10 Tips for Having a Killer Garage Sale

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Have you ever shopped at a garage sale and thought about how much time actually went into putting it all together? Or maybe you’ve wanted to have one for years, but aren’t sure if it’s worth the effort.

One person’s trash is definitely another’s treasure, so there are tons of avid yard sale shoppers eager to take your unwanted items off your hands. And if you have anything of value, a yard sale is a quick way to make a nice chunk of cash.

Overwhelmed at the thought of undertaking such a time-consuming task? No need to worry, because Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers some valuable tips in the video below to help you along the way. Take a look and keep reading for more suggestions.

1. Plan ahead

If you’ve decided on a date, it’s time to gather your inventory. Start by retrieving anything you haven’t used in six months, sorting the items by category and placing them in labeled boxes. Now step back and admire how you have successfully decluttered.

Some people regularly go through their stuff throughout the year and set unwanted items aside for garage sale season.

When should you have your sale? Obviously the winter is not an option unless you live where it never snows. Avoid the intense heat of summer if you can. Avoid holiday weekends because most people will be preoccupied with other activities or traveling.

Stand out from the competition by starting your sale on Friday, rather than Saturday morning. And be aware that people will show up at 7 a.m. even if your advertised start time is two hours later.

2. Prepare your space

Mow the lawn, weed the flower beds, and smooth any uneven surfaces that could be a potential problem for customers. The last thing you want is for your guests to take a tumble. If you park on the street, move your car to make room for customers.

3. Simplify pricing

Adopt a simplified pricing structure so you won’t have to make a lot of change. Group items of the same price together, and clearly display the price. You could use a color code or put a sticker with the price on each item. Or make a sign: “Each item on this table goes for $1.” (Just make sure higher-priced items aren’t accidentally left there.)

If the price of an item is firm, indicate that on the sales tag. For big-ticket items, it may also help to attach an advertisement for a new version of the item with its normal asking price to show that you are offering it at a greatly reduced rate.

4. Make it easy to shop

Group similar items to make it easier for customers to navigate the sale. Also, keep items off the ground. Hang up clothes. Offer an outlet for customers to test electrical items. Be sure you start the sale with plenty of small bills and change.

On the other hand, don’t let customers score a surprise deal. Check the pockets of all clothing, and go through all boxes to make sure you haven’t accidentally included something that shouldn’t be there. Also, make sure you know the real value of your stuff. We’ve all heard stories about people who paid very little for something the seller didn’t realize was worth a lot more.

5. Advertise. Advertise. Advertise.

Aim for consistency and use bright colors with a minimal amount of words on your neighborhood signs. Your signs should also include clear instructions on how to get to your sale and a phone number in case customers need to contact you. It’s a good idea to put them up a few days prior to the sale to create buzz. But check with city officials first to make sure it’s permissible. Check the signs each day of the sale to make sure they’re still in place and legible.

Advertise on community bulletin boards. Place a classified ad in the local newspaper and they’ll likely give you a yard sale sign kit. Advertise for free on sites like Craigslist and Yard Sale Search. Also, people in your community may have organized a yard sale Facebook page.

6. Don’t go it alone

You can’t run a yard sale by yourself. At the minimum, you need someone around for when you take a potty break. Also it’s good to have more eyes to make sure people don’t make off with your goods without paying. (By the way, never leave your money unattended. Keep it on your person. And never let customers you don’t know inside your home.)

If you have a good relationship with the neighbors, ask them to help out and also display their unwanted items at your sale. Provide them with cold drinks and snacks.

7. Be flexible

Some people always offer to pay full price, but many more love to haggle. Hear them out, and be willing to lower the price as the day goes on. Your goal is to make money from your stuff, rather than taking it to the thrift store.

8. Provide plastic bags

Want to score cool points with shoppers? Have free plastic bags on hand — the ones you get at the grocery store when you’ve forgotten your canvas bag at home — so they won’t have to lug around a bunch of small items.

You can also offer a “fill a bag special” on select low-priced items, such as baby clothes, small toys or books. I did this at a flea market sale a few years back and walked away with almost double the amount I anticipated earning for the day.

9. Don’t be a stalker!

You want your guests to be as comfortable as possible, so have a pitcher of water and disposable cups available. Let them roam freely among the sale items without you standing close by. Always offer a kind greeting and let them know you’re available if they need assistance.

10. Donate what’s left

Figure out beforehand which charity will receive what you haven’t sold by the conclusion of your sale. Call them and ask about the best times to make deliveries. Some will come to your home to pick up large items.

Finally, put the money you’ve earned to good use. If you’re saddled with debt, allocate the funds toward the outstanding balances. Or you can give your savings a boost.

Do you have any additional tips for having a successful garage sale? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • http://rockstarfinance.com J. Money

    Thanks for including one of my articles – So excited it’s yard sale season!!!

    • http://www.moneytalksnews.com/ Stacy Johnson

      You’re welcome, J!

  • artsfarmstudios

    I don’t usually comment on articles, but have to say this very well could be the best one on having a garage/yard sale I’ve read yet. All the other ones basically rehash the same basic information over and over, but this piece brings up things that are important, but often overlooked. I would bet the author has run more than a few sales in her time, as a lot of these tips are things you learn by doing. :-)