The Newbie’s Guide to Organizing a Profitable Garage Sale
Yard Sale and Rummage Sale, too! – with plenty of details and advice
A Garage Sale is a great fundraiser to have. However, unless your Assembly has a tradition of having an “Annual” garage sale, it can be hard to get everything planned out and coordinated. Here are some helpful notes and ideas.
First off: Plan your sale EARLY; well before you are installed Worthy Advisor. Many households will just donate their old items and clothes to Goodwill (or a similar organization) towards the end of the year, to use the receipts for a tax writeoff.
Timeline: (assuming you are having a garage sale in July; adjust as you see fit to accommodate your sale)
Send home a note with each member, informing their families how much it would be appreciated if they would please set aside their donations of old clothes, books, toys, and other items for the Assembly’s garage sale in July, and that further details will follow after your Installation. If your Assembly has a newsletter and/or a website, submit the information there as well.
Post an eye-catching notice on the bulletin board asking the adults to please set aside old clothes, books, etc. for your garage sale in the summer. Mention that your Assembly will provide a pick-up service for the items approximately a week before the garage sale, and to contact you or the Mother Advisor for more details. Provide phone numbers. See about submitting this info to the Lodge’s Trestle board, or the Star or Amaranth newsletter as well.
Before a meeting, ask the current Worthy Advisor if you can have a bit of time during New Business to bring up the garage sale. When it’s your turn to speak, inform the girls and adults that you are planning on a garage sale for one of your fundraisers, and that you hope they can save up their old and used items for the sale. Also, ask if anyone lives in an area (block, community, neighborhood, etc.) that has an Annual Garage Sale that any home in the area can be a part of, or if anyone lives in an area that is on a large street, or right off one, that might be willing to “host” the sale, which would consist of a Friday evening set-up, and Saturday sale. Write down any offers from girls or adults, and follow up on them (sometimes a girl will say yes, but Mom or Dad will say NO).
If you’re going to have it at the Masonic Hall vs. a private home, find out who you have to talk to for permission, what any costs/rules would be, would you be able to use the tables, etc.
late March/early April
Start looking in the classified section of the newspaper, and perhaps the Pennysaver, for Garage Sale ads. See how they’re listed, and which items come first (example: some papers list “AAAAA” first, others list “A Sale” first). See what prices are for a basic ad, and what adding on an icon (like a starburst, arrow, or “L@@k!”) would cost. Find out who will pay for this ad; your family, the Board, the Parents/Boosters Club, or the Assembly.
Choose the date for your sale. Make sure it isn’t on a holiday weekend, when people are likely to be out of town. Also, if your city has an annual festival (Bean Festival, Chocolate Festival, etc.), that probably isn’t a good time to have a sale. (Unless your sale happens to be located right near the festival grounds.)
Finalize a location for the garage sale. This can be done during Unfinished Business (ask the Worthy Advisor for permission to speak before the meeting), or by talking on the phone to the people who offered back in Winter. It is probably best to phone them yourself, as a discussion during the meeting could go on for quite a while. Ask the “host” what kinds of tables they have to set things out on, and if the “pick-up” groups can drop stuff off to be stored in their garage the week before the sale. Decide on a time for set-up the day before (example: 7 pm till 8:30 pm). Also ask them if, for the day of the sale, girls can put their lunches and drinks in their fridge. Finally, ask them what hours for the sale are okay with them (some garage sales start at 6:30 am – others at 9). Consider asking if it’s possible to have a few girls to stay the night to deal with any “early birds” that may show up.
Remind the girls about asking their families to continue to set aside items (as now is the traditional “Spring Cleaning” time). Update for newsletter and website. Also, update your bulletin board notice, and resubmit the request to set aside donations for the garage sale to the adult groups’ newsletters. State the date & location of the garage sale, and to call you or the MA at least ten days before the sale to schedule a time for pick-up of their donations. Provide phone numbers.
Tell your MA (or whoever the other contact person is for the pick-ups) to take down the person’s name, phone number, address, if they have anything large or heavy like furniture (or just smaller bags of clothing, boxes of books & other things), and what times/days they will be at home. Remind your parents to do the same if someone calls when you are not home.
early- to mid-June
Talk to the Mother Advisor and/or Board Chair about the cash box for the garage sale. Will money be taken from the Assembly’s account (say, $25), and put in the box in small change, $1’s and $5’s? Will a Board Member or parent who will be there for the opening of the garage sale “loan” the money to the cash box, and be reimbursed at the next meeting?
Phone Goodwill (or a similar organization) and find out about them coming to pick up any “leftovers” from the garage sale you may have. Do they come out that day? Sometime the next week? Do you have to bring the items in?
During a meeting, discuss the Garage Sale, and take signups (girls and adults) for both the set-up, and the sale itself. Break the schedule into shifts (example: 6:30 am setup till 9:30, 9:30 till 12:30, 12:30 till close & cleanup). If needed, ask if any of the girls and adults have folding tables (the long kind, preferably) or portable clothes racks (to hang up dresses, etc.) that can be “borrowed” for the sale. Remind them the items will need to be there for the set-up. Ask if anyone can bring some grocery bags (paper or plastic) to stick purchased items in, and cheap wire hangers to hang clothes from. Finally, ask girls (and adults) if their household has items they’re willing to donate for the garage sale, and if they need any help moving a particularly large or heavy item. Take notes for everything.
Also take signups for “pick-up groups”… girls and adults who can go to houses of the Masons, Star, & Amaranth members who are donating items, load the donations up, and deliver them to the location of the garage sale a few days before the sale.
If needed, post another update on the Masonic Hall’s bulletin board.
Write up an ad for the classified section of your newspaper (and perhaps the Pennysaver). Make sure you submit it in enough time, and that it will be run on the correct dates. (Some newspapers run the ads for two days, so you would want it run Friday and Saturday) Keep it short (less words=less cost), and try to get it listed first, alphabetically. Example: AA Garage Sale! July 21st, 7am-3pm. Clothes, toys, appliances, lots of great misc! 123 W. Maple, 1 block east of School St.
Have a sign-making party at your house. Black magic marker words on florescent posterboard is eye- catching, but stick with lighter colors like yellow and green, maybe pink. You can probably get two or three signs per piece of posterboard. Keep them simple, with easy-to-read print. “Garage Sale, Sat. 7/21 – 7AM-3PM, 123 W. Maple” and an arrow pointing the correct direction will work. Tip – don’t put the arrowhead on until you’re ready to hang the sign, so it can be used either direction.
Find out if there are any city ordinances about hanging signs for garage sales.
Ten days before the sale
Get together with the Mother Advisor (or whoever your other “contact” person was for scheduling pick-ups) and get the entire list of who has items to be picked up, what their addresses are, the times/dates they’re available, and what kinds of items there are. Figure out where each “pick-up” is located, and divide them into clusters for each “pick-up group”. Phone each “pick-up group” and give them their list (who, where, when, what, and phone number, in case of problems). Let them know when it’s okay to drop items off at the location for the sale.
Five days before the sale
Have your phone committee call the girls a