5 Tips For A Successful Garage Sale

red and white sale illustration
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WOW – We’re more than halfway through May already. In the words of someone who’s not me, that’s brilliant.

With warmer weather upon us, you might be seeing more garage sales. Who doesn’t relish the opportunity to sort through another person’s trash in search of treasure? As long as it’s not too hard, of course. If I really want to dig, there’s a place in town for that called the Dig & Save. The name of the place says it all.

In the interest of reducing, reusing, and recycling, as well as making a bit of cash, I had a garage sale this past weekend and have some tips if you think you want to go through the effort of having one yourself.

A little background: I live in an area where they have a neighborhood-wide garage sale scheduled every year, so the date was already set. This worked great because it drew more people into the neighborhood than what might have come for a single garage sale alone. I probably had enough stuff to hold one regardless, but I would have had to do a lot more advertising and put up more signage than I did.

  1. Do you have enough stuff for a garage sale? How do you know until you pile it all up in one spot? This can become your staging area where you price everything. Don’t expect to find everything you want to sell in a week and have it priced and ready to go. Have a date in mind and give yourself a couple weeks/months to get things together and priced. If you only have an item or two here and there you might consider alternatives to a garage sale, such as Craigslist of Facebook, but if you have a lot of something, say kids’ clothes, then a garage sale might be your best bet to move those items and get a little bit of cash for them. If you don’t think you have enough stuff, don’t fret. Check in with friends and family and see if they have items they would like to try and sell. Your sale just went MULTI-FAMILY, a word you’re going to want to use when you advertise. Also, if others contribute to your sale they should be willing to help out with set-up or selling. It’s more fun with more people.
  2. Pricing. I like to keep things simple. The smallest denomination I will take for something is $0.25. Do not waste time meddling with nickles and dimes. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Ask for a few bucks more and expect to be asked to take less. If there’s something you want a certain price for, write firm on the tag. If it’s something newer, find an information sheet about it from an online retailer and print it off. Attach it to the item. Reference it when people ask if you’ll take less. You can get stickers from the dollar store with prices printed on them, but address labels with your initials work well, too. If all else fails, a roll of masking tape and a sharpie will do the trick also.
  3. Tables. You’re having a sale, but your neighbors aren’t? Great. You should be able to get at least a card table out of them for displaying your treasures or clothing. Be willing to think outside the box. Have an old door? Set it up on some chairs. Not doing anything with that piece of plywood? Put it on top of an overturned trash bin. Get creative. Also, think of how you might want to display clothing. Would it look better on a hanger? String up a broom handle and sort by size.
  4. Signage and Promotion. I’ve already mentioned Craigslist and Facebook, but I’ve also heard of people advertising on Next Door. If you have clothing, list the range of sizes as well as the name brands along with other items you’re selling. If you’re only accepting cash, make a note of that. Not open to early shoppers? Make sure you say so. Use bright colored signs, but make sure they’re easy to read if you’re directing traffic to your location. Write down where you put your signs so you don’t forget any when the sale is over.
  5. After the Sale. There may be some stuff you just don’t want to see again. Set up a designated area for donations. If people added items to your sale, make sure they know they will have to come and pick up anything that did not sell. If they’re donating perhaps they’ll be willing to take your items with them. Hopefully, you’ve been keeping track of what was sold so splitting the money should be no trouble.

Whew! Garage sales are a lot of work, but they can be a lot of fun, too. If you’re thinking of having one, give yourself plenty of time to prepare and schedule a rain day so you don’t have to use it. Good luck!

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