How to Host a Successful Garage Sale: Tips, Tricks

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Real Estate

Hosting a successful garage sale can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also hard work. Whether you are hosting your first garage sale or have hosted many in the past, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

This article will give you some garage sale tips and tricks for making sure that your next garage sale is successful!

How to price garage sale items

It may seem obvious, but pricing items for a yard sale is probably the most important thing to consider when hosting a garage sale. You don't have to price your goods exactly how much you paid for it or what you think the item could sell for on eBay.

Instead, follow these garage sale tips:

-Price items at half of their value (or lower).

-Use online price guides to determine the value of an item. If you don't know what an item is worth and it looks like a collectable take caution. You might want to get that valuable heirloom appraised by a professional first.

-Don’t be afraid to negotiate with potential buyers. This can be a great way to make up for any mistakes in pricing.

-Consider price anchoring items that you want to sell quickly. How you price items is important.

This means setting the prices of those items significantly higher than other, less sought after ones so customers are more willing to pay them first and have room left over for lower priced goods later on.

You also want to have price tags on everything. We know price tags are a pain but studies have shown you'll make more money because many people will just pay what's on the tag without haggling.

Want a successful garage sale? Work on the price long before the day of the sale.

garage sale items

Consider Bulk Pricing Similar Items

Bulk pricing can be a great way to attract customers and make it easier for them to find things they want. However, this tactic has its downsides too.

Remember that while you might get more money by selling multiple items at once, there is also the possibility of losing out on individual sales if someone only wants one item from your bulk lot.

If you think that the items in your sale are only worth a dollar or two each, but they come out to five dollars when sold together; make it clear in your advertisement what the individual prices for those items will be if someone is interested in buying them separately.

Put a sign up that says so too.

Many of these considerations apply to estate sales and yard sales as well.

You might also consider hiring a professional for assistance with your sale; these professionals are often called “garage salers” and can help you get the best price possible on your items as well as determine which ones to sell at all!

You might even be able to command higher prices as well.

How do I organize a garage sale?

When it is time to host your garage sale, there are several things you should consider. First and foremost: do not try to arrange everything the night before or even in the morning of!

Make sure that every item has a space where it belongs (labeling works wonders here) and then find an open area for all of your items as well as a location for any tables you might need.

A great place to start is with the items that are most valuable and those that will sell quickly. Much like bulk pricing, setting these “anchor” prices can help attract customers by showing them exactly what they could buy today if they find the right item.

For certain areas of your home, you might want to consider placing a tarp down on the floor or laying out sheets of cardboard instead.

This can help protect your floors from damage and make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for!

Should I include my entire family in our yard sale?
This is a tough one. There are many multi family yard sales where each family brings their items for sale. But there a lot of considerations too.

How do you keep track of the money? Will everyone have price tags? What if they are late on the sale day? Will they help with the signs? What if there are tips?

There is no simple solution to these questions, other than to discuss them well beforehand with the other family members. It's best not to discuss these multi family yard sale topics in front of the early birds when the garage door is opening at the beginning of the sale.

Where there is a family sale and money is involved, things can get messy.

What should I not sell at my garage sale?

While garage sale etiquette is very relaxed in many situations (most people simply ask before taking something), there are certain items that you should not sell.

Items that might be considered unsafe or hazardous (such as cigarettes, lighters and matches) can attract the wrong customer base so it is best to leave these at home for your own safety.

It's also probably a good idea to avoid selling any drugs or alcohol; while many people might find these things perfectly acceptable, they might also be illegal in certain jurisdictions.

Finally, you should avoid selling items that have a strong sentimental value for you; this can lead to conflict between buyers and sellers later on if there is an issue with the product or service (for instance, if someone bought your wedding ring but did not get what was promised).

How do I have a garage sale without upsetting my neighbors?
Let your neighbors know ahead of time of the garage sale. No one wants to find out the day of the sale that their neighbor is hosting a garage sale.

A great idea is to ask your neighbors if they have any stuff they want to get rid of. Recommend caveating this offer with only large ticket items and limit it to just 2 or 3 items. After all it is your garage sale.

Maybe they are thinking about doing the same thing. You could always partner with them. Not only is this a great way to make money but it helps bond with your neighbors.

How do I advertise for a garage sale?

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign. At least the day prior and the day of the sale.

The most common way to advertise your garage sale is by placing an advertisement in the local newspaper.

