Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tips On Organizing Estate & Garage Sales

I am helping two friends organize sales during the next two weeks - a moving sale and an estate sale.  More information on those two specific sales coming later.  I love helping friends organize and price estate / moving sales.  I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but once in awhile is great fun.  These tips are for helping friends, it gets more complicated when you are doing it as a business.

Here are a few important tips for estate / moving sales:
  • Definitely separate the keep vs sell piles first thing.  If you are iffy then don't sell it.  You can't get it back after it sells.
  • Everything needs to be on tables, or at least off the ground.  At a level customers can easily see and reach.
  • Organize and display everything BEFORE pricing.  Make it look inviting. Group "like" things together.  The cleaner the better (depends on amount of time you have.)
  • Price reasonably so that as much sells the first day as possible.  If you look up what an item is selling for on ebay -- mark price half of that or less.  This is not ebay.
  • $1 or more increments.  If something is not worth a dollar, throw it in with other things.  Coins are a hassle. 
  • Ideally the first day there are no discounts, second day 25% off, third day 50% off.  If it is only two day sale then some variation.  Know ahead of time what the plan is.  Let customers know what the plan is. 
  • Have lots of great signage -- preferably bringing people in to the sale from several different directions.
  • Advertise sale on Craigslist, flyers on public bulletin boards, Facebook as well as newspaper.
  • Have a "holding area" at the sale.  I always make sure mine is equipped with newspaper and boxes, so that people can wrap and pack their own items.
  • There has to be at least two people at the sale at all times.  One to stay at the checkout table.  One to run around and help customers.
  • Only one door for entry and exit.  Checkout table by the door. Keep small or valuable items close to the checkout table. 
  • Good lighting.  Every light on.  Every curtain/shade open.
  • If I am pricing it, I am not buying it.  I just can't figure out any other way to maintain integrity and help with a sale. 
  • If you advertise that you are opening at a certain time, do not open early.  If you advertise that you are going to be open until a certain time, make sure you are. 
  • If "experts" are called in to give opinions before the sale begins, they should have the option of shopping early (but not purchase anything they are pricing.)
  • Don't let anyone shop early, unless they are helping with the sale.
  • Have a "Bid Box" for people to leave bids on anything at the sale (along with their name and phone number).  Open it before the 50% off sale and call any winning bidders. 
  • Say there is no public restroom available at the house if people ask.  Tell them where the nearest one is.  Making the restroom available has never turned out well.  Enough said.
  • Have fun.  Bring brownies.  Stay hydrated.

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