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28 May 2010

Garage Sales 101: Part 1

I maybe should call this little series Garage Sales: Elementary Edition, since I'm a relative beginner in the world of garage sale-ing. Garage Sales 101 seems to implicate more of a collegiate-level offering of information. Ah, well...either way it is garage sale season, and I wanted to walk you through how we're doing it here and now.

This is Maren and her $20 Fisher Price Little People collection we found on our first day out this season. The guy wanted to sell the lot together, and for $20 I couldn't refuse! I originally planned on re-selling the garage, but it's turned out to be Maren's favorite thing!
This will be my first year hosting a sale in our very own garage. For the past couple of years I have joined forces with a few friends, and we've had successful sales. Until now, I've been too chicken to branch out on my own. If you've never held a garage sale before, joining with a few others is a great way to start. It takes some of the pressure off of having a yard-full of stuff to sell, and it really is just plain old fun. (So long as you partner with people you'd actually like to spend a couple of mornings alongside!)

Maybe someday I will share a post on the best approach to group-garage-sales. I have definitely learned a few things!

Today I want to focus on STEP I: gathering items. In my opinion, one of the most overwhelming parts of garage sale preparation is the process of accumulating items to sell. Here are tips I have found helpful in this regard:
  • Start early! Don't wait for the weeks before the garage sale to clean out closets. I try to have all of my items set aside no later than 3 weeks before the sale. Those long winter days are great for sorting and cleaning! This will allow plenty of time for pricing and setting-up.
  • Keep it clean. All of my items go into the pile in 'ready-to-sell' fashion. Clothes are clean, dust is wiped off, small repairs are made as necessary. The nicer your items look, the more money they will bring in!
  • Have a place (or 2!) to put items aside for the sale. We have a two-story house, so I keep a box in a closet upstairs. I have found it to be far easier to toss an item in the box rather than carry it all the way to the basement. When the box fills up, I take a trip downstairs, where we keep the 'big pile'.
  • Throw as you go. You don't have to preform a major clean-sweep of your house all in one day. I toss things in the sale box as I find them. From time to time, I will go through a box in my craft room, or see something on a shelf that rarely gets used. It's amazing how much has accumulated in the garage sale pile without ever having a major go-though-closets-day.
This is my current closet pile. It's overflowing a bit now, but next week it all comes out for pricing!

Next week we'll talk about timing, pricing and shopping! Have you had a garage sale before? Do you spread out the preparation, or do it all in the week or two leading up to the sale?

And, just to leave you with a smile, here's Maren in her personally-selected outfit of the day. It's in the upper-80's here, but she insisted on wearing the boots. Oh, the lengths to which we go for beauty!


  1. Yay Kate! I just signed up to follow this blog too :) I love reading your stuff and being inspired by all your ideas. You are amazing!

  2. Just found your blog. Love it! BTW, my daughter has those same boots and wears them ALL THE TIME! :-)