How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Home Improvement

How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

AHHHHHHHH, I LOVE A GOOD GARAGE SALE!!! Having one can make you a few extra hundred or even thousands of dollars! But my favorite part is rummaging around in other people's stuff and it is lots of fun. I wonder who started this practice? Geniuses!  They probably called it a cave sale, those first men and women who displayed and sold used, unwanted goods to friends and strangers. Angie & I have had many garage sales and I love going to them to find those "treasures". For as long as it has been true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, garage sales have benefited both buyer and seller. So before throwing your own worldly possessions on the front lawn, check out the following suggestions for garage sale success:


What to Sell -- Very I mportant

l Because variety is the spice of life, garage sale shoppers prefer sales that feature a little bit of everything. If you have nothing but used clothing and toys to sell, wait until you can pull together a few more items. You want to attract all kinds of buyers to the sale. Not just the ones who need those items.

l When deciding what to sell, never underestimate the value for absolute junk. Those little things you got for free a few years ago, well someone will buy them! If you haven’t used something in the past year, put it up for sale. I cannot believe what some people put on the curb and throw away!

l Since dealers and antique collectors frequent garage sales, proudly display one-of-a-kind items. Oh this will make people stop when they see something unique! Even if they aren't in the market they will stop and look and wonder what else you have that may be of interest.

l Dressers, bookcases, baskets, tables, toys, and tools attract traffic. You might put those things closer to the front so they can be seen. Tools especially. Guys love tools! 

l If you sell appliances, make sure they work. Have an outlet handy so buyers can plug in that old TV set before buying it. No one wants to get home with an item and find out it is not working. If  you do sell an item that isn't working, you could get a knock on the door later asking for money returned. Let's keep it ethical. If it is something that doesn't work, mark it that way. It may still sell and you did the right thing by stating the condition and pricing accordingly.


How to Price

l Put price tags on items. Customers may assume that unmarked items are out of their price range.

l Be prepared to haggle. Price everything at twice the price you really want for it so you can accept offers for half price. Most garage sale enthusiasts love to negotiate. But it’s okay to say, “I’m firm on that price.” However, if you price it too high they wont even ask or contiue to look. Be realistic and remember it is a garage sale and not a retail shop! 

l Take a hint from retail vendors who mark down slow sellers. If an item doesn’t move, ask a little less. Put the lesser price on the item.

l Don’t charge more than half the retail value of your merchandise. In fact, most Web garage sale sites recommend pricing items at 10 to 30 percent of retail.


How to Display

l Clean everything. Dirty dishes fetch a far lower price than their clean counterparts. And besides that.... GROSS!

l Large items bring the most foot traffic. If you sell a couch or table early in the day, ask if you can keep the item with a “sold” sign on it until the end of the day.

l Clothing on racks sells higher than similar items thrown on a blanket. If possible, hang a line in your garage or buy a portable rack. People who dig through boxes expect to pay much less for those items.

l Clearly mark your sales area. If you have a sale in your garage, cover the lawn mower, shovels, and rakes. People will ask to buy those items you do not wish to sell. A sale is a sale! We ALMOST sold our house along with the other junk we were trying to sell! That may have constituted throwing the baby out with the bathwater... HAHA!

l Attract attention with eye-catching balloons and signs. Angie is great with garage sale signs. She buys the big pink paper ones and writes really big.


How to Advertise

l Place an ad in a weekly or daily newspaper. If you partner with neighbors on a mutually convenient weekend, you can usually convince them to share the cost with you. Also use your Nextdoor app as well as facebook and craigslist!

l Make plenty of bold, bright, neatly lettered signs. Place them at strategic locations, directing traffic to your neighborhood, street, and house. But don’t forget to take them down when the sale is over! Leaving them out is kind of like littering!

l Don’t sponge off of your neighbors’ advertising. If he places ads and posts signs for his own sale, offer to split costs, or wait for another day to sell your stuff.


When to Sell

l Check the weather forecast before planning your sale. Even if you plan to have your sale indoors, inclement weather may keep your customers at home.

l Saturday is often the best day for a yard or garage sale, though this varies regionally. In some places, people tend to favor Thursday or Friday sales. If you are new to an area, ask around to see which days are the most popular for sales. Your neighborhood may have a sanctioned garage sale day. This brings tons of traffic in!


What to Do with Leftovers

l Store unsold items for another day. What isn’t of interest now may be in high demand next year. This however, is not always a good thing. If you wanted to sell it because of decluttering, get rid of it asap. There are great places to do just that.

l Make arrangements to have unsold items picked up by the Salvation Army or other charitable organization. Most provide receipts for taxable donations. To calculate the fair market value of donated items, talk to your accountant. You will probably be surprised by how much you can claim.

l Give the items away. What doesn’t sell is usually snapped up when placed near a sign that says, “FREE.” Make sure to use your regular curb day.

Hope you enjoyed this. Maybe Angie & I will see y ou at your garage sale one day soon!

Have a great day and HAPPY SELLING!