What is a garage sale?
A garage sale can be categorized as an informal sale for used and unused goods by a household. One does not require a business license to hold these sales. Garage sales have been a popular way to de-clutter in the West for a while now. And, they mostly occur when a family is about to move houses or if they are spring cleaning. This allows them to clear out their baggage and earn some extra money while doing so. To Indian’s the idea of a garage sale is a novel concept; we hoard for the future or donate/get rid of some items.
Hosting swap-a-thons and garage sales should be the way forward; especially if the hope is to build a more sustainable future. How is this sustainable you ask? Whatever you discard won’t end up in landfill. It will be of use to someone else who is need of a bargain purchase. Another, option is to make donations to orphanages or NGO’s in need. But we are here to shed light on garage sales, so scroll on for more.
Here’s a look at some of the best ways to go about hosting a garage sale:
1) Gather the items for your garage sale:
It is hard to part with items we’ve had for many years, we might even have sentimental attachment to some of them. But you haven’t worn/used an item in the last one year; it is likely that you aren’t going to miss it very much. You can sell anything from electronics, to household items to clothes. Even try to sell things that you can’t imagine people buying. Really de-clutter as thought your life depended on it.
2) Make an inventory:
This is especially important because sometimes price tags can get lost at a garage sale. Especially since there isn’t a real sophisticated way of tagging them like in stores. It would be quite hard to come up with a fair price on the spot because one might be in the middle of a sale or answering questions. Having a list can also help you keep track of items and thieves. Plus, it will help you stay organised through the day.
3) Pricing of your items:
Remember your ultimate goal when pricing items. You want to get rid of them and you wouldn’t want them to find a way back into your home. Price knickknacks at the lowest rate possible; so you can get rid of them easily. The general rule is 50-30-10 new but unused items get priced at 50% of the retail cost, slightly used items at 30% of their original price and used items at 10%. You can offer a Buy 1 Get 1 Free, have a large basket on the side with clothes that aren’t in best condition to sell but can be used for other things.
This allows the buyer to choose the free item they like. You could also offer bargain deals like 5 items for x amount because they are on the hunt for the best deal. Make sure your prices are highlighted on first sight. It would be best practice to offer a GooglePay or Paytm option to help speed things along. Or in the event where the person is short of money.
4) Make sure to take care of any restrictions before going ahead with any plan:
Let’s be honest we don’t have a backyard to host a garage sale in India. Partner up with a location or host one at your home if you have the same and don’t mind the footfall. If you are partnering up with a space, you might need to pay them a certain fee. Make sure you get all kinds of clarity before you begin the planning process. If your building or locality is cool enough you could also host it there and give a percentage of the profit towards building maintenance. Take some time and do your research, you don’t want to rack bills by paying fines and dealing with some very disgruntled Indians.
5) Set the time and date for your garage sale:
A two day garage sale should be more than enough to sell your items; the best days to host them would be over the weekends. This is when most people usually aren’t working and venture out to run their errands etc. Start at a reasonable time 11am to 8pm should be enough time. Just make sure that you aren’t hosting a sale on any festival or religious holiday. It is only natural that most people would be indisposed on those days.
6) Promote your garage sale effectively:
This is important because this is how you will draw in the crowds. You could put out an ad in a newspaper. For e.g., if your sale is on Saturday, makes sure it’s out in the newspaper by Thursday or Friday latest. Make sure you leverage social media, put out posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. Mass message your contact list and ask them to spread the word. Make a digital creative for them to share and tag you. Ask your friends and family to help spread the good word. Please don’t waste any paper and money by printing out any flyers. Write to publications and ask them support your sale and see if they might share a post to their platforms.
7) Prepare for your garage sale:
Tidy up your space, if it is in your home. A customer is more likely to make a purchase if the space smells good and looks clean. Set out a plate of cookies, some refreshments and light some scented candles. Add a little bit of green with plants, it will spruce your space right up. Make sure you have enough table space to place all the household items you wish to sell. You will need clothing racks if you are selling clothes. Pick only your highest quality and nicest items to sell. Shopping fatigue is real and you could overwhelm people by putting out too many items on the first day. Also, have a place for people to try out clothes.
Make sure that you clean your items thoroughly before you put them up on display. You also want to wash and steam clothes before you sell them. Also, make sure you have extra bags handy or DIY bags out of scrap paper. Make sure to keep enough change. Have a game plan in place a day before and enlist the help of your friends and family. If your location is anything apart from your home; be prepared to show up 3-4 hours before opening time depending on how much you need to set up.
8) Ensure smooth running of your garage sale:
Make sure to greet customers when they arrive. Ask them if they would like any help but don’t hound or follow them around. You want them to feel comfortable enough to simply just browse and walk away without a purchase. Make smart conversation, for e.g. if someone is buying a dinner set, ask them if they would like a cutlery set along with that purchase with an offer. Extra helping hands is always beneficial, makes bathroom breaks easier. As the day progresses, things will get messy, continue to keep straightening things out.
You will meet people who will try to haggle even though prices are clearly mentioned. Decline if you feel but definitely do not drop prices too early in the day. If you notice that some items are just not flying off the shelves, drop the price, offer bulk discounts etc. Donate what you cannot sell.
Important things to keep in mind when hosting a garage sale:
A garage sale will bring all kinds of people, including people who will shoplift.
- Keep your items in plain sight and don’t leave the sale unattended for more than a few minutes.
- Only keep a small amount of money in your cash box or better yet get yourself a fanny pack.
- Have a contingency plan in place for people who need to use a washroom.
I would get together with a bunch of friends and pool in all the clothes we’ve ever purchased on a whim and host a garage sale. Hope you become inspired by this and slowly make steps towards a more sustainable journey.
What do you think is the best way to go about hosting a garage sale? Let me know in the comments below.
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