Friday, August 16, 2013

Throwing a Garage Sale? Some Tips from Your Shoppers!

I thought I'd make tonight's post a bit lighthearted as my Grass-Fed Beef post has generated quite the stir! I love me some debate ;)

I took the day off from work and decided to hit some garage sales today with my oldest baby girl. She starts school again soon and ever since her sister came along, she's been getting the third-string version of my attention. She jumped at the chance to be with Mommy. Alone. In the car. Without a whiny baby sister (my words...she only refers to her baby sister as "oh-so-cute!").

We didn't do the whole "plan your route" thing. We didn't even check Craig's List first. No way, nope. We were rebels. We literally jumped in the car and headed out. Luckily, this method still works. We looked for signs on our way home from the ATM and ended up garage sale shopping for a little over two hours. We hit up six sales, each in different areas and each with a completely different feel.

I scored some sweet finds! More importantly, I came back with a list of things I would and would not do when I held my own garage sale. Now I'm no expert, but I've shopped around a bit and know without a doubt what will send me running to my car...... to either grab my wallet or drive far, far away.

Jen's Top Five Wallet-Grabbin' Tips

5. Make your signs super bright and plentiful!
House for Sale, House for Rent, and Garage Sale ...... they can all be white with red lettering! Live on the edge and get some bright, easy-to-spot paper. It may not be as "professional" as the standard printed sign, but it will attract my attention right away...especially when I'm going 50mph down a busy road. Also, put your signs all over! We followed a string of bright pink signs for miles just to see if the sale was "HUGE" as the sign indicated.

4. Provide parking and some subtle traffic directions!
Now I realize some of you don't have the option of increasing curbside availability, but if at all possible, designate your preferred area with tape and/or signs! At one sale location, we saw at least four cars complete a three-point-turn just to get out...when lo and behold, the street ended in a comfortable cul-de-sac just three houses down. Had the sellers been so kind as to inform people of this marketable convenience, they would've likely had a lot less traffic and confusion around their sale. Now on the flipside, this really happened today:
Parking Pastures rule!
3. Don't set up your garage sale like a flea market!
Remember the pink sign we followed for miles? Well, it led to this:
No big deal, it was the garage sale of all garage sales! The signs weren't lying! It was like garage sale heaven....until I actually saw what they were selling. Piles Claire's jewelry, Avon items, Halloween costumes in the dozens (and multiple packages of the same costume), and fourteen containers of packaged all felt....well.....wrong. The prices were higher than what I was willing to pay and multiple quantities of the same item makes me feel like I'm in a dollar store. I don't go to garage sales to get dollar-store items, I go to garage sales to find those "hidden gems." At this place, I felt like I was getting a bit scammed...almost wondering how much they paid just to sell it back to me and make a profit? The only exceptions were the property owner's tables. He'd owned the farm for years and had an overwhelming amount of tools and farm-related equipment and trinkets for sale. I ended up purchasing something from his side of the sale...but the rest? No, thank you! Don't sacrifice quality for quantity, people!

2. No moody teens!
I drove up, saw a group of little kids and teenaged girl with her butt hangin' out, and left. If you aren't willing to stay at your own sale, why should I?

1. Be nice!
You would think this is a given...but shockingly, only half the sellers we visited today were kind, welcoming people. One woman wouldn't get off her phone long enough to even so much as look our way when we walked up. Another kept trying to push me into purchasing something I really didn't want. Guess who didn't get my money? :) I don't want to be sold, I want to be free to browse and enjoy without pressure and rudeness.

I'm sure my list will change the day I decide to hold my own sale, but I'm hoping I stay somewhat true to these simple, common-sense methods. Overall, it was a great day with my favorite big girl...and that's all we can ask for, is it not? :) HAPPY FRIDAY!


  1. Sounds like a wonderful day!! I am sure she was super excited for a Mommy day. I agree on your points. You have to be nice. You have to really care about your stuff and you have to have unique items. My garage sale the roosters when first. So have lots of rooster items.

    1. Yes! The farm we went to had a TON of rooster stuff...had it been more affordably-priced, I would've nabbed some of it! Thanks for reading :)