It is the time of year where just the thought of sitting outside on a lawn chair overlooking your old and unused stuff just sends shivers up your spine. And I mean REAL shivers as it is 12 degrees outdoors! But that old and unused stuff is NOT going away and you would just love to have some cash by selling the stuff and taking a nice long vacation to warmer climates. So, instead of sitting outside and freezing, have an Indoor Garage Sale! You will be overwhelmed with bored garage sale hunters who have not had their junking habit filled in quite awhile!
So...Here is how you put one together.
Start gathering everything you want to sell. Divide it into piles of “like” items. Kitchen stuff, sweaters, rocking chairs, blankets are a few category ideas. Then, pick out one piece that is a stand-out item and write a quick and interesting description of it for your ads on facebook swip swap and craigslist. “Warm and cuddly purple angora sweater”, “Vintage kitchen utensils”, “Baby comfortable rocking chair like your mother had” are all descriptions that are enough to get someone to come out in the cold and attend your sale! Avoid just listing items in your ads. Add a little sparkle and sales technique.
Next, figure out what part of your home would be best to set up the sale. The garage is still perfect if you have a way to keep yourself warm and the customers out of the cold, damp and wind. But if that won’t work, try the front part of your home so that people don’t go traipsing throughout your entire house. If you are moving out, waiting until the current house is empty and you have moved all of your things to your next home, is ideal. Then you can set things up in each room that pertain to that room and you can use open closets to hang clothes, curtains and bedspreads. Either way, you don’t want things that are NOT for sale to be in the FOR sale area.
If you have chosen a part of your home that can be set up for the Indoor sale, but the area opens up into the rest of the home, you are going to need room dividers of some type creating barriers so that you don’t have people wandering all over the house. Use ropes, room dividers or even huge appliance boxes across doorways or stairwells. If needed, add signs that say “Private” or “Do Not Enter” or even “Closed”. Hopefully, people will get the message.
Pricing everything individually can be tedious, but it saves in the amount of times you have to hear “How much is this?” Putting stickers or pieces of tape on the items will also help at checkout time. If you try the Dollar table, Two Dollar table and the Five Dollar table set up, make sure that you can remember which items were on which tables. People tend to drop items all over the place if it isn’t a high end designer shop. So pricing each item helps on many levels.
Any sale whether it is inside or outside, needs an extra set of eyes and hands. Unless you have only one table filled with items, ask a family member or friends to help you out. They can help keep people in the area of the sale and not allow them to wander around your house. They can also let people in the door and instruct them to wipe their feet. A bonus for them is if you let them sell some of their own items.
Don’t try to have an indoor sale on the day you happen to think of it. All sales take a bit of planning and some advertising. You also need time to set things up so that people aren’t just trampling over items left on the ground or floor. It will also take a day or two to make room for the stuff, especially if you are living in the house. You want to set up tables nicely and have furniture that you are selling arranged so that people can sit on it and test it out before they buy. If you have things tucked away in attics or in storage units, consider the time it will take to bring stuff down and over for the sale. If possible, set everything up the night before. You don’t have to get up super early to drag things outdoors!
Advertising your sale can be done completely for free. List your sale on your Facebook page and on Facebook’s Swip Swap pages. There are other pages that people have developed that are strictly for garage sales in your area only. Also list on Craigslist. In these ads, make sure you add pictures and list your items in detail with the unusual or in demand items first on your list. You can create additional listings for these standout items since many people will be looking for specific things. Bicycle, tablesaw, living room set and all things that can easily attract shoppers to your sale. Remember to post the Vintage, Antique or Rare items for those people who may not go to garage sales but DO go to Antique stores. You can also take an ad out in your local shopping guide or newspaper advertising the time and date of the sale. These ads are normally pretty cheap and people do scour them regularly.
Before you open your doors on the day of the sale, make sure that you have plenty of change. And this change includes single dollar bills and fives and tens. There is normally that one person who shows up first thing with a one hundred dollar bill and you simply have to tell him to go to the corner carry out to break it.
Just remember that an indoor garage sale is so much more comfortable than one where you sit outside and freeze. But there will be issues such as dirty floors. Perhaps a large tarp laid on the floor will help from mud, snow and dirt. Or plastic runners between tables can cut down on any damage that can be done. Stay open for the length of your advertisement because many people come late to get those last minute bargains when you have started to mark down just so that you don’t have to throw the items away.
Enjoy the money you made from the sale and keep the hot chocolate coming!