Thursday, May 14, 2009

billions of items...

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Almost ever since we moved to AZ, John and I have been wanting to hold a garage sale. We had one in Provo, at our little studio apartment, and one in West Jordan while we were living at my dad's - both of which produced favorable outcomes ($1200 at one, and $800 at the other). So, basically for the past two and a half years, we've been holding onto the stuff that we'd normally take to Goodwill, in hopes that we'd someday have accumulated enough to warrant having a sale. Our neighborhood is difficult however, because it's a gated community, and we're not allowed to advertise the gate code (nor would we want to). So my good friend, Sarah, suggested that we come over and have our sale at her house. It's a perfect location, right off of a main road, and in the middle of two busy intersections. So we took her up on her offer, and held our yard sale last Saturday. We actually had so much stuff, that we decided it would be best to rent a small U-Haul to transport everything over to her house. That way, we wouldn't have to borrow a truck, and then have to take several trips back and forth (even though it's only about a mile away). We took everything over to her house on Friday night, and stored it all in the garage until the morning. Our plan way to return at 6:00 AM to set up the sale, and then to (hopefully) be ready for our first customers by 7:00. After we literally filled her entire garage with loot, we began hanging signs at every intersection within about a 2 mile radius. It was late, and we were tired...so our signs turned out kind of dippy. Sayings like biggest and best yard sale EVER, amazing yard sale, 1,000's of items - which somehow morphed into BILLIONS of items, and then there was HUGE yard sale, and yard sale: DON'T miss this one... anyway, these sayings, and others, adorned the giant neon green posters which were plastered all over the city. In the morning when we pulled into Sarah's neighborhood (at 6:00 am), at least three cars (die hard bargain hunters) pulled up behind us. We were dying because nothing was out yet...we had planned on at least an hour set-up time. We frantically began pulling stuff out, and did our best to set up shop, but the customers were literally just pouring in. It felt like a really bad dream, you know, the kind where you have a really important event or commitment (like maybe the first day of school, or a job interview, or maybe it's your wedding day), and you totally sleep through your alarm, or you get stuck in traffic, etc. I just hate the feeling of not being prepared for something. It was a mad house, but after about two hours, we finally had all of our items on display. We had a large rolling rack (a purchase we made a few years ago - specifically for all the yard sales we'd be holding through the years) which housed all the clothing. And then all the shoes were displayed in perfect rows on a tarp near the rolling rack. Apart from our clothing department, we had a section for holiday decorations, an electronics department, a section which housed nothing but office supplies, a housewares department, a section for appliances, home decor, textiles, movies and cd's... I mean really...you name it - we had it (oh, except for golf balls, and an electronic train...just a few odd requests here and there). Everything was so easy to find, too, because of the way we set up our schematics...(Can you tell I worked in retail for 10 years?) When all was said and done, and after we payed for the U-Haul, we ended up bringing home over $900.00. We laugh because we don't even shop garage sales, but have managed to have three ridiculously successful sales ourselves. And it's funny, because our top priced item was a mere $15 bucks...seriously, everything else was around a dollar, maybe two...or even .50!



A few things we have done, which I think are key: 1) Ensure that everything is neat and organized...making it more shoppable. (Who likes to dig through boxes of junk?) 2) Along those same lines, dust off and wipe down your items. They have a better chance of selling if they look nice and clean. 3) Try to have everything out on display. We always have several tables, rolling racks, shelves, and tarps to display our items. 5) Location is important. (Thank you so much, Sarah!). 4) Advertise. There are several websites that offer free advertising...and be sure to put up posters, too. 5) Have a good time with your customers. John is the best at that. He can pretty much sell anyone on anything, just because of his winsome personality. I should also mention that he's a born salesman.

So anyway, after three lucrative sales in a row, we decided to go into business. No not really, but we did think it would be fun to have a yard sale every two or three years. Things accumulate so fast; and before we even realize it, we have way more than we need (or even want). I think it feels so good to simplify, declutter, de-junk, and reorganize...and it feels even better making some extra cash in the process.

11 comments:

ahe said...

so cool. i wish i could have shopped your stuff. i am sure there was some awesome stuff.

natalie eve said...

o my heck nicole!!! that is ridiculous! who makes that much money at garage sales? my crap never sells so i just end up giving it to d.i.

congrats!!!

i wish i could have came to see this amazing display... sounds like you guys should start a garage sale business.

and the signs were hilarious. 'BILLIONS of items!'

Jon and Ashlyn Ellsworth said...

Were Colleen and Dallas the first ones that were waiting for you? Colleen took me "treasure hunting" a few weeks back. I have never been to a garage sale and she wanted me to go so bad! Its amazing what odds and ends you find! I wish I would've gone to yours. I bet you had great stuff ;)

Kim said...

You guys are so good at sales. We are planning to have one soon and I hope it is even half as successful as yours!!

KellyB said...

DARN!! YOUR garage sale is one I would FOR SURE be at!! Sheesh! You need to tell me these things and have a personal shopper or VIP shopping before it.. for me! hehe.

The Heaps said...

WOW! That is one successful garage sale. I know who to come to the next time Justin and I need to de-junk!

sarahtuckett said...

i would like to testify.... that the "billions of items" was really true! We really had a fun day!

shannon said...

ooooh, I love to have yard sales too but like you.. I don't shop em either. The one thing that I don't like about them though.... is that. I bought that stuff thinking I needed it and 1,2,3 years later.. I sell it for 1/3 of it's price or much less. What did I need that for.. hmmmm. I think I'll think my next purchases over a little bit better. Congrats on your great return.
I've had so much fun looking at your past month of entries on here.. your pictures just get better n better.
Oh you and your family or so darn cute! ENJOY.. they grow up sooo fast.

diana said...

i still don't think i can ever forgive you for forgetting to inform me of your upcoming sale... how could you? just think, you could've made $910.... it's your loss.

Celeste said...

You are too funny Nicole. That is so great. If I ever have a garage sale you are hired as my coach :)

Danielle said...

That's an insane amount of money for a yard sale! Holy cow! That's freakin' awesome, though!