Many garage sales have a free box, where what is clearly the previous owner's trash can be discovered as little treasures for some lucky shopper. This article will explain why having a free box is beneficial to any yard sale, both for you and for your customers.
When it comes to the pricing stage, you're already going to be overwhelmed by the number of items you have to staple, stick, and mark with prices. Is 5¢ or even 10¢ worth the work? At best, you should create a box for the cheapest items, but sometimes it's clear that no one will pay you for some of your items. In this case, it's best for everyone to just throw it into a box marked "free." You'll save Sharpie ink and little colored dots, and you'll probably see that useless junk leave your yard by the end of the day.
The word "free" draws attention like none other in the English language. If you place a box marked F-R-E-E in large block letters, people will come poke through it, even just to satisfy their curiosity. Make your free box big enough, and people who are drive-by investigating your garage sale may just pull over and come see what you're giving away. (Some shoppers will do anything to keep their fanny pack of quarters!)
And if you put the free box near your attractions, you can draw extra attention to them. Someone pawing through your free box may get a slight twinge of guilt as they take your stuff, and therefore be more inclined to purchase a cup of lemonade or a cookie. Or their interest could simply be drawn to whatever other wares you're selling. By the same token, if you put the free box near where you finalize sales, you can offer a customer who is arguing with you about a bargain an "extra" item to sweeten the deal. Reminding them that you have free items might quiet them about the more spendy ones.
Free gives you credibility as someone who isn't out to steal every penny your shoppers brought along. It shows that there are some battles you won't try to win; and this makes you seem more reasonable when people approach you to barter.
Kids love stuff. Period. And getting something without their parents handing them another quarter makes them happy. (This is beneficial for someone who brings their children with them.) In addition, if a shopper's child is content with something they paid nothing for, they could be willing to dish out their money for something they want.
Don't fill your garbage can with those old McDonald's Happy Meal toys, stained oven mitts, stretched-out baby socks, and ripped dog clothes...let someone else get rid of them for you. Unless you know for sure that no one can get any use out of it, put it in the free box. There's a creative recycler out there who's looking for exactly what you have to give away.
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