GOING GREEN- Make some green with a garage sale

Margaret-MalsamJune seems to mark the beginning of the garage sale season in Colorado. You begin to see garage sale signs popping up along busy streets. It’s a profitable green way to recycle your unwanted things.

I have conducted garage sales in my own yard and also managed garage and estate sales for charities. The difference in conducting garage estate sales depends on the quality of the merchandise and the way you display and price your things.

Before planning a garage sale if you are doubtful about the value of some of your prized collectibles, you should consider calling in an expert or taking them to an antique dealer. Then you might want to just sell them to a dealer or have an expert manage an estate sale for you instead.

Remember that people come to garage sales to buy bargains. An old saying is that other people’s junk is someone else’s treasure. Here are some tips.

1. Select a good date and time.  Don’t sell during a holiday weekend as many people leave town or are busy with company and social activities. On a regular weekend, start on a Friday or Saturday morning and end in early afternoon. Serious bargain hunters like to come early for the best selection.  Once at an estate sale, we had people standing in line before the sale started. Although when I go to a garage sale, I figure that anything I really need will still be waiting for me a later hour. You might advertise a 9 a.m. start but be ready at 8 a.m.  When the weather gets hot, you might close as early as 3 p.m.

2. You can advertise for free on craigslist.com or just buy big legible signs at dollar stores. Place them at busy intersections with arrows points to your home. Keep putting up more signs along the way to lead people to your home. Get them to stop when they find your place by placing something large and attractive for sale at the front of your yard.  I attracted many customers once with my grandmother’s old brass headboard which I overpriced because I really did not want to sell it.  I passed it down to my daughter later after she was married.

3. Display things on long tables and price them very reasonably. Usually shoppers are looking for things under $50.  Although once we sold an old station wagon that needed expensive repairs to a mechanic who happened by at our garage sale.

4. Skip selling clothes as piles of old clothes do not sell or display well at garage sales. Costume jewelry sells well but fasten pieces to small cardboards, put in small plastic sacks, or place all jewelry in large box with see-thru top near a checkout table.  Don’t tempt the shop lifters.  Keep your money and change in a secure waist purse.

5. Have a $1 bargain box or make $1 mystery paper bags for odds and ends.   Also create a “free box” at the checkout table.  If you have lots of things left, sell everything for half price the last hour or two of the sale.

6. To be green, recycle what’s left by hauling everything to a local charity and get a donation receipt for your income taxes.

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