Garage sales as school fundraisers?  You bet!  Garage sales, also known as yard sales, are exciting to have and fun to visit. They’re always in great demand because people love to find bargains. And now, with the growing popularity of the Internet, lots of folks make a full time income from scouring garage/yard sales, so they can resell the gems they find on online auctions such as eBay.

If you’ve ever had a garage sale or have ever been to one, you know that everyone has lots of stuff that they no longer want or need. At first glance it may seem that holding a garage sale won’t raise much money, but if done correctly, these types of events can be excellent school fund raisers. The key is in the details and the preparation.

You can search through your attic, basement, self storage and garage for items you no longer need, but why stop there? Take it to the next level by soliciting donations from family, friends and neighbors, and make sure you let them know that any money you make will go toward your fund raiser. That will make it much more likely that they’ll donate items, since they know that you won’t be profiting from it personally.

When to have it

Spring and fall are good times to have a garage sale fund raiser because they coincide with household cleaning and moving.

If possible, let people know several months in advance about your fund raiser, so that they don’t throw out or otherwise dispose of their used items. A lot of people regularly give old clothes, toys and household items to charities such as Good Will. These items would be perfect for your garage sale fund raiser.

If you live in an area with little traffic or that is difficult to reach, hold your school fund raiser at someone else’s house—preferably someone who lives near a busy street.

garage-saleThe right thing to do

Volunteer to pick up all donations. Don’t expect people to donate their items and deliver them to you also.

Preparation and security

While your fund raiser is running, you will need a cashbox with a lock, lots of change for people who arrive with only large bills, and a notebook to record all transactions. Never leave the cashbox unattended.

Have friends or relatives help with your garage sale fund raiser. They can help keep the area neat and attractive as merchandise gets sold, help carry and pack items for customers, assist customers when you’re busy with someone else, answer questions, etc. This will also let you keep an eye on the cashbox so it doesn’t magically disappear.

Plus, the more people you have there, the more interest it generates for your fund raiser. People go where the action is, and having several people standing around makes it look as though there’s lots of interest in your sale.

Extra money

To generate additional contributions, sell donated baked goods and drinks to shoppers.

A first-class sale

Use high quality signs purchased from a sign shop or use a good printer to produce them with big, bright letters. Shoddy signs give the message of shoddy merchandise. Some hardware stores sell garage sale sign kits.

Put signs out at all nearby intersections. Include the date and time of your sale and be sure to remember to pick up the signs after your garage sale fund raiser is over, to maintain your neighborhood good will.

More information

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