Adoption Updates June – and more fundraiser tips

Our dossier has finally made it to Bulgaria as of Friday! We expect it to be submitted within the next month and the referral will come any time after that. We could travel for first trip as early as the end of July!

We had a very successful garage sale on Saturday and raised $1100. For anyone adopting this was actually a pretty straight forward fundraiser. The best part is that it gives friends and family a break from what feels to me like constant fundraising. If you’re having an auction, I would suggest planning it for AFTER a garage sale. We received many donations for our garage sale that were brand new items still in their packages and we saved all of those for a future auction. It was very easy to get donations for our sale because people are happy to part with their “junk” and we save them a trip to Goodwill. We did one day only because in my experience with a friend’s garage sale, the second day yielded very little additional sales, and by doing one day you don’t need to pack up and then put everything back out. Since this sale was so successful we are going to have another one in August.

Things I would do differently:

Rent more tables. We had 3 borrowed tables and some wood and saw horses to make 2 more and it wasn’t enough. When we were cleaning up the tables looked so much better when they had 25-50% of the stuff on them. By springing for table rentals we would also be able to get everything onto the tables at the beginning of the sale instead of having some on top of boxes in front of the table. Table rentals are not expensive so I would have rows and rows of them. Get everything but the toys and large items onto the tables IMO.

When in doubt Ziploc it. Like most yard sales we had a truckload of kids stuff and the worst is all the little knick-knack toys. It wasn’t until the end of the sale that we thought to bag them all by category into Ziploc freezer bags. We did that as we cleaned up and at the next sale all the small toys will be sold by the bag. It makes it so much tidier for display and less overwhelming. I will do the same for small household items like magnets etc. We did have some random hardware and a couple little pulleys and other misc in a small tupperware that sold right away.

And then bag some more. Towards the end of the sale we organized all the kids clothes by size into plastic shopping bags and then labelled with a sharpie. I will keep them like this for the next sale and only have the nicest few items or random sizes out. For adult clothes I will only keep select few quality items and separate the rest to donate beforehand. Adults don’t usually shop yard sales for clothes I guess. I’m debating bagging some of the printed fabrics and labeling it as craft fabric.

I still don’t know what to do with shoes! We had a lot of shoes and only seemed to sell the ugliest ones, so I will let you know if I have a solution for that. Definitely being on tables should help. It was very hard to keep the clothes and shoes shoppable. Ladies shoes were on a table, but still did very poorly.

Pull them heartstrings. Print cards with your gofundme info. We had planned to do this, just a little blurb about us and our gofundme link but we ran out of time. We ended up bagging a lot of items for people so you could tuck it right in. We did do lots of signage indicating it was a fundraiser and “Help Us Adopt.” The best decision was a last minute one to make “timelines” out of strips of poster board. I didn’t take a picture but the basic format is below. We did pictures of Siobhan from first trip and pick up on one side, labeling the year and her age, and then new pictures on the other side that said “Now” and her age, to show what a difference a family makes. You could ask another adoptive family for before and after photos if this is your first adoption. For the child you are adopting you can place referral or advocacy photos with the current year and age, on the other side next year’s date and question marks in place of the photos. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of garage salers who care not. For the few who were interested in our story it was a great illustration…Especially if your adorable kid can’t hack the whole day outside 😉



Our First Adoption Pictures




This Adoption ??


Wear sunscreen. I forgot it existed in my anxiety. Nuff said.

What we did do very well:

Signage. I made 25 of my own signs and posted them on every route to the sale. Post big ones (half poster board sheet) with date, hours, arrow, and “fundraiser.” Don’t even bother with the address for a few reasons: it clutters the sign, you can escape early birds if you don’t post it, and if your sign blows into traffic nobody will know who it belongs to 😀

The smaller ones go at more minor intersections and were just an arrow and something silly “Treasures this way” “Please come, we’re nice” “Almost there” etc. These can be 1/4 poster sheet.

Do everything in the same colour and style so people know its all for the same sale. The red and white ones you can buy from the hardware store and write your address in the tiny rectangle box, are trash. This is not a small potatoes sale. This is a big huge sale!

We posted all of our signs starting at 6:30 am except for the final ones on our street. This helped us avoid early birds. Right before 9 we finished the route with our last few signs. We still got one early bird and it was annoying and stressful, so I’m glad we avoided it as much as we could. There’s not much worse than a random stranger trying to shop your parent’s garage (a hoarder’s paradise, none of which is for sale) while you are frantically unpacking a yard’s worth of stuff on a few hours of sleep. Those people who welcome early birds, I commend you.

Location. My parents live on a busy road with three popular ways to enter their neighbourhood so we opted to move everything to their house for the sale. Totally worth it. We moved everything the day before and covered it with tarps beside the house (far enough back to not be a thieves target – another reason to not post signs the night before.) We had a lot of traffic from both pedestrians and vehicles that were not out garage sale-ing but saw us and stopped in.

Pricing. We did the hotly contested “by donation” pricing strategy. Our signs were very clear that this was a fundraiser. At the sale I had two additional signs with our pricing strategy. “Prices are by Donation to support our Adoption” in smaller letters below “*please be Fair.” We were very pleased with people’s generosity. Only two or three people from the whole day were seriously low-balling. A lot of people still want you to name a price, so when they asked and returned a blank look to our pricing shpeel, we usually just said “how about $–” and then negotiated from there. Lots of people think you will either not make any money because people will take advantage, or that people will just leave because nothing is priced. We made $1100 in one day, so I don’t think it was an issue.

That’s it for now! What are your best yard sale tips?


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