Author Topic: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors  (Read 7749 times)

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magicdomino

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #45 on: June 09, 2014, 11:21:24 AM »
I also donate instead of selling.   I had a couple of yard sales after inheriting a house full of Stuff, and didn't make much more than enough to cover advertising, plus lunch for whichever friend helped me with the yard sale.   If the tax deduction is more than the profit, why bother?

Winterlight

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #46 on: June 09, 2014, 11:23:21 AM »
When I read the thread title my first thought was, "I doubt it's legal to sell your neighbors at a garage sale."
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VorFemme

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #47 on: June 09, 2014, 01:23:21 PM »
When I read the thread title my first thought was, "I doubt it's legal to sell your neighbors at a garage sale."

But I have had a few neighbors that I would have been tempted to offer at a really low price...to see if it worked!
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sammycat

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #48 on: June 10, 2014, 03:00:54 AM »
But I have had a few neighbors that I would have been tempted to offer at a really low price...to see if it worked!

I've had a few neighbours that I doubt I could even give away, even if I threw in a free house as well.

As to the general question, I'd be extremely miffed if a neighbour tried to piggy back on all the hard work I'd put into organising a garage sale.

We did 2 last year, 2 full weekends in a row, prior to moving house. We did get rid of a bit of 'big stuff', but all the prep was a real pain in the neck. I'm not sure why we even bothered with the second weekend really.  We ended up schleping all the remaining stuff with us to the new house and last week I finally had a clear out. Lifeline (charity) turned up with a huge removal van and I managed to fill 3/4 of it. At least now we can walk into our garage....

US ehlleions - how exactly do you get a tax credit (or whatever it is) from your charitable donations? We can get one here for any monetary donations above $2, but not for 'stuff'. 

blarg314

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2014, 03:35:01 AM »

US ehlleions - how exactly do you get a tax credit (or whatever it is) from your charitable donations? We can get one here for any monetary donations above $2, but not for 'stuff'.

I think that in general you get a receipt from a recognized charity or organization for the approximate value of what you donated - for something like Goodwill, it would be for about what they would expect to receive if they sold it.

When my Dad died, my Mom donated his academic books to the university. They did an appraisal, and she got a receipt for the value. The university then kept what they wanted for their collection, and sold the rest.


Runningstar

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #50 on: June 10, 2014, 07:23:25 AM »
I have a group of friends who loves to go garage sailing (as we call it) and we have joked about making up a checklist of "DOs and DON'Ts" which we could then hand out as we visited sales, with check marks for those things they did properly and those which needed improvement. .
Lowspark, I really wish that you would give us that list!!  Pretty please??

lowspark

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2014, 09:58:48 AM »
I have a group of friends who loves to go garage sailing (as we call it) and we have joked about making up a checklist of "DOs and DON'Ts" which we could then hand out as we visited sales, with check marks for those things they did properly and those which needed improvement. .
Lowspark, I really wish that you would give us that list!!  Pretty please??

 ;D
It was mainly in our heads but here's what I can think of.

Signs
-- There should be a sign at every corner where you need to make a turn, with a large arrow pointing in the right direction. (You'd be surprised how many have arrows pointing in the wrong direction. So, don't draw the arrow till you put up the sign.) If there will be several blocks before you need to turn, put a sign (or more) in between (with arrow pointing up) so that I know I'm on the right track.
-- Put a sign in a prominent place on your lawn to mark the location, especially if the sale is in a garage which isn't visible from way down the street.
-- Put the address in big letters on every sign. Address should be written legibly in large, black letters.
-- Put the hours of the sale on the sign if you intend to put signs out before the sale starts
-- Please pick up your signs after the sale is over
-- Listing items for sale is fine as long as it doesn't dominate over the address which is paramount. Usually furniture and baby items are a big draw.

Pricing
-- Mark your items with actual prices.
-- Be ready to haggle. It's ok to be firm on price but don't get annoyed or angry if people offer less. Once you get to your firm price, just say, "that's firm". I don't care what you paid for it or how great you think the item is or what your personal attachment to it is or what it would cost if I bought it new. Bottom line: what you are willing to take for it vs. what I am willing to pay for it. The rest is chatter I don't want to hear.
-- When marking prices and when haggling, keep in mind that this may be the only chance you'll get to sell this item. Weigh the price you want against the possibility of not selling the item. You want $5 for it, but at the end of the day, would you rather have $1 or end up with still having the item? Either answer could be correct, but think about that before the sale so that you can move stuff if the opportunity arises.

