I have only hosted several garage sales, one being our recent adoption yard sale and am by no means a garage sale expert. BUT I go to A LOT of garage sales (almost every weekend). I know what I like to find, what makes me stop at a sale, and what I expect to pay for garage sale items! I learned a lot during our most recent adoption garage sale fundraiser and I hope these tips will be helpful to another family as they plan their sale!
1. Set your date
A few months out start thinking about possible garage sale dates. I wanted to wait until the weather was consistenly warm but not HOT. Also I scheduled ours for one week prior to our local college graduation. I knew there would be more yard sales than normal that weekend with college students wanting to get rid of their stuff.
2. Spread the word and ask for donations
Make a flyer to advertise your sale and to ask for donations. Email it out, share on facebook, and hand it out in person to your neighbors, church groups, and friends. We got donations from random people I didn’t even know because I emailed our flyer to a friend who then shared it with her small group. Ask your friends to help spread the word!
The week of the sale advertise your sale on craigslist for free. Contact your local paper about a garage sale ad. Our local paper puts the ad online and in the weekend papers. They may even have a package deal for an ad and the garage sale permit!
3. Organize as you go
DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT wait until the week of your sale to try to organize and price items. As you start accepting donations put like things together. All the house stuff in one pile, toys in another, etc. Also I had separate box/totes for kids clothing of various sixe. One tote for boys 0-12 months, another for 2T, etc. Then when we received donations I could take things to their designated area and things stayed pretty organized. If you price items as they are donated it will be less overwhelming the week of your sale. If you want to make some $$ you will need LOTS of donations. I promise the time you take to organize will be worth it and pay off in the end!
4. Price items to sell
I know the goal of your garage sale is to make money but you also don’t want to me left with tons of stuff at the end of the day. Price items reasoably. Some people prefer not to price things at all but I think it saves you a lot of time and headache the day of your actual sale. I didn’t want 5,000 people coming up to me at the sale and asking me how much an item was. Dollar tree sells 420 garage sale stickers in a package for $1! Pick up a package and get to pricing early.
That said it’s ok to hold your ground on your prices too. If you have an item priced at $15 and someone offers you $10 then counter back with $12 and tell them you are fundraising for your adoption. Nine times out of ten people will pay the $12 or original price for a good cause!
5. Make your items presentable
I know it’s a yard sale but I think taking a little time to wipe the bigger items down and make sure things are clean and dust free goes a long way. I kept a container of clorox wipes and a dust rag in the garage so I could clean items as they were donated. Also look into borrowing tables from a local church to display your items up off the ground. If you have any friends with clothing racks borrow those for your sale. I hung all of our adult clothing on a clothing rack so they were up off the ground and more visible.
6. Enlist the help of your friends
Besides asking your friends to donate items and to help spread the word about your sale you can also ask them for help pricing, sorting, and help the date of. Ask a friend to watch your children during the sale or even to bring you lunch so you don’t have to leave your sale for any reason.
7. Take what you need
It will be better in the long run if you take a dress from the yard sale pile for your daughter than selling it for $1 at your sale. If it is something you can use then by all means take it. It will be cheaper than you going out and spending $15 on a new dress.
8. Sell bigger ticket items on ebay, craigslist, etc.
We had a ton of baby/kids items. I opted to sell a few items through craigslist weeks before our sale. These items all sold in less than 24 hours. I was able to sell them for more than what I would have sold them at the garage sale for. And I was able to create more space in our garage for incoming donations! You could also list things on Ebay if you think they will sell better there.
9. Talk to people about adoption
We advertised our sale on craigslist as an adoption fundraiser and we had a poster at our check out table that said we were raising funds for our adoption. Lots of people stopped by and told me that they themselves had been adopted or had adopted a child. This is a great time to talk openly with people about how Christ has adopted us into his family. People wanted to know basic facts like where we were adopting from, boy or girl, age, etc. Several people didn’t buy anything but just handed us a donation instead to go towards our adoption. And a lot of people paid slightly more than we were asking and told us to put the extra money towards our adoption fees.
10. Pay it forward.
If you have items leftover when your sale is over then consider donating everyting to another family who is having an adoption/fundraiser garage sale. That is what others did for us and what we did after our sale. Share the LOVE!
Hope this post helps others considering doing adoption garage sales. We were able to raise $5,000 with our sale!! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.