We love helping to organise the chaos of a garage as much as anyone, but the easiest way to tidy or organise any mess is to get rid of it!
As you dive into the disarray in your garage, remember that your trash can be someone else’s treasure. Take your next spring clean a step further and don’t just host a garage sale, do it for charity!
So how do you go about planning a garage sale for charity?
Here are a few steps to steer you in the right direction:
Gathering the Items
It’s important to create a system in order to stay organised as you decide which items to keep, sell, and throw in the trash. Make it a family affair!
1. Get everyone involved in finding things to sell. It’s a great way to teach kids that sometimes you need to let go of stuff they no longer use so that others can benefit from them. The more people who are involved, the quicker you divide up everything and the sooner you can set a date for the garage sale. In addition, when everyone is involved, you can get instant confirmation if an item should be kept or sold based on sentimental value. It’s important to ask permission before you go and display items at your garage sale to eliminate a possible argument.
2. Have big boxes handy. You don’t want things to get mixed up by simply having piles that can easily merge together. Boxes help keep things separate yet organised.
3. Make sure everything that will be sold still functions properly and is presentable. For clothes, wash them and display them in an orderly fashion. For clothes and bags, go through all the pockets to make sure you don’t leave any papers or money in them. If they’re stained or badly damaged, put them in a bin labeled “Free Items” so that anyone can just take them. For electronics and toys, make sure all the parts are still there and they still work.
4. If you intend to sell furniture and appliances as well, make sure you note down its defects or damages if it has any. In addition, it’s also important to have the original instruction manual for appliances so the buyers know exactly how they can be used.
5. Ask friends, colleagues or neighbours for donations. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are perfect for getting the word out that you’re having a garage sale and need donations. If everyone knows its for charity their more likely to help out and contribute something. Remember to give them enough notice to gather up their items so they can make it in time for the sale.
Picking the Pricing Strategy
Things to consider when pricing your items:
1. Remember that you are not running a boutique or attempting a quick ‘get rich’ scheme. Since it is for charity it’s understandable that you want a high profit but you need to keep in mind people like to negotiate prices. Garage sales are popular and appealing because prices are low, so be ready to compromise. You may be surprised and get the price you hoped for since customers know it’s for a good cause.
2. You can price each item individually. Be aware that this strategy may be time consuming and not as functional as classified sections based on price.
3. You can categorise the items into price sets. For instance, one area would hold items worth $0.50, while another area would hold items worth $5 and so on. Having items organised by price makes it easier for those who are browsing and have a set limit to how much they want to spend.
4. You can mark each item with coloured stickers, where the colour of the sticker reflects the price. This is a great strategy for hanging up clothes in the same area, even if they’re of different prices.
When pricing the items, make sure the buyers can clearly see the price so they don’t have to search for it or for you to ask what it is, which is an easy way to loose a sale.
Getting Everything Ready
Have enough tables, boxes and racks to showcase all your items. If you don’t have these at home, you can borrow them from friends or buy them cheaply at a discount store. Get all your display equipment ready a few days before the sale so you can also plan how you’d be arranging them. Lastly, it’s also a good idea to borrow or buy a cash box for the proceeds. Fill this up with coins and loose change for more convenient transactions.
A week or two before the sale, you should start advertising your charity garage sale to people you know and throughout the neighborhood. For this, you can use social media sites to spread the word. You can also distribute flyers or post them on community bulletin boards. It’s important to put correct directions on flyers so that people won’t get lost trying to find your garage sale. If you’re part of a social group, you can also ask for your garage sale to be featured in their newsletter.
On the Day of the Sale
Garage sales start early in the morning so make sure to set your alarm clock! Fingers crossed the weather is good; no one wants a soggy sofa.
In arranging your items to be sold, it’s best to group them together based on their use. For clothes, place them based on size and gender. For books, make sure the titles on the spine can be seen by those who want to have a quick look. For health and beauty items, arrange them based on their usage and keep them in little bins. Lastly, for larger items, it’s best to display them along the driveway to catch the eye of a passersby.
When the customers start pouring in, be friendly and tell them that all or a percentage of the profits will go to the charity of your choice. A good idea would be to have flyers or information about the charity so people can familiarise themselves with the organisation. Keep yourself available for their questions and don’t turn them off by being pushy with sales. When the sale is about to end, consider driving down the prices to help sell and get rid of everything.
Remember that a lot of the things that you haven’t sold by the end of the day can be donated to causes such as the Salvation Army!
A garage sale is a great way to give back to the community as you keep your home (and garage) clutter-free. No matter how successful your garage sale is, let us know if you need a hand with the remaining clutter 🙂