Make sure you are specific about where and when it will be (including time) so that people can plan accordingly.

If you want, you could also consider placing advertisements on bulletin boards around town or placing flyers in mailboxes of the neighborhood.

We think the best place to advertise your garage sale is on facebook, especially if there is a community page.

One guerrilla marketing idea is to put flyers at a garage sale happening a week or two before your garage sale.

Good marketing is another trait of a successful garage sale.

How do I arrange clothes for a yard sale?

When you're setting up your yard sale, it's important to think about how clothes and baby clothes will be displayed. While different people might have different methods that work best for them; there are a few things that everyone should take into consideration when arranging their clothes.

First of all, it is always better to display the most expensive items first and then go from there.

This way, customers know what they are getting if they pick up your clothes and it also makes them more likely to want the rest of those items as well!

Clean everything before the garage sale; this can help attract a larger audience by showing people exactly how new or used an item is.

You should also try to label your stuff clearly; this can be particularly useful if you are selling clothes from another gender or (if applicable) a different age range than yourself.

Lastly, it is always important that you display the price of each item as well!

This can help make sure that both parties know what they will need to pay if they want to purchase something.

Be sure to especially mark sale items.

successful garage sale

The best day and time to have a garage sale

Is on a Saturday morning.

This is when most people have time to go garage sale-ing and are looking for deals, but least likely during the weekdays where everyone has work or school.

Check your community guidelines before committing to a date.

Pick a date for your garage sale and commit

If possible, avoid scheduling it for a holiday or festival. People are probably going to be doing other things that weekend and not garage sale-ing.

Also make sure not to choose a date where there's another big event in town because this may have the same effect of cutting into your sales. The best time frame is early to mid morning.

The professional garage sale buyers will be waiting for you to open.

Have a goal for your garage sale

For example, you may want to make $500 or get rid of everything.

Knowing what your goal is ensures that you can work towards it during the course of the sale and know when to call it quits. It also helps determine how much time you spend pricing before opening up shop for the day.

You don't have any time the day of, so make sure they're all priced appropriately and you don't have any higher than what people are willing to pay.

Prepare for a successful garage sell by doing these things:

Make flyers once your date is set. Flyers should include where your garage sale will be held, address with map included, date, time and any other important details.

Make sure you have enough posters up around town too to let people know about the garage sale! The more people that see your flyers or posters, the better chance you'll get a big turnout because they will spread word of mouth awareness.

Have fliers available with all prices marked so people can easily see what you're selling and for how much. Make sure to include all relevant information about your garage sale on these fliers including if there's a table fee, where the money is going (to charity) etc.

This will help weed out people who aren't really interested in buying from you because they don't want to pay an extra fee.

Consider hosting your garage sale outside of the driveway or sidewalk to make it easier on yourself when people are stopping by and you have customers trying to park.

Renting a table is also an option if there's enough room for one so that items aren't sitting directly on the ground (which makes them more susceptible to getting dirty or wet) and people can easily see them.

If you do purchase a table, make sure to bring your own chairs for comfort because no one likes to stand up the entire time they're hosting a garage sale!

Price everything before the day of the garage sell so that there is minimal work for yourself when it's actually opening time.

Be sure you can make change

Sounds simple but it is something to consider. What if your first customer arrives with a $50 and wants to buy something inexpensive?

Be sure you have enough change.

This can also avoid any potential problems with people not having cash or being short on exact change for your items.

You will save a lot of time by doing this before setting up so there's no need to rush around making change on the day of.

awesome garage sale tips

Best selling things at garage sales

Garage sales are a great way to get rid of stuff that has been cluttering up your home because people love buying used items.

There are some things, however, that sell better than others at garage sales and it's good to know what these top-sellers are so you can be sure they're priced appropriately when the day of the garage sale comes.

Here are some of the best items to sell at a garage sale:

Clothing is always in demand, especially if it's still in good condition with only minor wear and tear (like small stains or missing buttons).

Clothing can be expensive so it makes sense that people love buying used clothes at these kinds of sales so they can save money and still get something in good condition. The same goes for shoes, especially if you have men's or women's specific items (sizes will vary).

The next best thing to sell is decor because people always love adding new pieces to their homes! This could be anything from paintings hung on the wall to decorative trinkets and figurines.

If you have any knick-knacks that are in good condition, consider selling them at your garage sale because it is likely they will sell quickly!

