Recently we have had multiple calls from clients with garage doors that won’t shut. Their remotes suddenly stop working too. Nearly 100% of the time this is due to something with the safety sensors. Either something is blocking the safety sensors, or the sensors themselves have been bumped and are out of line. We are in and out of our garages much more frequently during the summer – getting out bikes, lawn mowers, toys and yard items – and in the process end up disturbing the safety sensors. It’s frustrating for clients to have to pay a service call for such a quick fix when the problem can be easily avoided if we would just keep our garages cleaner and more organized. One of the best ways to do this is to have a summer garage sale or yard sale. De-cluttering our garages might seem like a big task but with a few great garage sale tips you can have a successful garage sale over the weekend and end up with a clean, organized garage for the rest of the year!
9 Great Garage Sale Tips
1) CHOOSE A DATE and LOCATION – Begin by choosing a date for the sale. Check weather reports to make sure it won’t be rainy or windy. If you are having a multi-family sale, be sure to choose a date where everyone involved can be there to help. It’s not a one person job. If you are doing your own garage sale and have small children, make sure you have a babysitter lined up to help out so you don’t have to leave to take a child to the bathroom or deal with other parental situations! Location is very important. If you live in a hard-to-find area consider moving it to a more high-traffic area. Your sale needs to be visible if you want to have success.
2) PREPARE – Gather boxes and bins to organize. Get plenty of tables for items, a table and chair for the cashier, a money box, a ledger to keep track of money and what was sold, especially if it is a multi-family sale. Buy pricing stickers and pens and also safety pins to put pricing on clothing if stickers won’t stick. Also foam board and clear contact paper. Most of these items can be purchased at your local dollar store. We also borrowed clothing racks from a local store so we could hang up the nice clothing.
3) SORT AND ORGANIZE – Next go through the items in your garage. Quickly sort them into piles. Put them in the boxes and bins as you go. I also put them in piles on my tables just to get them out of the way for the time being. You can organize them later. Bring out any items from the house and sort them in a like fashion. You want everything all together so you can see what you have. Once you have everything out that you want to sell, organize it all. For example: all books together, glassware, crafts, toys, baby clothing, tools, etc. Organized garage sales make a lot more money. Don’t put items on the ground. Hang all the clothing you can and nicely fold other clothing. You might not have the greatest items, but if your sale is clean and organized your items will seem to be of more worth to the customer.
4) SET PRICING – Price everything out. This probably sounds crazy and super time consuming but it is well worth the effort. When you have a big crowd and you are trying to exchange money it is super annoying to have constant pricing questions. You will end up selling items for much cheaper than you intended. Put a sticker on every item. To save time you can have “Box Bargains”. Put books or DVD’s in a box and label it “$5 for the entire box” (or what ever price you want). They will take the box and what they don’t want they can haul to Goodwill instead of you! One big mistake we made was putting the price of clothing directly on the hanger instead of on the article of clothing itself. We had a person come by and pull a large amount of clothing off the hangers (on purpose) and then ask us for a total on the entire pile. I had no idea what we had marked them. I just guessed and later realized that I had lost a lot of money. If the sticker won’t stick then use a safety pin. Price everything a few days in advance. Don’t try to do it the day of the sale. Remember when setting prices that everything left will most likely be donated to charity so don’t go too high.
5) HIGH PRICED ITEMS – You might have items that aren’t usually sold at a garage sale, items that are more valuable and/or that you want a specific amount for. Begin by listing them on different websites such as local classifieds, Facebook, Craigslist and such. Call them “Pre-garage sale items”. Be sure to include pictures. You can get a much higher price by doing this. If the items don’t sell and you want to put them out at the garage sale, be sure to place them close to the cashiers table so you can keep an eye on them. We also put out signs on a few items that said “non-negotiable price”. This saved us a lot of headache.
6) CASHIER – Be sure to have plenty of cash on hand, especially $5, $1 and quarters. It is important that you keep the money in a cashiers drawer or divided container with a lid. Don’t leave cash out in the open. Assign a cashier to stay at the table the entire time. Have a ledger handy. We would quickly jot down the cost of the different items so we could add them up correctly. It also helped at the end of the day to add up all we had made. It is very important if you are having a multi-family sale to keep track of what each family has sold. Don’t keep ALL the money you make outside. Take some in the house for safe keeping. Don’t forget to have a large stash of grocery bags handy for customers to place their items in.
7) ADVERTISE – Prepare 10 to 30 posters. I use bright colored foam board from the dollar store and cut it in half. Make your sign simple, using a big, easy-to-read dark font. All you need is the date, address and times. I print my words out on the computer then just glue it on. It looks more professional. You will get more traffic if you add “multi-family sale” – so if any others have donated items, be sure to add that to your poster. If you cover your signs with clear contact paper you can protect them from rain and sprinklers. It also makes the signs re-usable. Just change the date and your good to go another year. Check with local authorities on where you can legally hang posters. Advertise your sale on all local classifieds, Craigslist, Facebook and any other websites in your area. Always add pictures! I reposted for several days adding new pictures. I also put an add in the local paper. Another great garage sale tip is to use the same color posters to list pricing at your sale. This way customers know they are at the right place. We also added balloons to the sign we posted at the sale site. Don’t forget to take down your signs after the sale is done!
8) THE SET UP – Put popular items near the front to attract customers. Put high priced items near the back by the cashiers table. Keep items off the ground unless they are in boxes. Hang clothing or fold it neatly on tables. Make sure you have clear pathways between tables and items. It you have awnings, use them! Shaded customers shop longer! It’s nice to have some cold water bottles to offer customers too!
9) UNSOLD ITEM PLAN – We have found that there are people who wait until you are cleaning up then come and want ALL left over items for free. Most of these are re-sellers. Have a plan as to what you will do with the unsold items. We decided to give our items to Goodwill. If you don’t have a plan then it will all just get thrown back in the garage and the whole purpose of cleaning the garage out is defeated. Have a truck ready, load the items in and take them away! Take the next hour or so to clean up, return borrowed tables and take down signs!
With these 9 great garage sale tips you can now have a successful garage/yard sale and declutter your garage. Take the rest of the weekend to organize and sweep out your garage. Be sure to check the areas around your garage door sensors to be sure nothing is blocking them or that they haven’t been bumped. A clean garage is a happy garage! We at Anderson Garage Doors hope you will enjoy the rest of your summer. For any of your garage doors needs, give us a call. We will be there promptly and have you on your way to summer fun in no time!