It’s that time of year again. Purge your crap and pawn it off to your neighbor as a treasure he can’t live without. How many times have you thought that the people across the street might appreciate owning the set of 4 treadless Impala tires parked on the side of your garage that are now home to 17 exotic species of weeds? Trust me when I say that someone wants your junk, but only if it has a price tag stuck to it.

You can’t give away the 20-year old broken freezer holding up your Pergola, but if you price it at a reasonable $20 and throw in a can of Freon, someone will buy it and turn it into a repurposed ice chest for their party patio.

I want to let you in on the little known secret of entrepreneurial sales. You must guide your garage sale guests into understanding why they cannot live without your heap o’clutter.

Here are the basics to follow:

  • Price – Know up front that people are seeking a bargain. If you price items slightly above what you want to collect for them, you will empty that garage faster than a Woolworth’s bargain basement sale. People love to haggle. They won’t pay $5 for your mint condition Yves St. Laurent handbag, but they will pay $4.00 if you throw in the set of steak knives you received as a wedding present 18 years ago from your spouse’s great aunt from Poughkeepsie. I recently lost a hard-fought garage sale battle with a granny who had designs on my daughter’s youth bed that worked with a crib mattress.  After finally agreeing to take $5 less than it was priced, my ex-husband carried it to her Econoline garage sale wagon and loaded it. She promptly tipped him $5 for his efforts. Of course, that cash never made it into the coffers, but I’m sure it bought a nice Pabst Blue Ribbon at the local strip club.
  • Plan – A strategic plan is necessary for the success of any rubbish sell-off. If you plan to be bright-eyed and bushytailed when you open your garage sale at 8:00 a.m., be prepared to answer the door at 7:15 to the angler looking for an early bird special on any Prince Nymph flies you may have lurking behind your broken freezer. “No, but I may have Prince Albert in a can hiding somewhere around here.”
  • Placement – The placement of sale articles is a fine art. The rack of unstylish clothes is to be hidden in the darkened corner of your garage [no one EVER wants these]. Whereas, your child’s lemonade stand and large gadgets are to be prominently displayed at the end of your driveway. This serves 2 purposes: draws in serious small-man syndrome shoppers seeking motorized chainsaws or other status symbol power tools; and it requires your child to learn life’s valuable lesson on economics, as well as the added bonus of working for the man.

Lest your garage runneth over, plan to participate in this cultural phenomenon and sell your unwanted paraphernalia. There are scads of scavengers looking for a broken coffee cup, hamper of pantyhose, or a leg lamp to light their way. The win/win is that you earn cash that you will later not report on your tax return. You may even earn enough dough to buy your neighbor’s Wurlitzer jukebox, but you may also have to fork over another $13.75 for that neighbor’s vinyl collection of Ozzy Osbourne.  These will of course need to be featured at your daughter’s next after-prom backyard bash along with your newly purchased, but slightly used, 80’s disco ball.


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