You’re ready for a change. The Newport Jazz Festival poster needs to go. It just doesn’t fit in with the old world ambiance you’re trying to create. The bench you picked up years ago has outlived its usefulness. It’s spring and the nesting instinct has kicked in big time. In a frenzy of activity you begin cleaning out closets, cupboards, drawers, chests, and armoires of unwanted items. With a family room full of unwanted “stuff” you decide to make some cash and have a garage/yard sale. Set your garage sale apart from the average toss stuff on a table sale. Step it up, sell your unwanted treasures at a Shabby Chic Boutique aka garage sale.
A shabby chic boutique garage sale differs from the routine sort of yard sale by presenting items with style and finesse. Create a selling, retail environment and advertise it as such. With imagination, unique displays, and attention to detail you can create a more pleasant garage/yard sale and possibly earn a bit more in the process.
You’ve all ready packed items into boxes ready to put out, but before you go any further, make sure all items are squeaky clean. Nothing says disgusting like dirty merchandise and garage sales are no exception. A recommendation: for the Shabby Chic Boutique forget trying to sell clothes, just pack them up and take them directly to the nearest Good Will or Salvation Army store. Now it’s time to organize in preparation for sale day.
1.Choose a date to give you plenty of time to organize. You’ll need to contact the local authorities to see if a small fee for a permit is required and if it’s permissible to place signs about. Spring tends to be the busiest time for garage and yard sales, but stay away from holiday weekends.
2.Advertise your Shabby Chic Boutique a week in advance using the classified ads in your local newspaper. Include the who, what, where, and when in the ad. Be specific and direct. If you don’t have a garage and renting a tent is out of the question you may want to include a rain date in the ad.
3.Design colorful, sleek fliers proclaiming the day, time, and place of your sale. Put them in supermarket bulletin boards, laundry mats, coffee shops, or any public bulletin board.
4.Place items on tables, stands, or shelves, if you can. Cover the tables with cloths or purchase inexpensive fabric. Use doilies to draw attention to especially pretty dishes, cups or saucers. Look around your home and garage; can you come up with ideas for shelves? A board perched on bricks placed at the back of a table works perfectly. A wooden clothes dryer is great for displaying quilts, comforters, or tablecloths.
5.Create areas of interest with designated spots for kitchenware, decorative items, antiques, a children’s corner, and reading corner. For the children’s corner, if you have a small table and chairs, provide some fun things to keep children busy while mom and dad are browsing. Paper, crayons, puzzles… these items could even be for sale. At the reading corner place a couple chairs with a table between them and a lamp to keep the area well lit. Stack an array of books on the table; perhaps a magazine rack or bookshelf would complete the look.
6.Display with flair. Most garage sales are tables or blankets of stuff placed helter-skelter. Put some thought into how you can get the most from your sale. Don’t just line up chairs going down the drive. Place them in an inviting way that shows off how useful and great they are. Create vignettes. Lean the Newport Jazz Festival print against the wall on a table with the wine glasses you want to rid yourself of clustered to one side. Fill a basket your selling with the artificial grapes that graced the dining table at one time. Try to give the entire area a comfortable, homey feeling. If you have large outdoor items such as tires, tools, etc, place them outside in a logical fashion.
7.Don’t forget you’ll need a check out area. Set it up near the entrance to your boutique. Use a table with a chair or two, have plenty of change, a notebook, pens and a calculator. If there are several people going together for the sale, assign a specific color sticker for each person. Price items with your colored sticker and when it’s bought, remove the sticker from the item and place it on the corresponding page in the notebook with the person’s name and a color sticker as the heading. This quick organizing tool makes it simple and fair to divide the profits at the end of the day. Another option is to wear a carpenter’s apron with pockets for change. Carry a pen and a small notepad to place stickers on pages. This allows you to mingle and keep a close eye on things. You may want to use your extra bags for purchases, keep them at the check out table.
8.An optional detail you might want to include is a pot of hot coffee for early morning shoppers or a pitcher of iced tea or lemonade to offer latecomers. Add a plate of cookies to create a memorable experience.
9.On the day of the sale tie a couple balloons or a big bow on your mailbox to draw attention to your residence. Place a sign that can be read from the street in your yard. Put on a smile and a positive outlook as you proceed through the day selling your unwanted treasures and putting a bit of cash in your pocket.
Just a few suggestions to keep things running smoothly: Have back up help, a neighbor, friend, or spouse. Manning a garage sale alone is a cumbersome task. If you wish to encourage no returns, put up signs stating all sales final. You might also include in the sign… “selling as is” Be willing to haggle. It just might be fun! Do not place empty boxes under tables or where browsers can pick them up. This may encourage shoplifting. If you’re opening your door at 9am do not feel pressured to open sooner just because people are clamoring outside. If you stated clearly in all advertisements that you open at 9am, let them wait. Be prepared and put a positive spin on the day and though it might be a bit more work, you’ll be content with the outcome. Happy selling at your Shabby Chic Boutique garage sale!