How To Throw a Garage Sale
By Chris Balicki
Thinking of turning your clutter into extra cash? Here's a primer on holding a garage sale.
- Check out applicable bylaws and regulations. Some residents are only allowed to hold two garage sales a year on their property. If you're planning a two-day weekend sale, that's it for the year. Condo rules and apartment leases may restrict or prohibit sales.
- Get everyone involved. Multi-generation and neighbourhood sales are fun -- and profitable since they tend to draw larger crowds.
- Get the word out. Use paid and free advertising --the Internet, bulletin boards at coffee shops or supermarkets and street signs. Emphasize big-ticket items. Mention tools and men will come running.
- Be prepared. Spend a few evenings cleaning and pricing items. Stock up on sawhorses, plywood, shelving, tables, hangers and bags. Your first customers will arrive straight from the ATM which only dispenses $20 bills. Have a supply of change handy.
- Safety first. Sports equipment and children's gear are popular, but must have a Canadian Standards Association label. Canada Safety Council does not recommend buying or selling used car seats.
- Price it right. Ask yourself what you'd be prepared to pay. Fine art and heirlooms aside (these shouldn't be sold at garage sales anyway), items typically sell for 10 to 20 per cent of their asking price. Items that are new or hardly used, still in the original containers with price tags attached, might garner more. Start a "free" box for miscellaneous stuff.
- Expect shoppers to haggle. Dickering at day's end when you're tired and fretting about what to do with the leftover stuff is easier than bargaining with crack-of-dawners. Worried you won't get a better price? Tell the buyer you'll accept his/her low-ball offer if the item is still unsold at say, noon.
- Display like with like. Group related articles -- tools, kitchenware, clothes, toys -- together. Cordon off articles not for sale; your new mower might attract bargain hunters, but you'll soon tire of saying, "It's not for sale."
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