Written by Curtis Honeycutt and re-posted here with his permission.
We held a massive adoption garage sale back in May (2013) to raise funds for our adoption. This was a huge undertaking. We had people donate stuff for a month or so leading up to the sale, and we got to the point where we felt like we were living in a hoarder’s house (minus the cats and garbage).
In total, we raised around $3,000 through our adoption garage sale. Seriously. Here’s how we did it and how you can do it too:
- Get as much stuff as you possibly can. Have people donate like crazy. Ask for donations on your blog, on Facebook, Twitter, at work, at church, etc. We had so much stuff.
- Many neighborhoods hold annual garage sales. We planned our sale to coincide with our neighborhood’s. Our house is on the main drag, so we got really good traffic.
- We used a Square card reader to accept credit cards. You can order one for free from square.com or just borrow ours. They send you a plastic credit card swiper that plugs into the headphone jack of your phone and have a very intuitive app for smartphones and iPads. You just have to set up an account and then they take a 2.75% cut. We advertised that we accepted cards on Craigslist and on our signs. This sounds kind of techy, but don’t be intimidated by it. This was a slam dunk.
- Make an exhaustive Craigslist ad with good photos. We even linked from our Craigslist ad to our blog for more photos. People search on Craigslist for specific items, and if you have that item listed on your post, they’ll find it and come to your sale ready to buy.
- Have someone set up a lemonade, soda, or coffee stand. Bonus points if it’s a cute kid.
- Place items strategically near the curb for maximum visibility. We had a crib, some leather chairs, and some other furniture we put near the curb. It all sold.
- Make bright and bold signs and put them on every street corner and in your neighborhood. You can’t have too many.
- We had lots of friends helping, probably 4-6 at a time, especially for set up and tear down each day. Our friends were all stars by helping out.
- We had a big poster board sign on our garage explaining that it was a fundraiser to help us bring our child home from Ghana. Because of this, we had a few people give donations, including one lady who handed Carrie $100. Total stranger. We were blown away.
- Hope for the best weather, but plan for the worst. We prayed for months leading up to our sale that the weather would be great. Friday brought us beautiful weather in spite of a stormy forecast. On Saturday, however, we did get very wet. But we planned ahead and lined up 2 canopies from some friends and scrambled to cover other tables with tarp. The storm passed and we dried things off. No harm done.
- We gave everyone working at the adoption garage sale nametags that said “Garage Sale Staff”. It helped identify them.
- Did we mention our friends were awesome? We would challenge them to sell a specific item, and they would do exactly that. We bought breakfast and lunch for them on both days.
- Price things to move! Since we had such a large quantity of stuff, we kind of took the Wal-Mart approach. Everything must go. We didn’t budge *as much* on some of our big ticket items, but we did make some deals. It’s key to sell your big stuff but, at the same time, it’s important to move large quantities of the smaller items. Do both and you’ll have a good thing going.
- On the afternoon of day 2, we marked everything down to 50% off. We told everyone who walked up and gave people some pretty sweet deals. But, hey, that’s money we didn’t have before the sale, and it all adds up.
- Allow people to make some weird deals with you. We had a very cool air hockey table and a mini foosball table. One of our friends suggested an interested family bundle the two items and they took them off our hands. We were so glad because that air hockey table was the size of a Mini Cooper.
- We had some friends come pick through our house before we had everything sorted. This “pre-sale” probably brought in close to $100.
- We sold some items on eBay, including some higher-end shoes, a Seven Dwarfs figurine set, and a jacket. The coolest thing we had donated to us was a set of original comics from World War II. Our pastor gave us a stack of 70 drawings from various comic artists who were based at Basic Training Camp #9 in Miami Beach during the war. I ended up selling half of them (all by the same artist) to the University of Pittsburgh for $500, and pieced out the rest of the collection for an additional $100. I realize we got lucky to receive a donation like this, but if you can cast a vision for why you’re asking people for donations, they just might give you something special.
- At the end of the sale, reclaim your house and garage. We took extra baby items to a local baby pantry, extra adult clothes and shoes to a local organization who helps families in need, and the rest went directly to Goodwill. We did hold onto a few items we thought we could sell elsewhere, but everything else had to go so we wouldn’t feel like hoarders anymore.
Our garage sale was absolutely exhausting, but, with help from people donating stuff and good friends lending a hand to help with the sale, we had a killer garage sale fundraiser.
What worked well at your adoption garage sale that you would add to this list?
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