On any Friday or Saturday in the spring through fall, Judith Kean of Two Harbors, Minn., descends on the cityâ€™s garage sales. As the economy tanked in the past couple of years, her hobby has become even more time consuming. â€œThere used to be six to eight sales every weekend,â€ she said. â€œNow there are 15 or more.â€
Many garage-salers are entering the market for the first time or re-entering it as a way to raise cash, and experienced shoppers know this because the quality of the goods has gone down, Kean said. People hold on to possessions longer in a recession, but now theyâ€™re trying to sell what they might have thrown away or donated to charity in the past.
to know if youâ€™re selling
-Price low. That should be the goal if you want to get rid of stuff. For pricing guidelines, visit thrift stores, not eBay.
-Heed the signs. Keep signs on every other block and every corner where a turn is required in the city (a half-mile apart along longer stretches in the suburbs). Make sure the address and sale dates are large and easily readable. Add balloons to attract the eye.
-Sell with others. Doing it alone is too much work.
-Sell to early birds, but charge extra, say a $10 â€œtaxâ€ for a purchase. Keep it short. Make the sale one or two, but not three, days.
-Promote yourself. Advertise as much as you can in the newspaper and on Craigslist, Facebook and bulletin boards.
-Cut prices. Advertise that on the last day or last afternoon, everything is half-price.
-Offer details. Be specific about sale items in an ad, such as a leaf blower, musical instruments or furniture.
-Be friendly. Greet everyone who comes to the sale.
-Group small items and sell everything for $1 or more to eliminate coins.
-Plan ahead. Take the spring and summer to collect, price and box items to sell in the fall.
-Choose the best hours- 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
-Donate leftovers. Call ahead to have charities pick up whatâ€™s unsold.
to know if youâ€™re buying
-Donâ€™t bring your purse. Leave it in the trunk. Keep quarters, ones and fives in a pants pocket or jacket.
-Cruise around. Check good neighborhoods for better quality goods, but haggle if prices are too high.
-Shop later. Browse in the late afternoon or on the last day for the best bargains. Any offer is fair near closing time.
-Play it safe. Skip cribs, mattresses, car seats and hockey helmets due to possible safety concerns.
-Set limits. If youâ€™re concerned about overbuying, commit to limits on spending or the number of items.
-Leave your card. Ask to be called if an item remains unsold and the seller is willing to accept your price.
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