*Originally written a month ago…
Garage sales are no joke. It has been 3 days since we had ours and I am finally starting to feel half alive again. However, when it comes to fundraising, garage sales are AMAZING. I really think it is so worth all of the aches, pains, tears, sweat, blood….have I scared you yet?
We held our adoption garage sale the first weekend of summer. The weather ended up being decent. That was a relief considering it rained the night before and was still raining while we were trying to set-up. Satan was certainly busy that whole week. He attacked every possible aspect of our lives, BUT we knew that he wouldn’t win. To us it was just affirmation that God was going to bless this sale in awesome ways. And He did.
Post about your garage sale on Craigslist. Post about it in local garage sale pages on Facebook. Post about it on your personal feed and ask people to share it. I cannot tell you how many people came because they saw a post that friends shared. If you are creative, design a flyer that catches your eye. It will make your sale unique and will draw interest. I added it into our craigslist posting and all of our Facebook posts. Be sure to highlight items that you have that you think will draw a crowd. We always find that toys, baby stuff, and tools are what people are looking for.
ASK FOR DONATIONS
We posted on Facebook about needing donated items and wow. We had so many responses. We even had to turn some down sadly due to circumstances. People want to help. Guaranteed many of your friends and family have piles that they need to get rid of and would happily give them to you instead of taking them to the local Goodwill. Do be prepared that you will likely have to pick most of it up. We were SO thankful to the people that dropped their stuff off because it was seriously exhausting driving all over 2 different cities to pick up items. However, we were more than willing to do it since it meant more stuff and more money to bring our babies home. Also, have a place to store stuff. Be ready to give up your garage for awhile. We started asking for donations over a month before the garage sale. We would then have pick-up days to grab stuff…this worked well for us since we live 30 minutes away from where we were having our sale. Promise me you won’t have your sale 30 minutes away from your house. Just trust me on that.
ASK FOR HELP
This right here is where I failed in some ways. We actually had quite a few friends that live hours away that asked to help, but clearly we would not ask that of any of them! We were so thankful for their offers though! I did ask my mom and grandma to watch the kids the two days of the sale. There is no way we could have done it without babysitters. Josh also used leave time to be able to help me on Friday. However, the week of and the weeks prior, Josh was SO busy with work. He would help pick up heavy items, but other than that we did not seem him. It was terrible timing. This meant the week of the sale I was driving 30 minutes into town to bring items to my parent’s house (where the sale was) and to attempt to sort it. Attempt truly is a good word. There truly was not a lot I could do with limited spaced, heavy items, and two kids to keep track of. They truly were troopers. I needed help. I should have asked. I am bad at asking for help, can you tell? See if you can find a friend that can help you with set-up. I know of one family that had a sale and they had many friends sign up to take shifts. If you have friends that offer that, don’t say no! You’ll need a break.
As annoying as it is, please try to make your sale two days if possible. Friday and Saturday. Apparently not all states have Friday garage sales, but ours does, and it was by far the biggest money maker. It was so busy and we made over half our amount that day. It was so annoying to set-up two days in a row, and we could hardly move that second day, but it still was worth it. Many of our friends who weren’t able to come Friday were able to come out Saturday. We were so thankful for their support!
50% OFF! EVERYTHING MUST GO!
On the second day of the sale, it’s time to start moving items out. You don’t want to be stuck hauling everything back or storing everything. Unless you are having another sale, then by all means you can skip this tip. Around lunchtime your crowds are going to disappear. You can take this time to eat and re-organize. Then make a sign that says 50% off or something of that sort. Also, as people arrive, greet them and let them know that everything is half off. They will be more inclined to shop longer if they know they can get better deals. You can ever offer for them to fill a bag for $5. People love a good deal.
Not everyone will care that your garage sale is fundraising for an adoption. However, most will. Have a sign that makes it evident that you are fundraising for your adoption. Have information about the place you are adopting from (if you are adopting out of the country). If you know who your child is, have a picture of them! We had many people ask about our kids (which, for us, lead into deeper conversations about the process and why we don’t know who are children are yet). We also put up a green poster board that said, “Adoption Fundraiser Sale!” Just to draw their attention to it as soon as they walked up. Don’t be afraid to mention it while you are talking to people. I am not a salesperson AT ALL, but I do know that when I am at a garage sale I am focused on the stuff and nothing else. I would hate to miss out on a fundraiser just because no one said anything. Just for bringing that up to one of our “customers” he gave me $20 for a $5 item. Very worth the 20 minute conversation I had with him. I had a photo for this, but it seems to have disappeared from Instagram and my phone. So bummed!
