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Are you planning a garage sale? On top of being excited about getting rid of stuff you no longer need and making some money in the process, there are some things you should know before going in head first. Garage sales are fun, but they also require a bit of work.
Here are my 15 tips to help you have a smooth and productive sale.
15 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale:
Timing. Don’t have your sale on a holiday weekend. People likely won’t show up if it’s around the 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc (also, try to plan around days that would be super cold or sweltering hot). Garage sales tend to start pretty early (around 7-8:00AM, which is especially good on hot days…), so plan yours accordingly to keep up with the other sales in your area.
Be ready for early birds. There will always be people who try to show up early (people can come hours before the advertised start time). You should either be prepared for them or specify in your ad that you don’t want any early birds.
City Permits. Lots of cities now require permits for hosting a garage sale. Check with your area first so you don’t get shut down and/or fined.
Advertising. People will only know about your sale if you advertise. Use Craigslist, newspapers (look for papers that have calendars of events or free advertising), newspaper websites, or Facebook. Make sure to put up signs in your area the night before so people know where the sale will be held (the signs should be sturdy with big words labeling that it’s a garage sale, your address, the time, and perhaps an arrow showing the way). Make sure to take your signs down as soon as the sale is finished.
Collect items early. Start collecting your items for your sale as soon as you know you want to have one. Go around the house with a basket and grab items that you haven’t used in months or items you know you certainly want to get rid of. Put them in a separate space in your house, like in a box out of the way.
Think about location. If your house isn’t in a great place for a garage sale (not enough parking, not enough traffic, etc.), have a multi-family sale at a friend’s house with a better location. You could also join in with a church or group garage sale.
Start with plenty of change. Since lots of items will be priced at 25¢ and 50¢, have plenty of quarters available. Most people will want to pay with a $20 bill, so make sure to have plenty of $1s, $5s, and $10s available as well. Keep all your change out of sight and somewhere safe.
Start with plenty of grocery bags. This might seem a little silly, but people will ask for bags for their items.
Pretty yard, happy sale. Make sure your yard is presentable. Cut the grass, sweep the sidewalks, and put away clutter. Your house and sale will seem more approachable if it’s presentable.
Label your items with prices. Label each item with a price or put items in a box and label the box, for example, “books, 25¢ each”. If items are labeled, people will be more likely to buy them and you won’t have to be constantly asked, “How much do you want for this?”. You can use masking tape and a permanent marker to label.
Tips on pricing items: The general rule is to price items low. The majority of people won’t be interested in haggling and will likely move on without buying anything if they think the prices are too high. If you’re struggling for how much to sell an item, you can check online to see how much other people are selling it for. Just remember that at garage sales, people expect to pay garage sale prices (50¢, $1, etc.). If you’ve got a sofa for which you want $500, you might want to stick to Craigslist to sell it.
Display your items. Use tables to display nicer and/or breakable items and shoe boxes and baskets to display smaller, like items. You can display nicer clothes on racks with cheap hangers. I once made a rack out of two ladders and a curtain rod. If you don’t have tables, borrow some or get creative. You can use a piece of wood on top of boxes, etc.
Get your kids involved. Kids will likely be really bored at your sale without something to do. Enlist them to sell baked goods and drinks and they can keep their profits! They’ll have a ton of fun and learn about money and sales (I can remember doing this when I was young and I loved it…I felt super grown up).
Greet everyone. If a person feels welcome at your sale, they’ll likely be happier. Smile and greet everyone as they approach your yard. Just remember not to be a hovering salesperson. No one likes that.
Be prepared. Get started way in advance. Get items organized and map out where you want your items to go in your yard. You can get everything basically ready to go a few days ahead of time and store it all in your garage or in a space in your house so you can pretty much just stick it outside the morning of. And if you think you need to get up at a certain time the morning of the sale, you probably want to get up even earlier…
Do you have any more tips for a successful garage sale?
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