How to Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale

by Contributor

Organizing a garage sale in your neighborhood is one way to promote camaraderie with your neighbors. It is a good way to make money out of items that you and your neighbors may not have any use for, but will be useful to others. Better yet, it can help everyone in the neighborhood get organized while earning some cash.

Gather your neighbors for a meeting. You may want to start with your block or street. If you're friendly and outgoing you may have already met and known some of them on first name basis. Drop an invitation in their mailboxes to come to your place at a given date and time to discuss having a block or neighborhood garage sale.

Make sure your invitation will already give some ideas on what you want to discuss with them. Remember, their time is also precious so you would not want to waste them as much as possible. Indicate on the invitation you want to organize a garage sale for the block or neighborhood and that if they are interested they can come to your meeting to discuss details and logistics.

During the meeting discuss things and tasks that are needed to be accomplished and assign each one.

Decide on a date. It is advisable to have a garage sale on a sunny day, usually springtime. People tend to want to be outside more on a warm or sunny day; chances are you will have more foot traffic when you do it on a sunny day. Another thing to consider is doing it on a weekend instead of a weekday since most people go to work on weekdays and are off on weekends. This will be something everyone will have to agree on.

Time frame. Consider the time frame in picking out the date for a neighborhood garage sale. If you will be putting out an advertisement, you may need time to submit it for publication. It is advisable to give at least a week's notice and then have another one made for the day itself for people who read papers before going to garage sales.

Placards and signs. Your neighborhood may want to hang signs and placards a few days before your scheduled garage sale. Remember to ask your local authority of any restrictions on putting up signs and placards on public areas. Some cities have strict ordinances, so be mindful of those. Also if you put them up, you should be responsible to take them down. So remember the areas where you placed them for you may be issued a ticket for some sort of vandalism if you leave your signs and placards for days after the garage sale had passed. All of these are tasks that can be tasked, make sure that it is assigned during the meeting.

Permit. Ask your local authority if you need a permit if the whole block or neighborhood will do a garage sale. If your area is known for high traffic, the influx of vehicles in your area may cause additional traffic and headaches to commuters. This is another task that can be assigned.

Once you have cleared permits and done your advertisements, it is now time to prepare for the garage sale. Make sure your neighbors who will participate are aware of the things they can sell at a garage sale. Pretty much anyone can sell any of their personal items with the exception of few ones like firearms and illegal items like pirated videos and CDs. Also, ensure that your neighborhood is aware that what they sell should be limited to personal items only and not to use the garage sale to sell other things for profit, otherwise advise them that sales taxes may need to be filed.

Advise the neighborhood to start marking their items with prices at least two nights before the scheduled garage sale. Tell them also to get their final set up ready by the crack of dawn. This way, you can start selling your items to the "early birds."

Advise your neighborhood to prepare a lot of extra cash on hand, preferably smaller bills and coins to use for change. Although most experienced garage sales hunters bring small dollar bills and plenty of cash with them, it would still be good to have enough on hand in case the buyers run out of small bills and they need to get them changed.

Task different individuals for traffic flow enforcement. Ensure that the cars are not double-parked or parked illegally in areas that are clearly marked as no parking zones. Have someone hold signs to have cars slow down or stopsigns by the cross walk.

Every family in each household can participate in selling their items. You can have a contest just for fun on who can sell their items faster or who can have more dollars in the end. Another way to get the family members involved is to setup a refreshment booth where drinks such as lemonade or bottled water and snacks such as homemade cookies can be sold. These booths can be manned by kids and adults alike. Kids can learn to value hard-earned money and teamwork at an early age if they are exposed to them early in life.

Tips

  • Everyone in the neighborhood can decide to donate the proceeds of the garage sale to charity. Make sure to discuss this in the meeting if this is something they will be open to do. It doesn't have to be the entire sale but portions of proceeds to benefit charities in your city.
  • Donate unsold items. Advise your neighbors to take them to Goodwill or Salvation Army.
  • Your trash can be another man's treasure and vice versa. If you have something in your garage sale items that your neighbor likes, you may want to barter it with an item on your neighbor's garage sale items. This way both of you need not have to shell out cash.
  • Celebrate the success of your neighborhood garage sale with a potluck dinner. You all may want to do this annually if your first experience is a success.

Warnings

  • Do not sell illegal things like pirated videos and CDs.
  • Do not sell hazardous materials.
  • Do not fight with your neighbors during the garage sale, especially when others would prefer to buy your neighbor's items instead of yours. Remember that another reason for organizing a garage sale is to promote harmony and strengthen the bond of your neighborhood.

Items you will need

  • Flyers
  • Items to sell
  • Folding tables and chairs
  • Signs/placards
  • Price tags/stickers
  • Cash in small bills and coins

Photo Credits

  • ladyheartphotos/morguefile