KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
January 28, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
From post lock-down decluttering to pre-move toss out, many Katy families host garage sales to purge and profit. Aside from welcoming early morning shoppers and haggling over prices, residents have added pandemic safety measures to their garage sale plans.
Turning Pandemic Cleaning Into Profit
The pandemic forced families indoors, granting them more time to clean and take stock of their personal inventory. This isolation provided an opportunity to de-clutter. Now, as warmer weather approaches, it’s time to let that excess go.
The increase of garage sale signs indicates that residents are ready to part with their treasures.
“We were out on at 7:15 on a Saturday,” says Kat Moore. “There were a lot of people out early, even in the rain.”
Moore says there were a lot of men out early looking for bigger ticket items, probably to resell. She didn’t see children, so toys and stuffed animals didn’t sell.
“We ended up donating most of our unused stuff,” says Moore.
The garage sale wasn’t a success for them, but she knows why.
“I de-clutter pretty regularly so we didn’t have as much to sell,” says Moore.
Taking Pandemic Precautions
Planning a garage sale can be overwhelming, especially during a pandemic. A large gathering of strangers requires taking extra precautions.
In addition to wearing masks, sellers should consider wearing gloves while handling money. Buyers can also be handed a bag to collect their purchases to reduce close contact.
At Moore’s garage sale, she noted, “Everyone wore masks and we had a ton of hand sanitizer out.”
Setting Up for Success
When organizing a garage sale, make a plan and commit. To get more attention, neighbors often organize as a group and promote “multi-family” selling events. Several subdivisions in Katy also host community garage sales once or twice a year.
Advertise - Promote your garage sale on neighborhood pages and Facebook, and post signs leading to your home.
Open early - People shop early for the best deals. Garages sales typically wrap after lunch.
Set up the night before – Stage your items inside the garage and pull them down the driveway in the morning.
Use signs and price tags – Label all items with a price sticker.
Make change - Have small bills and coins available for making change, and keep the money close at all times.
Offer electronic payments - For big ticket items, accept payment through sites like Venmo and PayPal.
Expect to negotiate - Rarely will someone pay the asking price.
Price items in groups - Make it easy for you and buyers by setting like items together and include a sign with the price.
Organize Clothes - Hang clothes on a rack if possible, and sort them by gender and sizes to attract shoppers.
Provide bags - reuse the plastic bags from the supermarket for buyers to carry their purchases.
Have a plan - If items don’t sell, donate or put them out for the trash.
Garage Sales Rise Following Real Estate Boom
Aside from decluttering, the pandemic has inspired (or forced) many Katy families to move. The local real estate market has skyrocketed, however most families are relocating within Katy.
Now empty nesters, the Bucher family built a new home in Katy. They realized moving provided a great opportunity to streamline their possessions. They held a garage sale from 8a.m. to 1p.m. on a Saturday and are glad they did.
“I have $300 more than I did before,” says Elizabeth Bucher.
What to Charge?
Baby clothes - $1-$3
Adult clothes - $3-$5
Shoes - $3-$7
Coats - $5-$15
Books - $1-$2 for hardcover, .25-.50 cents for paperback
Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs - $3-$5
Toys and Games - $1-$3
Home décor - $3-$7
Furniture - $10-$30 for low quality and about one-third the original price for good quality
Donating Back-up Plan
Katy is home to many non-profit organizations that accept donations. Before picking a garage sale date, it's important to have a plan of where to donate items that don’t sell.
The goal of the garage sale is to get rid of the clutter and make some money. The best advice: Don’t bring the items back inside.
Learn more about where to drop off remaining garage sale items and how they can support Katy non-profits.