There are all kinds of people in this world and when you host a garage sale, you need to be prepared to have them come into your life...in fact, you need to remember you invited them.
Be prepared to payback a blessing for a curse - people will inevitably find something to complain about. I was surprized by the comments people made.
"This is all you got?" Mind you, this was on our first day.
"You need to put more signs up - It was impossible to find you."
"Your lettering on your sign is too small. You should only use black and white on your signs" -(I used florescent paper with black marker - then black on white printing)
"Where's the coffee and donuts." - My kids had a lemonade stand set up.
"Your garage is falling apart."
"You must be rich."
"I always thought, if my old lady ever kicked me out, those lilac bushes over there, (right next to my house) would be a good place to sleep." CREEPY!!!!!!
"Where are the rest of the sales" - um, multifamily means that multiple families are participating in this sale, not that there is a block sale.
People (probably teenagers) will play tricks. Fortunate for us, my husband came home for lunch on the 2nd day of our sale and discovered that SOMEONE turned one of our signs to direct people the wrong way. He was able to fix it, but it's probably worth checking on your signs once in a while to make sure they are still pointing towards your sale.
ALL SALES FINAL, CASH ONLY. I was surprized how many people want to pay by check or even said they would return something the next day if it didn't work out. This isn't a store, so I made sure I had signs up that indicated ALL SALES are FINAL and I only accepted cash.
Know when to pack up. Our sale was AMAZING on our first day (Wednesday). I barely had a minute to make lunch, help my kids in the bathroom, or sit down myself and rest. As the week progressed, traffic to our sale was lighter and lighter....and by the end we got a lot of drive-by lookers and few people who actually stopped to get out. I think I made $3 the last day. I decided to pack up at noon, call it quits and rejoice in the victory of selling a few things that I was planning on donating anyway. All in all, we made enough (and so did my friends how participated with me) to make it all worthwhile, but it was quite a bit of work.
Start planning early. I started putting stuff together for this sale over a year ago and I'm so thankful I did. If you start labeling things for the sale, or at the very least putting them in boxes and getting them into the garage is definately the way to go. It was easy to set up the tables quickly and get started. The longest part was making and figuring out where to set up the signs and what to write in the ad on craigslist. But now that I have signs made, it should be easy to re-use them in the future.
Have food, but be prepared for competition. I kind of had the garage sale so my kids could have their first lemonade stand. We live on a block that doesn't get much traffic normally, so I figured a garage sale would bring potential customers for my kids to practice their sales and interactions. It worked and they sold quite a bit of Lemonade for 25cents a cup, Rice Krispie treats and granola bars for 50 cents each and a couple popsicles. However, we also discovered the neighbor kids one block up thought they would also take advantage of the new traffic and opened their own lemonade stand. We didn't mind, but it was a good lesson for my kids to see that others might copy what they are doing.
All in all, we had a good time, but I'm glad it's done. Our normal schedule was totally thrown off and I have a feeeling it's going to take a few days to get back into the swing of things. I'm not sure my 3 year old will ever nap again after missing so many afternoon naps in a row. Oh, well....it was fun and a learning experience.