Books, magazines, records
-- Don't throw them into a box all willy-nilly. Make it so that I don't have to touch them in order to see what they are. So, spines should be showing on all books, whether you want to have them spine up in a box or sitting like they would in a bookshelf or stacked or whatever. If I have to paw through them to see what you have, I won't do it so you've just lost sales.
-- Records should be stacked on their edge so that I can flip them. Don't stack them flat. That's bad for records, it warps them, and it will discourage actual collectors.

Items requiring electricity
-- Bring out an extension cord from the house so that people can plug things in to see they work. Have it plugged in and ready to use.

Money
-- have plenty of change. Ones and coinage. Absolutely do not run out of it.

Don't bother selling:
- used underwear, used make up, broken items. Those things are trash.

Other ideas (not part of the checklist):
-- You can make extra money selling waters or cokes out of an ice chest for a reasonable price ($1 each). Good job for a kid to do.
-- Start early. Between 7 & 8 is ideal. 9 is too late to start, you'll miss out on sales.
-- Cash only. Don't take checks. If you have big ticket items, know the location of the nearest ATM and be prepared to give directions to it. My policy would be first come first served. So if someone has to run to the ATM, fine, but don't hold the item for them if someone else wants to buy it. Because the first person may never come back. So just make that clear. The only way to hold something is if it's been paid for, in full, in cash, and they are just running home to get their truck or someone to help them move it or whatever.

If I can think of any more stuff, I'll post again.

PastryGoddess

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2014, 10:25:17 AM »
But I have had a few neighbors that I would have been tempted to offer at a really low price...to see if it worked!

I've had a few neighbours that I doubt I could even give away, even if I threw in a free house as well.

As to the general question, I'd be extremely miffed if a neighbour tried to piggy back on all the hard work I'd put into organising a garage sale.

We did 2 last year, 2 full weekends in a row, prior to moving house. We did get rid of a bit of 'big stuff', but all the prep was a real pain in the neck. I'm not sure why we even bothered with the second weekend really.  We ended up schleping all the remaining stuff with us to the new house and last week I finally had a clear out. Lifeline (charity) turned up with a huge removal van and I managed to fill 3/4 of it. At least now we can walk into our garage....

US ehlleions - how exactly do you get a tax credit (or whatever it is) from your charitable donations? We can get one here for any monetary donations above $2, but not for 'stuff'. 

You should get a tax receipt.  You can also calculate the value on a tax worksheet and the IRS will reimburse you based on that amount.  But if you get audited, you'll need the paperwork to prove it. 

VorFemme

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #53 on: June 10, 2014, 02:42:13 PM »
My husband is a high school teacher (students range from 15 to 18, usually).  The last two years, the students have set up garage sales for fund raising (budget cuts followed by more budget cuts have ended up with a significant drop in their various sources of funding for competitions, equipment, and the like).

One of the parents supplies a garage, various families donate things to sell.  Our garage has an attic with "stuff" in it from the previous owners - the kids go up there and "mine" it for things that look good (baby swing, twin bed frame with headboard & footboard, hanging lamp shade of glass oyster shells on clear monofilament, and other items - some kitsch and some "good" stuff - original ALF sleeping bag & a couple of other TV collectibles).

Lots of drapes in the last batch - Montgomery Wards is decades out of business, but their drapes washed up beautifully - if anyone was looking for 84" long pleated draw drapes in brocade :-\.  They'd look better for someone just moving into a new-to-them house than a few pinned up flat sheets!  Some of the others tore up in the washing machine & got dumped into the trash still damp from the spin cycle...but the ones that went to the sale were clean (and demonstrated to be machine washable).

There was a brand new rice bin (for twenty or more pounds of rice) that was still in a shipping container from the California importer (Japanese or Korean?) that was expected to sell very quickly - as well as a large mirror in an ornate frame.  Artwork is problematic to sell - but mirrors are more "classic" in appeal.

There is still stuff up there - probably another garage sale or even two will pare it down...

I wash the items & check for things like straight pins (carefully) or rips, tears, & stains that would mean they are not wearable...

