Sunday, May 7, 2017

Garage Sale Series-What About Safety???

 I have been writing a  Garage Sale Series and if you have missed any of the posts, you can find the links to them at the end of this post.

The subject today is safety during the garage sale - safety for you and for your customers. That might not seem like a big deal, but there are many areas of safety that need to be addressed when you have "invited" strangers to your home and property.

I go to garage sales and have been shocked and alarmed at how careless people can be about this subject. I have learned many things on my own through trial and error, other things are just common sense and some things are because of crimes I have heard of... and etc.

God is the One who protects and takes care of us... and He also gives us wisdom to be aware and avoid some problems....  We are not to trust in our own understanding and I am not saying that these tips are foolproof, only that they can help... I will give some tips on staying safe at your garage sale...  the order is not important... I am just listing them as I think of them.

~ highlight any uneven floor surfaces. Our garage has 2 small steps that go up to the garage... you can see in the picture that we run colored duct tape along the whole length of those.. sometimes yellow, sometimes red... just something that will be seen, so people will notice and not trip.

~ Put your checkout table at a spot where you can see most of your sale
  and customers. Our table in the picture is where we can see the inside of the garage, and the driveway and the door to the house.

~We park our vehicles down the street so that the places right in front of our house are available for our customers to park. This helps protect customers and it also helps some people to stop who wouldn't stop if they had to park farther away.

~Have at least 2 people manning the garage sale all of the time. Things can get busy and being alone is a good way to have trouble. Sometimes people will come in a group so that you can't watch everyone at once... or help everyone. Theft happens easily at such a time.

~Some people will work in tandem when coming to a garage sale - one will ask the garage sale seller about a product or just chat, while their partner is stealing things. Sometimes parents have taught their children to steal and this is utterly sad to me, but we have seen it.

~Anchor tall things that might blow over on a windy day. This is especially important for racks of clothes... we anchor them with bricks or sandbags that are directly under the rack, not sticking out.

~Put glass items on a sturdy table... a card table is not a sturdy table for glass items that can fall if the table is banged as someone walks by it. Also put glass items back away from the edge of whatever table you put them on... and taller things go behind shorter things so that people reaching for things won't knock something down as easily.

~Remove trip hazards...  stuff sticking out from under tables or in the way. Most people will be shopping and looking at what you are selling, not watching carefully where they are going.

 ~Don't put big solid items in the middle of the garage... it obstructs your view.... keep things open as much as possible. This picture shows a bookcase on the table, but it is not a solid back one... so we were able to see through it to the other side.

~WATCH YOUR KIDS VERY CAREFULLY!!!!!!! Things can happen so quickly. Kids should be up close to the garage or house... or where they can be watched. There are people who look for an opportunity to snatch a child. Don't let it happen to yours... please!  For example, I stopped at a garage sale and there were 3 little kids manning the sale... they told us they weren't open quite yet... these kids were about  5-10 years old. No sign of an adult. When we left, we saw a woman a couple of blocks away putting up a sign for the house we had just been to... and we had seen 2 other of the same signs several blocks in another direction. We had to assume that may have been the mother and the kids appeared to be alone.The kids also came right up to our van to talk with us. I shuddered at what could have happened to those kids if someone with evil motives had stopped. Please WATCH your kids carefully!!

~If you have an inside door to the house from the garage, it is a good idea to block it off from customer access - a folding screen or bookcase can help with that...  or even lock the door if you don't have enough people to help watch.

~Cover or put away things in the garage that are not for sale...  that will also help to avoid continuous questions all day about if they are for sale.  :)

~Lock the front door if you are not able to see it while you man the sale...

~Now, what about money?  What is the safest way to keep your money safe when doing a garage sale?  A money bag? Purse? Pocket? Box? Cigar box? A covered kitchen container?  All can be used and are used often.

Some are more convenient than others... and we all get comfortable with one thing or another. I have seen many of these things used at many garage sales... and it worked for the people. I have also seen each of these things sitting unattended, at one time or another-not at every sale of course, while the seller helps a customer or straightens a table. Each of these items, except for the pocket, will need to be carried... or set down at some point. That will require much attention to it. I, personally, have had the OPPORTUNITY to take such things MANY times, but of course, I would not do that.... others may be tempted by such an opportunity.

