From the way you sort your items to the tidiness of the clothes you're wearing, presentation can be everything when it comes to a garage sale. That's why it's vital for you to clean up the garage, yard, and/or driveway you'll be using for your sale. Think it's okay to leave piles of dead leaves everywhere? Think again! Here are some reasons and tips for tidying up.
Seeing last year's yard much may just gross you customers out. When they drive up to your sale, you want them to be drawn in by the cleanliness of your property -- something that may indicate well-treated items of good, sound quality. If you've got piles of dirt and grime lying around, they may subconsciously think that you treat your items the same way you treat your property, and not even bother to get out of the car. In retail, it's good business for employees to run about straightening the merchandise and tidying up the store; it's the same way at a garage sale.
Dirt and dead leaves aren't just a problem for customers -- it's rude to your items! You don't want to be setting backpacks you're trying to sell on top of wet mulch full of insects who would be thrilled to crawl inside the pockets, or having the shiny lawnmower hidden in the tall grass it should have mowed a long time ago. Consider your merchandise and your customers both when preparing to clean your property.
When is it best to start cleaning? Unless you're afraid the area is going to get messy again within a few days, you can probably work on it the weekend before yard sale weekend. Then you can use the day or two beforehand to straighten up and get any last-minute bits you missed.
Garages are perhaps the easiest to clean of dirt and muck. Tidying up your garage is a different story; and if you're holding your sale under your roof, you want to make sure that only items you want to sell are out in reach of customers. However, grime is easy to get rid of: lug a hose into the garage and turn it on, then create a poor man's version of a pressure washer by putting your finger partway over the end of the hose; the water will now come out harder in the places it can squeeze through. Most garages have concrete floors, so it's a cinch to just hose everything right out the door and into the gutter.
Start cleaning your yard by mowing the grass. An overgrown lawn full of weeds isn't appealing at all, and makes you look neglectful. Next, if there are lots of dead leaves scattered throughout, go ahead and rake them into a pile before plopping them into a big garbage bag. Green looks much better than brown! Also, if you've got some major patches of dirt or mud, mark them with a makeshift caution sign so customers know where their shoes would get dirty.
You can hose down your driveway like you did your garage, if there are large patches of grime. However, for moss and weeds, you may want to invest in some weed killing spray and hit it a few weeks before the sale. (Hey, it's a chance to up your property value a bit!) Depending on how informal you want your presentation to be, you can even spruce up your driveway a bit by investing in a little sidewalk chalk and having your kids draw some welcoming pictures at the end.
How do you tidy up before a garage sale? Share with us in the comments!