The lure of sifting through tables full of underpriced treasures at a huge rummage sale is enough to get even the sleepiest yard-saler out of bed on a Saturday morning. Church rummage sales are popular with bargain hunters because they offer the promise of abundant shopping while usually supporting a worthy cause. If you have volunteered to be in charge of the rummage sale, start planning well in advance.
Begin organizing your church rummage sale two months in advance. ShareFaith.com says that it generally takes that long to plan a successful rummage sale. Form a small committee of three or four people with one leader who will designate tasks and oversee the details of the sale. Secure additional volunteers to help the day before and day of your sale.
Confirm a date for availability of your church's social hall or outdoor space. Rummage sales are typically on a Saturday. They start as early as 6 or 7 a.m. and run through the afternoon.
Determine when and where you will receive donated items and where they will be stored until the sale. Multiple drop-off times are recommended. Post the drop-off times and places in the church newsletter and designate a committee member to place notices on church bulletin boards. If there are items you do not want to sell, such as unwashed clothing or items in need of repair, be sure to list them in your announcements.
Decide in advance what will be done with rummage sale items that do not sell. If you choose to donate them to a charity, call that organization ahead of time and you may be able to arrange for a pickup at your site.
Arrange for tables, racks and hangers for clothing and chairs if your church does not have them available. Designate a committee member or two to bring these items to the site the day before your rummage sale.
Advertise your rummage sale a week in advance. Take advantage of free online classified ads, as well as those in local newspapers. List the date, time, address and some of the special items you will be selling. If you are raising money for a particular reason, note the cause in your advertisement. Charge a committee member with making colorful signs to post around the church. Ask your minister to include information about the sale in announcements the Sunday before your sale is scheduled.
Meet with your committee to make colorful posters to be placed in strategic areas around town two or three days before your sale. Include the date, time, address and simple directions or arrows to indicate where you are located. Make them large and clear enough to be read from inside a car. Use strapping tape or a staple gun to put up these signs on telephone poles, trees and community bulletin boards one or two days before the sale.
Call your volunteers two or three days before the sale to remind them and confirm their participation at the event.
Make a list of all the items you will need to bring the evening before and the day of the event. Include such things as change, a cash register or appropriate money box, stickers and pens for pricing, refreshments and snacks for yourself and volunteers, extra poster board for signs, bags and newspapers for wrapping breakable items, boxes and large trash bags for unsold items.
Gather with your committee and volunteers on the eve of your event to sort, organize and price the rummage items. If possible, set as many items out on tables the night before the sale. Cover the filled tables with tarps if your sale is being held outside.
Arrive at least 30 minutes earlier than your sale is scheduled to start so that you can finish organizing and prepare for early birds.