Rummage sale tips from a longtime buyer/seller

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By Jeanne Waschbisch, Special to the Times Herald

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Oconto Falls Fun Fest and community rummage sales are less than a month away, and former library director Jeanne Waschbisch provides some tips based on 50 years of attending and hosting rummage sales.

Oconto Falls communitywide rummage sales will take place Aug. 9-11. To maximize your profits and minimize your labor, here are suggestions to make all that effort worthwhile. It’s a great time to get family and friends together to hold a sale or to shop other sales.

1. Start early to get your items together and priced. If you have space for a dedicated area to keep rummage items together through the year, collect and mark them as you find them. Masking tape and Magic Markers work well. Everyone is looking for a bargain, and there are many sales. So if you really want to get rid of things, keep prices low.

2. It helps to have sizes clearly marked and similar items grouped together, such as household or decorative pieces, for example. It can be helpful to have a mirror and a tape measure available for shoppers to use. It’s difficult to sort through tall piles of clothing, and difficult as well to keep them in order. A clothes rack can be made with two ladders with a pole between, or a pole can be suspended from the ceiling.

3. Advertising the sale is important! Buyers can’t shop if they don’t know about the sale. Be aware of publishing deadlines so it can be listed in both the Shopper’s Guide and weekly edition of the local paper. At a recent sale, I asked shoppers where they had learned about the sale, and the majority of the early shoppers said they had seen it in the newspaper. Make posters to put up in local businesses, bars/restaurants, bowling alleys and laundromats. Other options are Facebook, the Oconto County Barter and Classified group on Facebook or Craigslist. Be sure to show pictures or list your big-ticket or specialty items. If the fundraiser sale is for a nonprofit organization, send the information to local radio and TV stations, community calendars and news releases to area newspapers, via email.

4. Make it easy for people to find the sale with easy-to-read signs with addresses and arrows showing direction. Use sturdy cardboard or boards that will stay rigid and large black print that can be read from a moving vehicle. Wimpy signs that bend or curl are a waste of time and effort, because they are unreadable. Be aware that wind can take signs down.