage sale on our Community Calendar page.
* Yard Sale Lead
* Garage Sale Tracker
* Weekend Treasure
PAID ADS: If you’re sharing the cost with neighbors, you might consider placing a garage sale ad in some of the following:
* Local Papers: There are some smaller local publications that may charge less than the big ones, but may reach fewer people.
* Larger Papers: There are several larger papers that serve the Bedminster and Basking Ridge areas as well. NJ.com is a good source, since it’s the online location for the following papers: Horse News, Hunterdon Democrat, Independent Press, Jersey Journal, NJ.com, Somerset Reporter, South Jersey Newspapers, Suburban News, The Express Times, The Star Ledger, The Times of Trenton and Warren County Reporter.
* Paid Websites: Again, nj.com might be the best option in the Bedminster/ Basking Ridge area since it reaches so many people.
Signs: You need signs, no question. You’ll definitely want directional signs. If you’re hand writing the signs, make sure the wording is LARGE AND BOLD AND NEAT. And don’t forget a wooden post, an H-frame, or whatever you’re using to hold up the signs.
THIS IS ALL YOU NEED ON A GOOD GARAGE SALE SIGN:
* The words “Garage Sale” or “Yard Sale”
* The date(s) of the sale, or the words “Today!”
* The street name
* A large arrow --> pointing the way to your garage sale (unless the sign is shaped like an arrow)
You can buy the standard garage sale sign at Wal-Mart/ Home Depot and many other stores. These will cost you between $1.00 and $3.00 each, depending on the size of the sign.
* If you want to design your own signs or choose a template, check out Vista Print (under Business --> Marketing & Signage --> Lawn Signs) (also no affiliation with Hills List). Vista Print often has some great sales, like 50% off signs.
WEEK OF THE GARAGE SALE:
Now is when you should consider some of the finer details of a great garage sale. Think about what you, as a shopper, would love to see at a garage sale in the Hills.
Since most garage sales are going to be on a sunny weekend, consider having something for people to drink. If you put out a small cooler or pitcher of water – great!
If you’re feeling fancy, you might even provide bottled water or a coffee jug and munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. Just remember that the goal is to make money and get rid of things, not to spend money on a neighborhood gathering… Although having some hand sanitizer might be a nice touch.
If you’re feeling entrepreneurial, you can have a cooler full of (COLD) sodas and sell them for $0.50. Sure, you’ll make a little money on the sodas, but you’ll also make it easier for people to stay out in the sun a little longer – and the longer they stay, the more likely they are to buy (and attract others).
ITEMS FOR SALE:
* Make sure your items are laid out by category.
* Make sure you have a complete list of each items on a pricing sheet.
* If possible, attach price tags to each item. Larger items, like furniture, should have larger, easy to read price tags. High-priced items might even have a short description.
* See more on Pricing below...
KIDS, KIDS, KIDS
What to do with the kids? Well, that depends on their age.
HERE ARE TWO OPTIONS:
* Lemonade stand: If they’re old enough and understand the concept of hygiene, they might want to man a lemonade stand. It might also be a good way for you to get change for the garage sale. You’ll need an extra table and chairs, a pack of disposable cups, napkins, a trash can, a couple of pitchers, some lemonade mix with water, and ice (a couple of large lemon halves in the pitcher can’t hurt either). Remember, the cleaner and neater looking, the better.
* Toy sale: If you have more kids or if you prefer they didn’t get involved with the potential mess of a lemonade stand, consider having them set up and “man” their own table. They can sell some of their older toys (to make room for the new ones, of course). This is a great way for them to get some (supervised) “real world” experience with money. Definitely help them set the pricing before hand, in case they’re not already master negotiators.
NIGHT BEFORE THE GARAGE SALE:
GARAGE SALE SIGNS!
Whether you bought them at the store or ordered them online, you should already have your signs (if not, head to Wal-Mart). Make sure your signs are clearly marked.
It’s a good idea to either put up your signs late the night before your garage sale, or very early the morning of your sale. It’s easier to do with less traffic.
When placing your signs, make sure they’re angled in a way that makes them easy to read without stopping. Obviously, placing them at a stop sign is optimal. But you should also place them at each turn.
When you’re done, drive past your signs and make sure you can read them. Also, make sure you covered all the routes to your garage sale.
FYI – Make sure you have enough cash and change on hand…
DAY OF THE GARAGE SALE:
You should be well-prepared for a successful garage sale. Setting up is the next step.
HERE ARE SOME LAST MINUTE TIPS:
* Parking: If you live in the Hills, you know that parking is limited. If possible, move your own cars to make room for shoppers.
* Grocery bags: Have some available for shoppers (no, don’t sell them!)
* Cheapo hangers: Use these for clothing, as opposed to nice hangers which shoppers may want to keep.
* Newspaper: Have some to help people wrap breakables.
* Extension cord: Have one in place, in case someone wants to check if an appliance works
* “All Sales Final”: Have a few signs up to avoid headaches.
* Pricing sheet: Give a copy to each “seller”. Make sure to cross out each item as you sell it.
* Music: Consider having some mellow background music to help with the “ambiance”. Keep the volume to a just-audible level.
AFTER THE GARAGE SALE
The most important thing (besides counting your earnings that is) of course, is to remember to TAKE DOWN YOUR SIGNS and LEAVE THE SIGN AREA LOOKING LIKE THERE WERE NEVER ANY SIGN THERE. After all, no one wants to be the “annoying garage sale person who doesn’t clean up”.
PRICING FOR A SUCCESSFUL GARAGE SALE
Your pricing strategy will determine how attractive each item is as well as how negotiable. Here are some tips on...
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST MONEY WITH YOUR ITEMS:
* Make sure your items are clearly priced. For example, it’s better to have the price be visible, rather than on the bottom of an item. This will prevent people from constantly asking you for the price.
* If you have the original packaging, use it for your garage sale! You might be able to charge a little more.
* If you’re selling CDs/ DVDs, books, make sure they are easily browse-able. Titles should be easy to read. Make the items look well taken care of.
* Make sure your yard sale items are as attractive as they can be. Inflate the balls, plug in the appliances (extension cord), include (cheap) batteries where necessary. Prove that your stuff works!
* Nicer/ Newer items: If an item is “in style” or pretty new, find it online, print out the description with the retail price, and attach it to the item, showing your “significant discount”.
HOW TO PRICE GARAGE SALE ITEMS:
* For certain items, ask yourself and others what a reasonable price may be. As a general rule, most people price items at about a third (or less) of the original cost
* Clothing usually sells for much less (if at all) and may be better off donated (as long as you have a tax receipt). However, children's clothing may be more in demand, especially in and around Bedminster Hills!
* Keep in mind how keen you are to get rid of items. If you have a ton of something or if there are items you just want gone, that should affect your pricing.
* For simplicity, you might want to price a whole section of items similarly. For example, you can have a “$0.50 table/ section/ box”, a “$1.00 table” and so on.
* You can also offer quantity discounts, such as “1 for $1.00, 5 for $4.00”
* For additional simplicity, stick to easy pricing ($0.25/ $0.50/ $0.75/ $1.00)
* Remember to keep a calculator around.