Just like a store has departments, try to set-up “departments” for your sale items. We were limited on table space, but for the most part we had women’s clothing, men’s clothing, kid’s clothing, housewares, kitchen, toys, electronics, and holiday. Then lots of miscellaneous stuff on a few tables. It kept it looking somewhat organized and helped people to shop easier. I had also made fun signs for each category, but sadly they never made it to the sale 😦
Clothes definitely need their own topic. We had tons of donations of clothes. So many that we had to wait for some to sell before putting more out. The bummer about clothes is that they can be hard to sell at a garage sale since people can’t try them on. ESPECIALLY if you don’t have them hanging on racks. We only had one rack and we reserved it for the larger, nice items like coats. The rest were all folded onto tables. For our sale we organized the clothing by type (shirts, pants, athletic wear, etc.). I was unable to sort them by size (there is no way that was humanly possible), but we did try to have a table for XS-XL and then a table for XLL and up. I found that people were able to locate their sizes much quicker this way. Now, our biggest tip. Pricing. Price them low. Trust me, you will make so much more if you price them low. People are willing to take a chance on clothes not fitting if they only pay a little bit. Adult clothing was $1 a piece, BUT you could fill a small grocery bag for $4. Kid’s clothing was $.50 a piece. We didn’t add the bag option until the end with kids clothing because they are easier to sell. Coats were $3. Shoes were $1 (I would even do $2). Accessories were $.50.
Be prepared for what you will do about food. You will be too busy to go pick something up. We ate breakfast before the sale started. We also brought snacks and stuff for sandwiches. My mom was able to pick up meals for us which helped a ton. Otherwise, be prepared to order out…but be aware that it’s a bummer if most of your money goes towards food… Crockpots may have to be your best friend.
SHOP YOUR SALE
We ended up finding things that we had been in search of that people had donated. We felt that it was totally okay to grab those items. Adoption means you aren’t spending a whole lot of money so any penny you can save from free stuff feels amazing. We have been so blessed in this area lately. Josh’s computer chair had broken (I mean it was BROKEN). We were freaking out over the price tags of chairs we were finding and then our amazing friends gave us one for FREE. This isn’t the first time that has happened. However, don’t take stuff just to take it. If you don’t truly need it, put it in the sale. Give it a good home and earn more money towards your adoption.
For our second sale we were able to set up a table for Eden to sell lemonade, cookies, and bottled water so that she could help raise money for her brother and sister. People LOVED this. I would say, to actually make money, see if someone would be willing to donate the supplies. Ask people to donate baked goods. That will help offset the costs of getting all of the supplies to sell, that way anything your kids make is purely for your adoption fund!
BRIGHT signs with clear writing. Sadly, my marker was dead when I tried to make signs so they definitely were not so good. And a neighbor pulled off one of our signs so many people probably drove around aimlessly trying to find the sale. But, I knew our bright green signs were obvious and helped many to find us. Most just said, “GARAGE SALE,” or “HUGE SALE,” with a directional arrow. I was planning to put, “Adoption Garage Sale,” but I felt like it may seem more confusing to those not around adoption. The most important tip is to keep the color consistent so people know that they are following signs to YOUR sale.
So, after all of that hard work, how did we do?
I know so many of you are curious!
After totaling everything, including someone who just handed us a donation we did…
$700 (almost to the penny)!
Josh had a goal of $600, and I had gone into it with zero expectations. We are both so happy with the outcome! I know some make thousands, but we felt like it was a great amount
One last tip…
I know I said to try to not have your sale far away from your house. BUT I will say sometimes it is necessary in order to find a better location. IF you have access to a free space…a church building perhaps? Use it!! People are more inclined to go to church sales knowing that they have more stuff. PLUS how awesome is it that you can set your stuff up and then just lock the door at night…no dragging everything back in?!
Did I miss anything? Any more tips anyone would like to add?
**Edited to add…
We actually ended up having one more garage sale at our house. First of all, it was SO much easier having a sale at our own house. Plus all of our items were already price and organized so that helped a ton. Also, it was funny to see what was popular this time around. Our first sale we sold a ton of clothes, books, and kids stuff. This time…it was all really random. Mostly home goods. I would definitely say just take ANYTHING people are willing to donate to your sale, because truly you have no idea what treasures people are looking for!
I don’t have the exact amount, but it looks like we made $900 between the two sales. Our second sale did not do as well, but we only did it on Saturday and it was literally the HOTTEST day. People just weren’t out. We are so happy with the money we have raised so far. We know we still have a looooong way to go, but we are so confident that God will fund what He loves!
Let me know if you have questions!