Like what looked like a coffee stain the size of a dinner plate on a white cashmere blend pullover...or a three cornered rip in a pair of jeans that extended far enough into the seat of the garment to render it not repairable...
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 01:30:37 PM by VorFemme »
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blarg314

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #54 on: June 10, 2014, 10:50:18 PM »

Good list.

Some I would add -

If you're selling clothing, make sure it is washed first and free of stains. Don't sell dirty dishes.

If something requires batteries, have a set for people to test it. 

And a general one for people selling used stuff in general is to not overprice. If you are selling something for more than 1/3 of the original purchase price people aren't going to want it, and that's for something in good condition. If it's noticeably used, go lower. If something is intrinsically valuable (antiques, for example, or artwork) you need to sell to a knowledgeable buyer, not at a general garage sale.

A friend of mine was recently moving and selling various small appliances and bits of furniture. But he was pricing it at slightly below the new value, and for some reason no-one was interested in buying any of it... For that extra 20% in cost, you can buy a brand new, shiny clean microwave that has a warranty.

Oh, and the big one - once the sale is over remove all the signs. I've lived in places where garage sale signs were banned by law, because people would put them up and then leave them. And it's really frustrating to follow a garage sale sign and realize the sale was over weeks ago.

lowspark

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #55 on: June 11, 2014, 09:41:14 AM »
Don't sell dirty dishes.

I'd amend that to "Don't sell dirty anything."

I love garage sales and thrift shops so I'm not at all averse to handling and buying used things. But if it's dirty, I won't even touch it much less buy it. So yeah, clean your stuff before putting it out. And if it can't be cleaned, a stained shirt for example, throw it away. It just makes all the rest of your stuff look bad.

VorFemme

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #56 on: June 11, 2014, 03:06:37 PM »
I found that if I look at the stuff that can run through the dishwasher and wait for its tag color to reach the discount - I can easily be the only person interested enough in it to buy it.  Then I take it home & run the dishwasher or washing machine.  Sometimes I keep it (clear glass canisters with rubber seals in good shape) and sometimes I end up donating it to the students' group for a garage sale.  But I'm sure that everything sells faster when it looks and is really clean.

I do make exceptions for some things...like a Coach purse...not dishwasher safe, but I have saddle soap!

I used to work in a thrift shop (consignment - our group funded scholarships with our percentage of the proceeds) - clean stuff sells faster every single time.  Garage grime film or dust turns people off even "good" stuff.  If you can smell mothballs on it - no one wants it.

Lavender or a light cedar scent aren't as bad - but any heavy scent has the risk of making an item unappealing - unless it is a scented candle or a bag of potpourri!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 01:27:34 PM by VorFemme »
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Runningstar

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #57 on: June 12, 2014, 08:34:38 AM »
I have a group of friends who loves to go garage sailing (as we call it) and we have joked about making up a checklist of "DOs and DON'Ts" which we could then hand out as we visited sales, with check marks for those things they did properly and those which needed improvement. .
Lowspark, I really wish that you would give us that list!!  Pretty please??

 ;D
It was mainly in our heads but here's what I can think of.

If I can think of any more stuff, I'll post again.

Thanks Lowspark!  I never would have thought about putting up arrows/signs all of the way to the sale.

dawbs

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #58 on: June 12, 2014, 09:05:02 AM »
I have a group of friends who loves to go garage sailing (as we call it) and we have joked about making up a checklist of "DOs and DON'Ts" which we could then hand out as we visited sales, with check marks for those things they did properly and those which needed improvement. .
Lowspark, I really wish that you would give us that list!!  Pretty please??

 ;D
It was mainly in our heads but here's what I can think of.

If I can think of any more stuff, I'll post again.

Thanks Lowspark!  I never would have thought about putting up arrows/signs all of the way to the sale.

I'd say it also helps when the signs/arrows have a 'theme'
It's silly, but if you see a neon green arrows with balloons advertising the location of the sale, then at every intersection, instead of looking at however many signs are out there, you just follow the green arrows with balloons.

Pick a way to make the signs and stick with it.

lowspark

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #59 on: June 12, 2014, 09:14:59 AM »
Good point, dawbs. The best/easiest way I've seen this done is to use poster boards in one color such as neon green, yellow or pink for all the signs, as opposed to plain old white. But make sure the background color is something that won't obscure the writing, so no dark colors like blue or red.

That way, every time I see the pink (and those bright neon colors can be seen from far away) I know I'm on the right track.