15 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

If you want to get rid of items you haven’t used in the past year, give some consideration to having a garage sale. That way you can make money and keep your belongings out of a landfill.Sure it takes some time to organize a garage sale, but the pay-off is usually well worth the effort. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-timer or an old pro, we make it easier for you by walking you through the 15 essential steps to ensure your garage sale is a success:

1.The Planning Phase

  1. Choose a date for your garage sale.
  2. Keep in mind you will need to do a lot of work beforehand so don’t choose tomorrow. The consensus seems to be a weekend in either late spring or early fall. That way you and your customers can enjoy nice weather.
  3. Determining the hours is important as well. Most garage sale patrons get out early so 7 a.m. – noon is good, and if you’re really into it, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. depending on the crowd.

2.Need a Permit?

  1. Before you schedule anything, find out if your city requires a permit to have a garage sale. You don’t want to get shut down before you make your first dollar.
  2. You may be able to apply online. Check your town or county website under “permits” to see if you need one and how to get it.

3.The Great Clean Out

  1. Whether you want to declutter, downsize, or are getting ready to move, go through your house room by room to gather the items you want to sell. Check closets, attic, basement, and garage.
  2. Try to have either a variety of items or a lot of one type of item. Anything from children’s clothing, furniture, games, shoes and handbags, costume jewelry, toys, appliances, exercise equipment, to classic CDs and DVDs. Whatever you have, put it out there, and see what happens.

4.Get the Word Out!

  1. When writing your ad, keep it short and to the point.
  2. List the most popular garage sale items including: furniture, kids’ clothes and toys, and collectibles.
  3. Include your address, plus the date(s) and time(s) your sale will take place.

5.In Print

  1. Advertise in your local paper. It’s inexpensive, and every home in your area gets a free copy, which means more potential customers for you.
  2. If you have some extra money, check out the rates for the major daily newspaper.
  3. If you reach enough potential customers you’ll make your money back and more.

6.Online

  1. Online advertising is often free or very inexpensive.
  2. People who come across your ad on these sites are already looking for garage sales.
  3. Try out a few from the list below:
    Craigslist
    Facebook Online Yard Sale Groups
    Yard Sale Search
    Garage Sale Hunter
    Garage Sales by Map
    Garage Sale Tracker
    Garage Sale Finder
  4. Don’t post your ad too early or people will forget. If your garage sale starts on Saturday morning, ensure your ads appear Thursday night or Friday afternoon.

7.Make Signs

  1. Check to see if laws in your area allow garage sale signs. Again, refer to the town or county website, or call the non-emergency police number and enquire about it.
  2. If you’re allowed to make signs, brightly colored poster board, a marker, and some wood paint stirrers or rulers, are all you need. Make sure your sign says “Garage Sale” in LARGE LETTERS. That is the #1 mistake most people make.
  3. No one can read a sign hand written on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper when they are driving past it. They’re too busy talking, listening to the radio, checking GPS, etc. Include your address or at least a big arrow pointing down the street towards your house.

8.Gather Supplies

  1. Make sure you have everything you need one day before the sale. You’ll want a couple chairs, a table, or other flat surface to accept payments and make change, and plenty of space to display your wares.
  2. Instead of renting or buying items to use for display purposes, see what you have in the way of card tables, patio furniture, folding chairs, etc. Keep breakable items to the side for safety.
  3. For smaller, non-breakable items, you can place a board over two milk crates. For clothes, you can use a garment rack or hang them on hangers off the top of your garage door or even on tree branches.

9.Make Change

  1. You need to have fives, ones, and at least twenty dollars in quarters.
  2. If you don’t have a small locking cash box, ask for a reusable cash envelope while you are at the bank so you can keep the money with you at all times.

10.Sort Before You Price

  1. Divide all items by category, such as books, clothing, home goods, kids’ toys, and more.
  2. If you have a lot of clothes, divide them by women’s, men’s, and kids’.

11.The Price is Right

  1. Price items individually.
  2. Use pieces of masking tape and the marker you bought for the signs.
  3. No need to jack up the prices thinking everyone will haggle. Some will of course, but other customers will walk away if they think prices are too high.

12.Organize the Night Before

  1. Arrange tables, put all the clothes on hangers, and store everything in the garage for safekeeping overnight.
  2. If you don’t have a garage, put similar items into laundry baskets or boxes. You still save time because you only have to pull the items out of the boxes.
  3. Map out item placement to make it easy in the morning. Customers can find what they need quickly with a logical, organized set up.

13.The Big Day

  1. Give yourself at least an hour before the start time to set up.
  2. Make sure you have your money in a safe place, and a comfortable, shaded area to sit. Not that you’ll be sitting a lot, but hopefully you’ll have a few minutes of downtime here and there.

14.Leftovers

  1. There will be leftover items after your garage sale. You can put everything by the curb with a “Free” sign, or take the leftovers to Goodwill for the tax deduction.
  2. Make an itemized list of everything you have with its original value. Once you drop it at a donation center, ask for a receipt. File the receipt until tax time.

15.Counting Your $$

  1. Having a garage sale is a lot of work, and you’ll no doubt spend hours organizing and pricing items, writing ads, and getting your supplies. But when it’s over, you’ll have a less cluttered home and a nice chunk of change. Well worth several hours of your time!

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