The thing we have found that works the best for us, is a fanny pack. (Why do they call it that anyway???  :)   )   We each wear one and keep the pouch at the front so that we can easily access it to make change. We keep minimal change in each one and are careful not to be obvious about how much is in the pack. The fanny pack allows us to keep the money with us, freeing our hands to work and freeing our attention from having to watch the money, so that we can do other things.

~Take big bills into the house for safety rather than keeping them with you.

~Just a note that a calculator is helpful in adding up a person's purchases.  When things are busy, it is easier to use a calculator even if you are capable of adding it in your head.

By the way, this post contains lots of warnings and it may seem like too much. I hope nothing bad ever happens at your sale... or mine... but we know things can and do happen. Being careful and aware of the possible danger and being wise is a good idea. My husband and I have worked with the Citizen's Police Academy in our area and have had an interest in such for a long time...  bad stuff happens and many times, it can be avoided by just a few changes. I would rather go to the trouble to make changes than to have a problem happen that could possibly be avoided.

I hope this series is helpful to you....  Do you have other ideas about safety when having a garage sale? If so, please share them in the comments. Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a good week.  :)


Garage Sale Series-Selling Jewelry

Garage Sale Series-Price Tags

Garage Sale Series-Displays

Garage Sale Series-Signs

Garage Sale Series-Hints and Tips

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  1. All good tips to remember for my next garage sale. I love the anchor everything down tip because it always seems to come a wind storm when we have one. Most of the time we have it right in the front yard. One time a man tried to pack what he wanted in his car before he paid. I told him he needed to pay first and he seemed so offended that I would say that. You need to watch everything! Have a great day!

    1. So true... some people who are doing wrong will be so confident and convincing that it can place us in a very difficult position. Thank you for visiting... it was nice to have you stop by. :)

  2. All great tips. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Your tips were great and, you're right, you can never be too trusting when it comes to your children's safety. As a psychiatric occupational therapist, I taught my kids to smile and say hello to people caz was it therapeutic with my geriatric patients; my ex took "stranger danger" to the other far extreme dand they were not allowed to speak to strangers; there is a middle road, and kids need to know when to be careful (My granddaughter counted hugs she got at church one Sunday-11.). I'm so glad I have never seen anything I wanted so badly that I needed to steal it and I have never been in such want to need to steal.

    1. Thank you... I see so many parents that are way too trusting... I see small children biking alone or walking down an aisle in the store alone... and I shudder as I think those people do not realize how fast something can happen. I would rather be extra careful.. and you are right, we don't need to be stand offish.. we can be friendly, but with observation. :) Thank you for visiting.

  4. Great advice! I don't do garage sales myself, but I've helped someone else with theirs a couple of times. I would definitely lock the doors to the house regardless of whether there was someone to observe the door. And I'd probably limit the area of the sale to the front yard and perhaps the driveway, but not the garage. I appreciate your cautions for the children.

    1. Good ideas... our garage sale is large and takes up the inside of the garage and the whole driveway and then some! :) Good additions to the post, though... thank you. I have 6 children of my own and love kids and know how fast a tragedy can happen so want to warn others. Thank you for visiting. :)

  5. I have never been to a garage sale before. Great advice.

    1. Garage sales can be a huge blessing... and they don't have to be junk at all... you can find some very nice things at great prices at garage sales. :) Thank you for visiting.

  6. Thanks for sharing your safety tips @Vintage Charm!

  7. These are a bunch of useful tips for my next garage sales..Perfect advice and thanks for sharing :)

    Simple Indian Mom Has Recently Published

    *Menaka Bharathi *


    1. Thank you! I had hoped that these things would be helpful to others... they have been helpful for me. :)

  8. Great post!! I don't hold my own garage sales because I just donate my things to the local Volunteers of America Thrift Store or to our church for their annual Flea Market which I ran for 12 years. I do not have the space to have a garage sale nor the time or patience. But I have learned a lot about all you have mentioned in your post running our church flea market. My attitude was always that those who would steak from a church would have to face a much higher power than me!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!