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Garage Sale Time!

Garage Sale Time!

The warm weather is here and no doubt your neighborhood is as full of garage-sale signs on the weekends as mine is. And a couple of Saturdays ago, the signs pointed to my house. It's an annual tradition. Every year I invite a group of friends to bring their castoffs and we spend the day hanging out in my yard, catching up—and making a few bucks while we get rid of stuff we don't want anymore.

This year's sale was our biggest success ever. It's clear people are looking for bargains, and our customers were buying everyday items like dishes, housewares, jewelry, and clothes. Furniture is always fast to go, especially when you price a good-sized dresser at $15. My friend Jon even unloaded four boxes of "Star Trek" episodes on VHS, along with a cabinet to display them.

I'll let you in on a few of our yard sale secrets:

Signage is key. I use bright green poster board and big arrows pointing the way from the main street nearby. A few customers told me they were on the way somewhere else, but they couldn't resist following the signs.

Skip the paid classified ad and use Craigslist.org, which is free. That's where I list some of the items that might draw buyers: a queen-size mattress and box spring, books, the "Star Trek" videos.

Group like items together. The furniture goes front and center, along with tables of candles, vases and other eye-catching decorative items; there's a sports section with golf clubs and free weights, a books and movies corner, a jewelry table, a clothes rack with men's and women's clothes separated, kids' stuff in one section. We even have a free box, where we put random items like Mardi Gras beads, free T-shirts from charity races, stuff like that.

Price to sell, and don't hesitate on a lower offer. Remember, the point is to get rid of the items. And I take some satisfaction in knowing they're going to a good home. We sold lots of stuff for 25 cents, 50 cents, and it adds up fast.

By early afternoon, traffic usually dwindles, and so we started packing up. Any leftovers got boxed up for a local charity, and the signs came down. By 4 p.m. we had fired up the grill and toasted our success as we divvied up the money.

By Jody Rohlena

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