By Guest Blogger Carol Anne Sowell

In my CBBM (Career Before Becoming Mom), I planned all types of events, from small intimate gatherings to college football game fan festivals – and various-sized events in between. So, when I decided to hold my first garage sale earlier this spring, I felt I was up for the job.

I asked my husband and our two teenagers to mark their calendars for the last weekend in March. This was going to be a family affair and I had hoped the kids would learn valuable life skills from hosting this event, such as customer service, handling money, and dialogue with strangers.

While preparing for the sale, I came across a lot of helpful information including suggestions on advertising, pricing, and the money apron.

Advertising – Make sure to advertise in the local newspaper along with social media and, of course, signs in your neighborhood. This will help you reach all demographics.

Consider including only your street name on neighborhood signs dispersed the week prior to your event. By doing this, you will avoid customers dropping by your house days in advance to inquire about potential items in the sale. (Newspaper ads and social media posts the day before and the day of the sale should include your complete address.)

Pricing – Patrons of garage sales do not pay retail – or even consignment store – prices. For your items to move on to someone else’s home, price them accordingly. I am talking $5 or less, as a general rule, for everyday items. If this sounds too low, do not forget to consider the added value of you not having to haul your items somewhere after the sale.

Money Apron – Having your money on your body gives you freedom of movement and keeps your cash secure. This is especially helpful when the reliable early birds arrive as you are setting up in the early morning hours.

Here are some additional tips I learned from our sale:

Obvious Location Marker – Balloons, beach umbrella, or some other bright tall object in the front yard will help customers find your location. Since I did not include our house number (only the name of our street) on the neighborhood signs, folks were able to find our sale by the beach umbrella we set up.

Park in Front – Park your car on the street in front of your house. Throughout the day of our sale, people would slowly drive by the house, seemingly to “scope out the joint”. Having a car parked in front of the house gave the appearance that there was always a customer at our sale, thus worthy of a stop.

Free Stuff Bin – For the items that were of very little value, we included them in a “free stuff” bin. Used items in the bin such as sports equipment, faux wooden blinds, and random garden tools, were seen as added value by our customers and went very quickly.

Closing Time – End the garage sale early enough to be able to load everything up in your car and take it to your charity drop off that day. The satisfaction and freedom you will experience after getting your previous possessions out of your house will be exhilarating.

At the end of the day, we met our main goals for having the garage sale . . . getting rid of unwanted stuff and making a little extra money. But, maybe even more importantly, during a year when we became accustomed to the practice of social distancing, our family garage sale allowed us to brush up on the fundamental life skill of face-to-face visiting with members of our community.

Feel free to share your garage sale tips in the comments below.

*Guest Blogger Carol Anne Sowell is a local home decorator, organizer, stager.

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