Tips for a Successful Garage Sale!

Garage Sale season has already started.  I have to say it is a favorite hobby of mine and my hubby’s, too.  We get up early, jump in the truck ~ with our dollars in our pockets, we head out. When I see that first fluorescent sign….my heart gets giddy with anticipation.  It’s early in the morning, we shop fast and we don’t buy “junk” that we do not need.  The brain must process quickly, “Will I use this or repurpose this?”, “Is there someone I know that could really use this or would it be “junk” to them?”

We also have a little competition each time we garage sale ~ who will finds the best “bargain”.  Here is what we do NOT do though.  We do not go in and talk down to the garage sale “owner” about their merchandise.  We also do not  insult them with a ridiculous offer if the price is already reasonable.  I have had this done to me.  It just ticks me off and I refuse the offer OR the price goes up! 😉

Great sign!

If you are thinking about having a garage sale, please allow me to give you a few tips:

1.  What do you need more than anything for your garage sale?  Yep ~ customers!  How do you get them to your location?  GREAT SIGNAGE!!  Fluorescent signs are the best.  They can be the seen from a far distance.  Don’t try to write a book on your sign!  “Sale” and an “arrow” are all you need.  If you are not on a busy corner, you will need multiple signs guiding the way to your sale.  Simple arrows in the same fluorescent color as you original sign will not only get them there, it will make your customers HaPpY!  If they cannot find you with ease, they will give up quickly.  ALSO!  Place your signs the evening before.  It will save you some “rush time” the next morning, and it will give neighbors a heads up. (BUT….have someone double-check your signs the next day to be sure they are still there!)” Start EARLY!Difficult to see and read from afar ~

2.  I don’t think there is any need to pay for an ad these days, but some  local newspapers still offer free garage sale ads.  If yours does, do it!

3.  Take advantage of social media!  Post your sale on your Facebook, twitter, etc,  AND on Craig’s List.  Just be sure and remove the ad when you close the sale.

4.  Check with your city to see if they require a garage sale permit.  If they do, get it.  It is not worth the citation, otherwise.  Sometimes during a city-wide sale, they do not charge a fee.

5.  Price your items. Some customers will not ask and you will lose the sale. Do not give your stuff away, but don’t over price, either.  For instance, if you have an antique chair and you want $20 for it, then price it at $30.  You will satisfy those garage salers that “always” ask for a lower price, and still get your price.  If you have clothing, it is easier for your shoppers if you hang them.  DO NOT just throw a tarp on the ground and make people dig through piles.  If items are neat, they will sell.  The last few hours of a sale, many people offer half price on remaining items.  It’s okay to exclude certain items if you chose to do this.  It is your sale, you make the rules! (This saves you from having to pack up so much.)

6.  Unless this is a barn sale, be sure your sale area (garage, driveway, porch) is clean.  If it is covered in bird poop or smells like cigarettes and cat urine, well….I wouldn’t shop there because I don’t want that in my house!  If you are selling items that have been stored, clean them up the best you can.  You will get more money for them…just for a little dusting!

7.  Have plenty of change.  It never fails someone may try to pull a large bill on you.  I’ve had  people hand me a “ben” for a $1.00 purchase.  You can say no.  I have. (politely) It is inconsiderate of them, plus it may be a counterfeit bill.  Also, keep a minimum change “on your body”.  I use a nail apron from home depot.  Once you have collected quite a bit of cash, go inside and stash it.  Don’t place it in a coin box on a table.  Thieves are aware, so you must be, too.

8.  If someone asks to go inside your house to try on clothes or use the restroom, say NO. (unless you know them very well!)

9.  Greet each customer and interact with them.  They will then WANT to buy something!  Really, it works!  Turn on your favorite music and make the atmosphere a fun one!

10.  Don’t “hold” stuff for folks unless they PAY CASH first.  And be sure you get their phone number.  Sometimes people forget where they bought what!

11.  Don’t have a lemonade stand.  Who knows where those little hands have been!  But DO have an ice chest of cold water or cokes.  If it is hot, you will sell them all!

12.  If you have lots of little things like fast food toys, bouncy balls, etc…..make up grab bags and sell them for $1.00 a bag.  Also, for true “junk”…place in a free box.  At least you won’t have to haul it off!

13.  Have grocery bags and paper to wrap breakables in for your customers.  And keep you hangers if you want them.

14.  It is best if you do not have your garage sale by yourself.  There is safety in numbers, so have it with a friend, spouse or neighbor.

Most of all…..have FUN with it and make some money!!!  We have always done extremely well in our garage sales, sometimes not even having any big price items to sell, following the above guidelines.

I know, this is lengthy, but I must tell you one little story.  The boys had a garage sale when we lived in Joplin, MO.  We had a box of misc stuff from a previous sale, so on one particular “weird” knick-knack, I made a little tag that said, “Please buy me.  This is my third garage sale and I am feeling neglected.”  An older guy walked up with a grin on his face.  He said, “I don’t even want this, I’m just buying it because of what it says.”  Again, have some fun.  Garage sales are hard work, but you get to meet some great folks, clean out unwanted items, AND make money……let me know how it goes if you have one!  Also, if you have any tips that I have missed, please share in our comments!Better if it were fluorescent ~

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13 Responses to Tips for a Successful Garage Sale!

  1. Jeannette Wynne says:

    Gargage sale “season” ? It’s all year round in CA:) We had one recently for our Relay for Life Team and netted $850…mostly small stuff too:) Happy hunting!!

    • Ha! I didn’t even think about that, Jeannette! Good point. Guess I just assume everyone lives with a winter! Our “season” is from mid-March through October….then we just watch football. ♥

  2. Great ideas. I need to have a garage sale to make room for all the glorious new finds.

  3. Hey there! I’m from Michigan so I def have a garage sale season too 😉 I’m so glad I came across your post. I was just looking for ads on craigslist and I’ve been noticing that people really just aren’t marketing their sales very well.. I want to have one maybe next month so I’m grateful for the tips! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for reading, Jessica! I hope some of the tips are helpful. Let me know how your sale goes? BTW, what part of Michigan? The “other” sister on here used to live in Ada ~ beautiful country ~ and a great escape from the Oklahoma heat in August!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing this at my linky party, you are being featured tonight! I hope you will stop back!

  5. Pingback: 9 Great Tips for Saving Money - Edward Antrobus

  6. Hanna says:

    I agree that is it important to price your items – you might not have time to answer everyone, and you can loose potential customers. If you need help pricing your items, and don’t want to spend time doing research yourself, I would recommend signing up for this new startup called Statricks. I just became a beta user myself, and it is great! You get price reports and fair market values for almost all used goods, so you know you don’t overpay or undersell your stuff

  7. Pingback: 9 Great Tips for Saving Money | Edward Antrobus

  8. Pingback: Taylor House Thursday #7

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