4.24.2014

BFBN: garage sales are my spring cleaning


Today, our Babywise Network is talking about spring cleaning.  (If you're just now tuning in - every month we pick a topic, write about it, and pin the "tips and tricks" to our Pinterest board.  We'd love for you to follow us!)

I've never been a huge "spring cleaning" person.  I mean, I definitely get the itch to clean when spring arrives, but it's not like I wipe down every baseboard in the house.  For me, spring cleaning has always been more of a spring de-cluttering.  I want my house to feel lighter.  And what better way to get rid of things than have a garage sale?

Several weeks ago, I hosted one with some of my friends.  This was the easiest garage sale I've ever put on.  I think I've figured out some pretty efficient ways to do things so setting up, running it, and tearing down are all smooth processes.  So for those of you that desire more of a de-cluttering kind of cleaning this spring season, here are a few tips on how to put on a no-stress garage sale.

GET A PERMIT

I'm a rule follower so this is naturally the first bullet point.  I have no idea how it works in other states, but here in OKC, you need a garage sale permit.  It's easy - just go to this website and pay $7 for the permit.

IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

Any money you earn is money you didn't have before.  Don't feel bad if you wanted $500 and ended up with $200.  That's still something!  A couple of weeks ago, I threw some small things in another friend's garage sale that were taking up space in our home.  Want to know how much I made?  $4.75.  That's $4.75 more in our snow cone fund and that is worth it.

FORGET ABOUT THE PRICE TAG

In other words, don't individually price each item.  It really is such a waste of time.  Sneaky people will move stickers around and a lot of people will ask to pay less than what you have written anyway.  Just avoid the mess and come up with some general prices for the majority of the items that you have.  Worry about individually pricing bigger items like TVs, tables, refrigerators, lamps, etc.  This is how we priced things for our most recent garage sale:

Prices (unless otherwise marked or specified)

baby clothes/items .50
tanks/camis $1
t-shirts $1
tops $2
shorts/skirts $2
pants/jeans $3
jackets/coats/dresses $3
shoes $2
dishes .50
frames .50
books $1

Just stick several signs up with your prices and you're good to go.  (I know it may seem silly to put "unless otherwise marked or specified," but that gives you the freedom to change your mind.  There are some weirdies out there, so you gotta cover your bases.)

I SEE YOUR TRUE COLORS

If you happen to be combining with other friends for your garage sale, you'll need to have a way of separating what items belong to each person.  It's easiest to do this with colored stickers.  Everyone is assigned a color and every item's color dictates who gets the money.  But remember, don't individually price.  Just slap the colored stickers on your items.

NICKELS AND DIMES, YOURS AND MINE, DID YOU CASH IN ALL YOUR DREAMS?

This is very important and will make your life so much easier.  Do everything in increments of .25 cents.  In other words, everything needs to be divisible by .25.  In other words, don't price things at a .05 or .10 cents.  That's just silly and creates extra work for you.

DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE A PLASTIC BAG?

You need a place to keep your monies and as you could probably guess, a plastic bag is a terrible idea.  I recommend a small bag that zips up before using a cash box simply because you may need to be up and walking around at some point.

WE COULD ALL USE A LITTLE CHANGE

In my experience, if you get $200 out to start with in these specific bills, you'll have more than enough.  You can break it down this way:

10 $10s
12 $5s
20 $1s
2 rolls of .25

I SAW THE SIGN

If you're expecting to have people magically show up to your driveway on the morning of your garage sale without any signs, you're probably going to fail.  Invest in some signs and keep them around for future sales.  Stick them at major entrances to your neighborhood (put your address on those) and then lead people to your house (put arrows on those). 

I'M GONNA GET IN TROUBLE, I WANNA START A FIGHT

What's your goal here?  Are you trying to make millions or are you trying to get rid of stuff and make a little money along the way?  Probably the latter.  And if it's the former, you may need to reevaluate if a garage sale is the avenue you want to take.  It's okay to have a few items that you really want to make $XX.XX on, but for most everything else, be chill and let the people talk you down a bit. 

GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY NOW

After the garage sale is over, have a plan.  What are you going to do with your stuff?  You could box it up and take it to Goodwill or somewhere else that accepts donations.  Or you could box it up and arrange for someone to immediately come and take it away.  Either way, I say - get rid of it.  Storing it so you can pull it out for your next garage sale isn't efficient or beneficial for anyone involved. 

I hope this was helpful for some of you newbie garage sale folks.  And if not, I hope you enjoyed guessing all of the songs that the lyrics belong to.  Did anyone get all of them?

Any other garage sale fanatics out there with some helpful tips?

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