Tuesday, May 29, 2012

“Towns Outlawing Extreme Garage Sales”: Why This Family is Already Handcuffed

A recent article on MSN.com noted that in some areas of the country, towns are seeing extreme garage sales; events that not everyone is happy about. The article notes some residents feel that these sales are getting out of hand, some turning into auto sales with “20 cars parked on the lawn” or rows of washers, dryers, and other appliances lined up for purchase.

One town council president mentioned in the article would like to limit the number of sales residents can have to four per year and place a $5 fee on each sale. I don’t think his standards are necessarily unreasonable, especially with what our family has to go through in an effort to hold our garage sales.

From the two garage sales that we typically have each year, we usually make anywhere from $400 to $600, which can make for a nice little addition to income. But planning, preparing and holding garage sales can be a lot of hard work, and municipal restrictions came make them even more difficult to carry out successfully.

Here are some of the things that we have to deal with and how we attempt to overcome their limiting effects on our garage sales.

The municipality in which we hold our garage sales requires a permit. While the permit itself is free, and I have a feeling that many sale holders probably don’t get them, we tend to err on the side of safety.

This way, should local authorities arrive (they are often out on Fridays and Saturdays checking for illegally placed garage sale signs), we’re legit in our permitting to hold the sale and won’t be shut down for any reason, negating all our hard work and preparations. While it might be a pain to drive over and pick a permit up, the time spent is worth it compared to chancing having our sale shut down.

Speaking of signs, our municipality is VERY strict regarding where garage sale signs can and can’t be placed. Putting signs on telephone poles, street signs or even in portions of our own yard that are considered municipal areas (those yard areas between the sidewalk and the street) is strictly prohibited. We’ve found from experience that putting signs in such areas will result in them being taken down by local authorities, or having to move them ourselves by police order (yes, they have made us do so on several occasions).

Garage Sale Limits
Each property in our municipality is restricted to two garage sales per calendar year. This is somewhat limiting since we just never know what the weather is going to do or what sort of luck we’re going to have with attendance.

How we try to Make up for these Limitations
While our location is fairly strict in their garage sale limitations, over the years, we’ve found ways to make up for these rules.

Take for example the sign issues. While our options are limited, we still put signs up in the yard in which we are having the sale to draw the attention of passers-by, and we place a newspaper advertisement in the local paper for about $30, which helps make up for our lack of signage as well.

While two garage sales is typically enough for our family, we have paired with other family members and friends in the past to utilize their garage sales to get rid of our stuff and make a little cash in the process without having to hold a sale of our own.

And finally, when it comes to those sales that just don’t turn out to be as profitable as we’d hoped, and we don’t have the ability to hold a third sale or pair up with neighbors, we tend to take certain leftovers to area resale shops to get rid of them and add to our sale profits, or take them to local charities so that we can get the charitable tax deduction.

Tahmincioglu, Eve. Life Inc. “Towns outlawing extreme garage sales” April 17, 2012. http://lifeinc.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/17/11230133-towns-outlawing-extreme-garage-sales?lite

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