Saturday, March 24, 2007

Plan of Attack Going to Estate/Charity Sales

'Charity Sale--Plan of Attack' by Lynn A. Dralle, 'The Queen of Auctions'

A charity sale plan of attack must be different than a garage sale plan. There are several reasons. First of all, charity sales can be huge. Second, they can have many employees/volunteers. Third, there can be long lines waiting to get in and finally, they can be overpriced. The sale at our local church was huge this past Saturday. Most charity sales will never open the doors early. Out of 100+ charity sales that I have attended, only six have opened the doors early.

So, here goes:

#1--Just in case, be in line at least 15 minutes if not 1/2 hour prior to the published opening time. You must be one of the first ones in. We were in line at 7:30 am for ours that started at 8:00am.

#2--Have an empty box or bag in your hand. You will want to immediately start picking up items. You can always edit later, so have an empty box or two ready to use. If you have to waste time finding a box once you are inside you could miss valuable merchandise. My mom and I each had an empty box when they opened the doors at 8 am sharp this past Saturday.

#3--Take a deep breath and do not get overwhelmed. My adrenaline gets going the second they open the doors and sometimes, even I (yes it is true) get a little overwhelmed. Remember to take a deep breath and continue breathing. There is usually sooo much merchandise that there is plenty for everyone. AND most important of all--Have fun! It is a treasure hunt and you cannot make a mistake. The prices are usually so low at these events that no matter what you buy--you will come out 'smelling like a rose' as my grandmother would say. This was certainly the case this past weekend. I started putting things in my box in the regular area and didn't see much of value. I decided to check out the boutique area first.

#4--If the regular area does not look promising--head to the boutique. Typically, the boutique areas are overpriced but you may find the best merchandise here. Remember story # 90 from MMM? That was from the boutique area of this same sale two years ago! So, always take a spin through the boutique area early just to gauge the caliber of merchandise and the pricing. Last Saturday, the boutique area did not let me down. It was quite overpriced but there were some interesting items. I made a note to come back after I had exhausted the main area.

#5--Find an employee immediately that will set aside an area for you to stage your items. If you are going to be buying full boxes--which is what I typically do--find someone who looks like they are in charge and ask them where you can stage your items. Tell them that you are a dealer and will be buying a ton of merchandise. I did this at the sale last weekend and a nice gentleman named Bruce had me start staging by the grand piano. This charity sale actually had a classical pianist and music was being played. Wow! We had to branch out from the piano area and stage my items underneath the bake sale tables. By the time I was finished I had boxes under six tables and the ladies running the bake sale said, 'Honey, you should really have on a name tag so that we know you are a volunteer'. I had fun telling them that I was actually shopping and was going to buy everything under the tables! They even got a special person to add me up and those 18 full boxes only came to $280! What a score.

#6--Look under every table. I am not kidding! This is where I find some of my best items.
Remember the Baccarat chandelier from MMM # 57? I found that under a table at a charity sale. At the church sale last Saturday, I found a ton of stuff under tables.

#7--Do NOT pass over As Is items. If they are cheap enough, please buy them. My mom cleaned out my kitchen for me a few weeks ago. She made a pile of things to throw away. In that pile was a Quimper Faience salt and pepper shaker set that was very As Is. There was a huge chunk missing from the base and my mom said, 'Throw it away.' I said, 'No way! Please write it up for me to list on eBay.' My mom said, 'I won't do it.' I begged her and she relented. You won't believe what it sold for. Click here to find out. My As Is salt and pepper shakers

#8--Find the person in charge of the boutique and chat with them. After you are all done shopping and paying for your items in the regular area, go back into the boutique and chat with the volunteers. I did this last Saturday and the ladies were so nice! It never hurts to make friends. There was a chocolate pot set that I loved. It was priced at $170.00 for the pot and the 5 cups and saucers. I said, 'Do you think they would take any less? I just spent a lot of money next door.' The ladies said, 'Yes, we saw you. Let's get Harriet over here and I am sure she will make you a special price.' Well, Harriet and the ladies gave me deals on everything I wanted. the picture above is the chocolate pot set that I ended up paying $100 for. I am just showing you the pot, but I have five more auctions with the c/s sets being sold individually. I have already got my money back and maybe even more by the time this newsletter gets to you! The hot chocolate pot - mmmm! Click Here to see the current bid (or finished auction.)

Be prepared for Charity Sale season! Want to know what to be buying?--Check out my Boot Camp in a Box. Good luck to you!

The Queen of Auctions and eBay Power Seller, Lynn Dralle, publishes 'eBay Tips & Tricks' a weekly ezine with 8000+ subscribers. If you're ready to jump start your eBay business, make more money and have more free time, get your FRE E tips now at

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We moved to our current home on the Wild River Coast of Southern Oregon from San Jose, CA. Our family consist of Jim and Karen, two dogs and two cats. Karen's passion is gardening. Jim's obsession is building electric powered fishing kayaks and fishing.