Ben Whales, center, and Elana Bandalene, right, check out a sale hosted by Jack Henderson, left. Henderson, a Rochester Hills resident, hosted a sale of items from his aunt’s estate during the Sylvan Lake citywide garage sale.

Ben Whales, center, and Elana Bandalene, right, check out a sale hosted by Jack Henderson, left. Henderson, a Rochester Hills resident, hosted a sale of items from his aunt’s estate during the Sylvan Lake citywide garage sale.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Garage sale hosts offer tips for holding your own sale

By: Maddie Forshee | C&G Newspapers | Published June 6, 2018

 William Carrington, of Pontiac, shows the guitar and some accessories that he bought May 25. Many people shop garage sales to find big-ticket items at a bargain.

William Carrington, of Pontiac, shows the guitar and some accessories that he bought May 25. Many people shop garage sales to find big-ticket items at a bargain.

Photo by Donna Agusti

 One of the homes participating in the sale had lots of eye-catching items on display.

One of the homes participating in the sale had lots of eye-catching items on display.

Photo by Donna Agusti

METRO DETROIT — Homeowners gearing up for the summer often clear out unwanted items, and a common way to clear out those items is to hold a garage sale.

Garage sale hosts at Sylvan Lake’s citywide garage sale May 24-26, the city’s unofficial kickoff of summer, offered their tips and experiences to others thinking of holding sales. 

The citywide garage sale is an annual tradition in the small community. The sale is coordinated by the city’s Home and Garden Tour Committee. 

“It’s always a pretty good group effort,” said Sylvan Lake City Manager John Martin. “We have a really good base of volunteers.” 

Residents and visitors alike braved the heat to check out what their neighbors had on display. 

The more experienced shoppers come to garage sales early on the first day, said Karen Wink.

“(Thursday) was really busy for us,” she said. “The pros come out on the first day. The (last day) is when the bargain hunters come, because they know you just want to get rid of everything.” 

Wink’s sister, Delores Mayer, said the pair were taking part in the garage sale after she downsized her home and moved into the neighborhood. Mayer and Wink had a selection of girls’ clothes, books and home furnishings. Wink said they priced their items low “to make it easy on themselves.”

Mary Baughman also recently downsized, so she and her neighbor hosted a garage sale together. 

Of all the books, paintings and knickknacks she was selling, she said she had the easiest time selling kids items, clothes and toys. 

“Kids stuff sells really well,” she said. “(The rest of my) stuff is for older people, unless there’s younger people into vintage (items). There’s just not as much of a market as there is for kids stuff.” 

Baughman, like Wink and Mayer, didn’t have a pricing system in place, as she was more focused on getting her items sold rather than making money. 

“At first I didn’t price stuff; usually, people will tell you what they want to give you for it,” said Baughman. “I have prices on now, but people will still (bargain).” 

Another seller, Patti Polmear, said she was trying to price the items according to their value. Anything she didn’t sell, she planned on donating to Pontiac-based nonprofit Humble Design. 

“If I can make any money, I’ll maybe buy some flowers for my yard,” she said. “Tomorrow … we’re going to do half off. We’ll see what we can get from doing that. Otherwise, it will be donated. I don’t want to take everything back home.” 

Debra Richards got her children to bring stuff to her house to put it in the garage sale. She said that holidays and long weekends are the best to host sales because so many people are around. 

“A lot of people come looking for specific things,” she said. “They want certain things. ... True garage-salers have a list of what they want to buy.” 

Richards recommended to sell things in sets, like dishes or tools, to make it easier on buyers looking for a list of things.