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June 2004

Have a garage sale: It makes cents

Garage sales are the perfect way to exchange a gold mine of junk and unappreciated possessions into a fistful of dollars. While you’re getting rid of ‘stuff,’ you will be the source of inexpensive treasures for garage sale shoppers.

You don't necessarily need a garage to hold a garage sale, but you do need to know the secrets of success. Some careful planning will assure you of a prosperous sale.

First, consider your location. If you're too far off the beaten track, you might like to ask a friend if you can hold the sale in their yard.

Choosing the date and hours for your sale should be easy. Naturally, a weekend day would be the best and the morning (not too early though) and afternoon the best hours.

Some tips on getting the most from your garage sale:

Point people in the right direction

Advertise in your local community newspaper and in the largest daily newspaper in your area. Also, post signs on lawns of nearby residents – with their permission, of course. Make your signs on large, heavy pieces of cardboard and use big dark letters. The sign must be readable to people driving by at 50 km/h. Always make sure to remove signs after the sale.

Clean everything

Remove dust, cobwebs and dirt from your sale items. Shiny, spotless treasures will keep shoppers looking and buying.

Price it right

Garage sale shoppers look for bargains. Keep prices low. Expect to haggle. Tag every item with a price. It will be worth the effort. Have a box marked “free” and fill it with items you want to get rid of which you think no-one will pay for.

Feed your shoppers

Make muffins or cookies and sell them at your garage sale. If you have children have them set up a lemonade stand – especially good on a warm summer day.

Accept helping hands

Extra hands are essential at your garage sale. Helping shoppers, keeping track of items and keeping your tables tidy can be impossible for just one person.

Be a banker

Be prepared to give your customers change by having coins and small bills on hand.

Safety first

Safeguard your money. Keep all money in a fanny pack worn by you or someone you trust. Thieves are everywhere and a garage sale is not safe from the threat. Also, some shoppers may ask to use your phone or washroom. It is okay to refuse these requests. Instead you can direct people to the nearest public washroom or service station.

Keep smiling

A happy, enthusiastic and smiling seller makes buyers feel good. Prepare to be ‘on’ during your sale.

After your sale, you might like to donate any leftovers to a local charity. Or you can always save the leftovers for your next sale.

Garage sales are a lot of fun. Plan yours properly and you'll be assured of a good time and a successful sale.