We get a lot of questions from first-time sellers at our Used Curriculum Sale (next one is set for June 8)!
For example, how do I price my items? What is included in “curriculum” – does that include games, manipulatives, etc.? How many people should I expect to attend? When should I come to set up, and when should I prepare to leave?
While it may seem overwhelming at first, many sellers end up having such a good time at our sales that they become repeat sellers year after year! Here are some of their recommendations:
Tip #1: Bring an itemized list.
Go the extra mile by preparing a list of the items you are selling to make it easy on the buyer. Not only will this help you when you fill out our seller registration form, but it also allows buyers to look at the list without needing to stick little price-tags to each item.
Many sellers will have three broad categories to sell their items:
- Books (these are stand-alone items that can be used with curriculum, but not necessarily with curriculum bundles)
- Curriculum (these can include textbooks, teacher’s manuals, etc.)
- Games / Toys / Manipulatives (these can include flash cards, magnetic letters, and more – feel free to be as creative as you like!)
PLEASE NOTE that our sale is limited to homeschool-related curriculum, games and school supplies. If you have items from other businesses such as skin care products / make-up supplies / handmade goods, etc., we recommend reaching out through Facebook or other online groups.
Tip #2: Plan all the ways buyers can pay you.
A helpful addendum to your listing includes “seller info”, e.g. cash, check, Venmo and/or PayPal.
You can use QR codes for the online forms of payment, or just adding your email address/username to the paper.
Sellers have noticed that Venmo has become increasingly popular as a payment option, so this may be something to consider if you don’t already have an account there.
Tip #3: Decide price ranges, bundles, and any special deals.
Many strategies abound for deciding prices for Used Curriculum Sale items. We’ve listed a few common ones, but feel free to adapt and adjust as you see fit!
One option is to search online for the full retail price, then sell it for about half that amount. Sometimes you may go a little higher or lower, but being able to list out in the pricing that retail value is 2X or higher really helps customers to see the value in purchasing from your table.
Some sellers bundle items together to have them sell faster and clear inventory, e.g.
SET: Star of Light + The Tanglewoods’ Secret + Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John ($4 each OR $10 for the set!)
Finally, individuals will sometimes set a time for declaring “clearance” deals to sell the rest of their inventory. Our sale typically goes from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Last-minute shoppers can sometimes benefit by coming later, say around 7:30 p.m. as everyone prepares to leave for the night!
Tip #4: Register as soon as possible to secure your reservation.
Our facility only has room for a maximum of 65 sellers, and all table spaces are nonrefundable.
We also request sellers to inform us as soon as possible if you have had a change of plans and cannot attend. This will free your table up for someone on the waiting list!
Tip #5: Watch your space.
Sellers are responsible to stay with their items and handle their own sales. We recommend bringing small bills/quarters for making change.
Please bring only items that can be placed on your table (NO large items due to limited space).
When you sign up for 1 booth space, you are purchasing half of an 8-foot table. If you want to share a full table (2 booths) with another seller, please let us know that on the seller registration form.
Typically we try to match whatever available tables the church has to each seller’s needs. Based on the estimated number of items on your signup form, we’ll try to match you up to the best table option – round / long / specific dimensions / etc. You can bring crates and boxes to put on the floor or under your table if necessary, but we request no bookshelves.
Tip #6: Consider times, including meals, setup & cleanup.
Make sure you have a rough idea of the evening’s schedule:
- Setup 5-6:15 p.m.
- Sale 6:15-8 p.m.
- Cleanup 8-9 p.m.
You should expect about 500 people to attend the sale. Our busiest times tend to be at the beginning when the sale opens (6-7 p.m.), though it can vary throughout the night. Don’t be surprised if you find a long line of people waiting outside the facility, just before 6 p.m.!
To help make meals easier, we’ve coordinated a special option with the church’s Kindness Kitchen: warm, fresh, boxed meals at incredible prices! These meals are lovingly created from scratch by retired homeschoolers Greg & Mary Reynolds, who have 35+ years of private catering experience.
Make sure you fill out any meals you wish to order on our seller registration form.
Additionally, are you bringing children with you to the sale? Make it an enjoyable time if they’re old enough by giving them a small amount of money to spend on any books/toys they find.
Tip #7: Make backup plans to sell anything that remains.
PLEASE NOTE: Sellers may not leave unsold items at the sale. The facility does not allow us to leave anything behind, so it will help our cleanup team immensely if you clean up everything as quickly as possible once the sale ends.
We recommend making backup plans if you cannot sell everything you brought. Sometimes people will arrange to donate unsold items to our MPE office. You can also explore other avenues such as Home Works for Books, which MPE has a longstanding partnership with.
Bonus tips From Dena Barnes on our Facebook page:
“Seller tips: Grouped things by company, in grade/age order. Random stuff was in ascending age/stage order. Made bundles of random stuff that were age-appropriate/subject/type-similar and sold as a group. Rubber bands are your friend. Clearly-written labels with painters tape! (What’s in the bundle?) Include what the new price would be as reference! Made a huge master list on poster board, well-organized, that people walking up could check at a glance. Crossed off items as they sold. Knew what I was able to make deals on and what I needed to keep firm prices. And what items I could let go of at the very end for cheaper if they hadn’t sold. If you’re on the fence of a full table or half, go with the full. Less clutter/more visibility at first glance makes for more sales, I believe.
Buyer tips: (only myself and one lady I met did this, and I’m guessing she’s “extra” like me)…
Make a name tag/visible list of the items you are REALLY hunting for. People may note it on your tag and tell you they have what you need! It’s also ok to make a quick spin around the booths before things get crazy, if you’re a fellow-seller and say, “hi, I am looking for x, y, and z, do you have any of those?”
Any other seller tips you’d like to share? Or maybe you have other questions as a would-be seller? Let us know in the comments!