*I was not compensated in any way for this post*
Have you ever had a garage sale before?
If you have then you know all of the prep work that is involved. Deciding on the dates, preparing and labeling the items, hanging them up by size or displaying them by size on tables, advertising, getting change ready and then sitting back and waiting for customers to arrive and praying the weather cooperates. Then the inevitable happens, “You will take $.25 for this?” and they are holding an item you priced for $2. Or it turns out to be cold and rainy! Welcome to running a garage sale.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a great garage sale because you never know what you will find. However, when it comes to having one to sell the items my kids no longer need or have outgrown, I will no longer hold a garage sale and I’m honestly to the point I won’t shop garage sales to find clothing or items for my kids and I’ll tell you why.
I’m very particular when I have my own sale and at mine, organization is key. I’ve shopped many garage sales in my life and I don’t like un-organization. If you as a seller can not take the time to organize the kids clothing instead of throwing everything into a mound on a table and putting up a one size fits all pricing system, I won’t sort through the clothing. I don’t have the time or patience. Throughout the years I’ve had customers compliment us on our garage sales because everything is clean and organized. Believe me when I say people REALLY appreciate it!
One of the additional reasons I’m starting to dislike garage sales is because people think that just because they live in a certain housing addition or part of a city that they can price their items $3-$5 more PER ITEM for something I can buy cheaper at the actual store ESPECIALLY when the item is used AND is stained and/or worn out. Just because you live in a $500,000 plus home doesn’t mean your worn out, stained and faded clothing is worth more.
Another reason I’m starting to dislike garage sales for kids clothing is because of the sellers who think they can put out soiled and worn out stuff and price it just as high as brand new stuff. When I have items that are soiled or really worn out, I either give it to my husband for rags in the garage or we donate it to a local thrift store as they accept those and use them for various things (not reselling them). I don’t put them out at a garage store. And because of the sellers who put out items that are full of cigarette smoke or pet hair. I don’t care if you smoke, that is your own personal business. But I’ve got allergies and if I walk into a garage that I can smell the smoke and it’s infused the clothing, I will walk away and not buy anything. As far as the pet hair goes, I have dogs and you will probably find a hair or two in our stuff when we put it out. However with that being said, if it looks like your dog or cat rolled all over the clothing, I won’t buy it either.
Probably my number one reason I’m starting to dislike garage sales is false advertising. If I’m driving 15/20 minutes to a garage sale, especially when gas is close to $3 a gallon, your advertisement better be valid. Last summer, there was a garage sale advertising they had LOTS of American Girl stuff . Now if you are into American Girl, you know that stuff is hard to find at a garage sale. So when I mapped it out it was a good 20 minute drive from our place. But I thought we would take the chance. I even planned it so we arrived literally when they said they would open. Wanna guess how many items they had of AG????? ONE! ONE OUTFIT! A friend of mine went with me and we asked the seller, “Did you have an early buyer who bought everything but one outfit? Is that all you have left?” Any guess as to the seller’s response????? “No. I only had the one outfit and I KNEW THAT WOULD BRING CUSTOMERS to our sale”! Are you kidding me? We turned around and left. Please don’t advertise something you only have one of. Especially something like American Girl! And don’t say you have BRAND NAME CLOTHING when you don’t. Just because you have one piece of brand name clothing and the rest is from Target, Walmart, or JCPenney’s that doesn’t mean it’s brand name. Brand name is more along the lines of Hollister, Gap, American Eagle, Buckle, Rock Revival, Miss Me, Express, Aero, Pac Sun, etc. Just say you have Juniors clothing or girls clothing between such and such size.
False advertising may get customers in BUT they probably won’t be buying anything either.
Of course if friends of mine are holding garage sales, I will stop by and usually buy stuff from them. But as far as anyone else, nope. My friends are just like me and have organization, things priced reasonably, and nothing stained or torn or smelly!
Now as far as to why I won’t have anymore garage sales is because of some of the people we have had to deal with. We have had to actually put up a sign and display it in several locations throughout our garage or my in-laws garage stating there were no public restrooms and no returns!
I know some of you were just like, “Why would you have to tell people there are NO public restrooms in your home”? Believe me when I say you would be amazed at the number of people you ask if they can use your bathroom! I’m sorry but unless I know you or I’m related to you, you will NOT be allowed to come into my home to use my bathroom. That’s just gross and unsafe for my family. I understand you are out driving around and will be walking around a lot but the fact there are no bathrooms there is not my problem.
The second reason the signs had to go up was because there was a customer who bought a pillow who wanted to return it. Now, this customer came in and looked around the first morning of the sale. The customer picked up an embroidered holiday pillow and started carrying it around like they wanted to purchase it. When they had looked around, they came over and asked if we would take $.10 for a pillow that was marked $3. Yes, $.10 (ten cents). We were like “no”. Then they kept asking if we would take $.25 for it. So my Mother-in-law decided to accept the $.25 as she hoped they would enjoy it during the holidays as she had. The backstory on the pillow is that it costed her a whole lot more than that and she had only displayed it for one holiday season. Ok, so literally an hour, YES ONE HOUR later, the customer came back. They had changed their mind and wanted their $.25 back. Yes really. We relented and took the pillow back and gave the $.25 back. There was nothing wrong with it, they just didn’t want it. For a $.25 (quarter) and for the time it took to drive back, the gas it took and the wear and tear, just pitch it in the trash! With that being said, if someone bought an electronic item for $5/$10 and they took it home and it didn’t work and they came back and showed us, then absolutely we would give them their money back because that was shame on us for not checking it. That is the reason we started having an electrical outlet available for people to check their items before they left. That way we BOTH knew it was in working order.
Another reason I will no longer have a garage sale for my kids stuff is because a few years ago a children’s consignment sale came to a city near us and I now consign all of our kids items with them. They run the sale twice a year and it’s easy peasy. You price and sort your items, you drop them off, they sell them, you can elect to pick up the items that didn’t sale or you can have them donate them. You can watch what is selling throughout the sale and in about 2/3 weeks later, you receive a check for the items you sold minus a 40% commission they keep. I know some of you just said, “How much commission”? I know it sounds high but considering they do all of the setup, work, selling and advertising, I consider it money well spent! It’s always indoors so you don’t have to worry about rain, you can charge a set price and people pay that and they can not ask for the price to be lower and they accept credit cards! And if you volunteer, you can earn 5% more for each shift you work.
I’ve always done very well with the consignment sales and I’ve also found some amazing items there. Everything is sorted, organization, not covered in pet hair or smelling of smoke and it’s all in one location in lieu of driving all over to different garage sales.
Bi-annual children’s consignment sales/resales are becoming more and more the way to buy and sell your children’s items. Ours even allows Maternity and Women’s clothing as long as it’s in fashion.
To find out if there is a children’s resale near you, just run it through your favorite search engine and see what pops up.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”