Thanks everyone who took the time to comment, email or Facebook me with your opinions. They were very helpful!
We’ve decided to do our sale Thursday – Saturday and to start very, very early on Thursday. Who knew that Thursday was such a happenin’ garage sale day? At some point on Saturday we will do the “$5 to fill a bag” deal.
If anyone actually takes VHS tapes, I will die of shock. Total HIMYM moment – Barney finds Marshall and Lily’s sex tape and rushes to Ted’s apartment to watch it on the “outdated viewing device”. When he gets frustrated and smashes it, Ted tries to complain, to which Barney replies “It was a VCR”. That look is EXACTLY the look I will have to refrain myself from giving if someone buys any VHS!
I think I’ll compromise a bit on the pricing – maybe some of the items I was marking at .25 I’ll bump up to .50 to leave room for negotiating. We also had good suggestions to post stuff ahead of time on our Facebook event page, as well as online garage sale sites and, of course, Craigslist. We’ve just started to post some larger items and, pending a sale today and another tomorrow, we will have brought in $444 from those sales alone. Not a bad start!
Mixed reviews abound on how to price books. Some swear that paperbacks won’t sell unless they’re .05 or .10, others say they’ve sold for .50-$1.00. I’ve also been told that, pain in the arse though it may be, to price each individual book. We were going to just put a sign up on the book table noting the price for paperback and hardcover, but now I think I’ll make sure to put a sticker on everything.
I love the tips for having water/soda available, and given that this is Minnesota, we may not be able to purchase those supplies until the night before. Why? Because last week we had 7 inches of snow on Thursday followed by 74* and sunshine on Sunday. Minnesota’s weather is a bipolar nightmare who forgets to take its medication. We’ll wait until t-12 hours before buying either water or coffee to sell! :)
One of the biggest questions we’ve gotten: are people giving you stuff you can actually sell, or are they giving you stuff they are too lazy to bring to the dump themselves? With all due respect, the answer is both. I’m only answering this question publicly because I think anyone planning on organizing a massive, donation driven garage sale should know that, like those chocolates in Forrest Gump, you never know what you’re gonna get! Be grateful, but also be prepared to dig through a lot of trash (actual trash, like wrappers, broken things, receipts, scrap paper, etc) and do lots of washing. We’ve washed pots, pans, dishes, clothes, stuffed animals; some of the items had clearly been left in storage for a long time collecting inches of dust, and others came from smokers’ homes and needed lots of cleaning to be rid of the smell. Everything smells great and looks like new now, but it has taken hours of work to get it there.
And then there’s the creme de la creme of what I uncovered in one of the boxes a friend of a friend passed along to us. Let me just share this tip with you all – if you ever empty your bedside table drawers, empty them in the trash immediately.
That being said…the majority of what we’ve been donated, even the items that needed some polishing up, have been perfect for a yard sale. My mom and my mom-in-law are taking off a Friday in mid-May to help sort, clean and price. We are scheduled to pick up at least 4 more donations this week with more to come. Thanks to generous friends, family and those who have spread the word along, we will have quite the haul.
As far as having a sign with Ben’s story – we are going to put a donation jar at the check out, sort of a “round your change up” jar. I am working very hard to finish Ben’s book and have paperbacks available for either purchase or to give to anyone who makes a $5 donation (or something like that). What’s sad is how many people said they don’t trust benefit garage sales because they never know if the money is really going where the hosts claim it will go. Doesn’t that just break your heart? Come on, people. If you’re holding a garage sale to raise money for some cause or charity and you keep the profits for yourself…sick. Just sick. I plan on taking lots of pictures of the sale and pictures (details blurred of course) of medical bills and what we are able to pay on them thanks to this sale and posting them on this site. I know that anyone could fake that; I just hope you all know us well enough to know we are the real deal.
Thanks again for all your fabulous tips – our family has the best virtual support system in the world!