How Secondhand Items Can Be Repurposed and Recycled

Over the years, people have made purchases from Ava’s garage sales with some very interesting reasons why they bought and how they were going to recycle those purchases. People have bought old sporting equipment to be hung up on children’s walls as decorations, such as old shortie skis, ski poles, old baseball mitts, etc. Old broken tools and metal debris have been purchased by artists and sculptors looking to make objects made out of the items. Old electrical wires, pipes, and other old electrical items were bought by a science teacher for his class. Stained or ripped bedding can be used for animals either for birthing or for stuffing into other items to make an animal bed. Animals don’t care if the items are not pristine.

Stray pieces of interesting fabrics or pieces of wallpaper truly look fantastic when cut and framed as inexpensive art. Beautiful old picture frames can be used to put a mirror in. Ava has even seen plastic dolls repurposed into lamps for a little girl’s room. You just string up through the bottom, and the lamp shade is like their hat. You can use old interesting architectural pieces, such as sinks, outdoors as coolers. Ava has taken old frames from barbecue grills and spray painted them to use as outdoor planters. She has also seen old glass from an antique door panel used as glass top for a roll top desk. The best use of broken down old doors is to put them on sawhorses and make a table top. You just cover with a tablecloth and voila- you have a great outdoor table and perfect tabletop for a garage sale.

Ava’s Golden Rules for Garage Sale Success

  1. Have clear, simple signs. They should be double-sided, have arrows, and clearly state the date and time.
  2. Put out an ad in your local paper.
  3. You have to write everything down (just like dieting). Do this before, during, and after the sale. Ava’s Guide to Garage Sale Gold has an organizer that helps you do this.
  4. Everything must be tagged, unless they are grouped with other like things that are all at one set price. You want to be a cashier during your sale, you don’t want to be worrying about haggling the prices the whole time.
  5. Put everything on tables, and then put covers on the tables.
  6. Categorize like items together.
  7. Feel empowered when you negotiate- don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t feel intimidated and back down immediately if the price is too low.

About the Author

Ava Seavey, a “self-taught master of garagesaleology,” has combined her passion for garage sales with her twenty-five years of advertising experience to produce a foolproof guide to successful garage sales.

Growing up, Ava loved selling things and being involved in various transactions, whether it was money, trade, or service. She organized things around her neighborhood- a newspaper, a neighborhood amusement park, clubs, sales, and more. From this she began to develop a fascination with what grabs people’s attention, what persuades them, and what makes them buy.

Ava became interested in flea markets and garage sales as a young person who needed a supplemental income while she built up her advertising career. She participated in many different rummage sales and flea markets for practical reasons, but at the same time she became increasingly fascinated with all the different angles of buying and selling: the psychological, merchandizing, financial, and sociological.

She was simultaneously developing her career in Direct Response Advertising, which means she was selling products and services on television directly to the consumer (i.e. infomercials). Here too, she was interested in the psychological, merchandizing, financial and sociological aspects of ads, and why some products bomb while others are an overnight success.

One day Ava had an epiphany when she realized that there was a correlation between Direct Response advertising and garage sales. For years she had been studying and learning firsthand why people buy and what motivates them to buy, and she realized that the knowledge she had from advertising could be directly applied to her garage sale experience. She incorporated various techniques and theories from advertising into garage sales, and figured out what worked and what didn’t. She became more and more interested in this connection between advertising and garage sales, and it became a passion of hers to increase the satisfaction of herself and others through these sales. She went to hundreds of garage sales to observe and analyze what people were doing right and what they were doing wrong. She held her own garage sales and helped others out using her techniques, and people were amazed at how successful, efficient, and fun their sales ended up being.

As the economy got worse and worse, Ava saw how beneficial her knowledge could be to other people who were in need of money. She decided that writing a book was the best way to share what she had learned from years as a garage sale aficionado and professional direct marketer and advertiser.