The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our Stoop Sale

So we had the first of our pre-move stoop sales this past weekend and--being a bit of a connoisseur--I thought I'd post some images and talk about what I think makes for an attractive sale.

First off, you need a good sidewalk profile that shows from at least a block away. Pursuant to this we teamed up with 2 other households for volume (and company).

Use as much of the sidewalk as you--semi-legally--can but try not to inconvenience your neighbors as they can be your best customers.

You should mill about during your sale. Merchandise and rearrange your stuff as items sell. Another benefit of staying mobile is that you look like a shopper, and shoppers attract more shoppers.

Mix up your of display areas. Use hangers/clotheslines, boxes and tables. Go both high and low. You want accessibility...but mystery.


Make yourself comfortable. Play music (especially if you have stereo equipment to demo). Have donuts and/or pizza and be prepared to stay a while. Ideally a stoop sale should go for 6 hrs or so (unless you run out of stuff) I recommend 10-4, then pack-up slowly and keep selling.

Plus a few more Flickr images.

I've been doing this for a long time. My hometown hosts The World's Largest Garage Sale every fall and I've learned to "read" sales very quickly (because it's extremely uncomfortable to walk into someone's yard/garage/stoop/driveway and then awkwardly turn around because there's nothing to look at.).

Here are a few signs--that can be seen from a safe distance--that would cause me to give a sale the pass.
  • Pink plastic seen from 20 yards: Toddler syndrome. The parents probably cleaned out the good stuff before the baby was born and they haven't spent money on anything but the baby since.
  • Warped particle board shelving: Probable lack of disposable income and/or taste. Also implies careless or damp storage conditions.
  • More than 1 square foot of table space devoted to china figurines
  • Specialized display racks/tubs: Probably a "professional" seller with newish, overpriced (yet cheaply made) crap
  • Country Crafts: This might be my issue. I lost out on "most artistic" in my high school yearbook to a dude who painted Bob Ross landscapes on sawblades. I can't let it go.
  • A recurring sale (especially during a weekday)
That's all I can think of for now. Anyone else have any stoop sale dealbreakers?

3 comments:

Matthew Tiffany said...

Dealbreaker: a bare chested Danzig telling me that "every stoop sale shopper should go home with one of these," and then pointing at anything, esp. pectoral muscles (mine or his).

William Smith said...

We're having a stoop sale sequel and I'll do my best to keep my shirt on. No promises though.

Pharoah said...

First of all, I am deeply enthralled with your very interesting blog! It's become my favorite book blog.
Secondly, we don't have stoop sales down here in Florida but I think it's a fantastic idea. Only thing is we don't have much in the way of stoops.
Very interesting way to sell your unwanted items.