Getting Kids Involved In Garage/Yard Sales

By: Jona E. Kessans

For me spring always meant upcoming garage/yards sales to go to with my mom; but more importantly, those garage/yard sales I had with my mom. From these early experiences, I learned many valuable lessons that I use to this day. These include the necessity of de-cluttering, finance, how to make change, how to price an item, how to organize and display items, and customer service. Thanks to my mom’s help, I was able to engage in an entrepreneurial endeavor at the tender age of eight. I have fond memories of my many mini-business endeavors and feel that these ventures contributed to my desire and successes in owning my own business now. Here are some pointers to get your child involved in having a garage or yard sale of his or her own when you have one.

For Children 8 and above:

Gather Goods to Sell
Have your children go through their items to determine what they are ready to sell, part with, or outgrown. You as a parent have veto power, but quite often children will not even think of parting with something they still use. As a matter of fact you may have to “assist" them in this step since it is likely they will want to keep just about everything they own. Be ready to ask them these questions: When was the last time the item was played with or used?
1)Why do they wish to keep it?
2)What does it mean to them?
Having children answer these questions helps them to determine what items they wish to keep and those that have little value or use to them. This step teaches children the importance of letting go of stuff they won’t use again and really don’t value.

Having children de-clutter their lives this way is a valuable skill that will serve them well throughout life and keep them from falling into the “packrat trap."

Prepare Goods for Sale
Have children prepare items for sale by cleaning dirty items and boxing items into separate boxes labeled “(Name)’s Garage Sale Items. This way, when it is time to set up for the big garage sale day, your children will be able to find their “stock" easily.

Assist your child with pricing the items to sell. Go through each item one-by-one and ask your child the following questions to help them determine an acceptable price.
1)How much do you think this is worth?
2)How did you determine that price?
3)Do you think someone will pay your price for this item?
4)Should we ask ____ amount for this?
By asking your child these questions, it helps them to critically think about the value of items and their worth. By making pricing suggestions, it assists them with setting realistic prices. This step helps children learn the relative value or worth of items and gets them to think about how much the buying public would pay. Asking the question, “Should we ask ____ amount for this?" is a way of helping your child set a realistic price for the item.

Preparing for the Grand Opening
Set up an individual table for each child next to where you will be collecting money from customers. This way you can monitor and assist each child with customer transactions if need be and protect them from unscrupulous “buyers."

Have children set up their displays themselves. By completing this step, with your help and suggestions, children learn how to display items in a visually pleasing way that will attract customers.

Day of the Grand Opening
Provide each child with a change apron (available at most dollar stores) and with a small amount of change such as 2 $1.00 bills, 6 quarters, 10 dimes, and 10 nickels; i.e., $5.00 in change. This way they can collect payment for their items and if necessary, make change for customers. Children are able to reinforce their counting skills and learn how to interact with customers. Most importantly, allow your children to keep the proceeds from their sale, having them put half of the “profits" into their savings accounts. When children are allowed to keep the proceeds from the sale of their items, they are eager participants.

For Children 7 and Below:

Younger children who also wish to participate in the garage sale can by selling sodas. Set up a small table with a cooler full of various cans of sodas and ice. Place a simple Soda for Sale sign on the front of the table. Allow your younger children to sell sodas, helping them with change counting or selling as needed. This wayComputer Technology Articles, they still get the experience and knowledge gained by running their own “small business."

As a child I truly enjoyed having my “own" garage sale and making money in the process. These small business ventures taught me what went into running a small business from the selection of goods to be sold to the final transaction with the customer. These life skills teach children the basics of money and customer service: skills that are sure to come in handy throughout their lives.

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