Pots and pans also do well as people love buying these items for their new or first apartments since they're not very expensive (especially if used) and provide a lot of bang for your buck.

Books are the next best-selling items at garage sales and there is likely to be a good turnout if you have any textbooks available!

College students love buying these books because they can sell them back to their school's bookstore when term starts again in addition to using them during the semester so it's worth it to sell them at a garage sale if you are no longer using them.

Organize and clean all items before

It may seem obvious but if you don't put in the effort beforehand, it will all be for nothing. Make sure that everything is clean and organized so people can easily see what's on offer without having to dig through anything or ask you questions about what is or is not for sale.

Post physical garage sale signs

It may seem like too much work to post physical garage sale signs but it really is worth your time. People will appreciate having an actual sign they can follow instead of just guessing where the location might be or driving around aimlessly trying to find the right street address.

If people are easily able to see where and when your garage sale is, it is more likely that they will turn up and spend money. This could be a huge contribution to your overall success so posting signs before the day of the garage sale can make all the difference!

Please remember to take them down when the garage sale is over.

Arrange clothing thoughtfully

After you have organized everything, it's important to arrange the clothing thoughtfully so people know what they are looking at and can easily identify items that interest them.

This is especially true for things like shoes where there may be multiple pairs of similar styles or colors clumped together which might look strange but if arranged well, will attract more attention and actually sell more quickly.

Separate by boys, girls, mens and womens and then by items. So there should be a boys pants, boys shirts, mens pants, men shirts, etc.

Plan ahead for your garage sale

Here's a handy garage sale countdown checklist:

1 month out:

Pick the date and place first ad or FaceBook announcement

3 weeks out:

Clean out the garage and declutter your home.

Throw out all items that will not sell. A broken VCR player will not sell. Throw it out. A Christmas tape from 1983 won't sell either. get rid of it beforehand. Be ruthless. You'll need the space for items that will sell.

2 weeks out:

Identify all items you would like to sell and begin moving them to the garage or placing them in one location inside your home. Dedicate a closet for hanging items and a spare bedroom or the dining room for extra items.

Post on Facebook, Instagram and local newspaper.

Create flyer and signage for the garage sale.

1 week out:

Price all items.

Make stickers and garage signs.

Get change.

Arrange garage accordingly.

Think through what ifs: rain, snow, sleet, wind, cold, heat, neighborhood emergency, etc.

1 day prior:

Items priced and placed.

Cooler ready to go.

Signs up around neighborhood.

Garage Sale Day: Take it easy, enjoy the day! Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. Make sure you take breaks for food/water as needed throughout the day. You'll be tired at the end but happy

Use photos in your ads

People love photos. It's that simple.

Facebook loves pictures too.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Take good photos of garage sale items and post them on Facebook. This will entice people to attend and will get you higher prices. People are also more inclined to share a post with a great photo.

Not sure how to post on Facebook? Or what to post? Here's a great article on how to do it.

Show case your most expensive items with multiple pictures.

Open your yard sale on time!

It's imperative that you open the garage sale on time. People often make appointments to come see your stuff, so if the garage sale opens late their plans will be ruined and they probably won't return.

The professional buyers, meaning the ones who are going to spend money, have their entire morning planned around garage sales.

They will show up right on time when you are supposed to open. More importantly they might leave before you open if you open late.

A hallmark of a successful garage sale is beginning on time!

Be prepared for negotiations

Be prepared and have a price in mind for everything you want to sell. If the item is in good condition, or even if it needs some work done on it people will try negotiating with you.

Be reasonable but don't be scared off by them trying to negotiate because they often end up paying what your asking price was all along!

Bottomline: there will be negotiations. A lot of them. Make them fast and reasonable. If you goal is to clean out your home and make a little money then it is easier than if you are trying to make a certain amount of money.

Sentimentality will not help in this regard. Sorry, but it just won't. If something has that much sentimental value to you, then maybe it shouldn't be for sale.

As the saying goes, one man's garbage is another man's goldmine but the opposite is also true. One man's goldmine might be garbage to someone else.

Allow people to lump similar items together for a deal. This is especially helpful with clothing.

Should I give away stuff for free at my garage sale?

There will be stuff you give away for free. Trust us on this one.

When a family of 5 pulls up in an old car and the mom is carrying a newborn, you'll know what to do.

Karma says you will give away those baby clothes!

We gave away a very expensive baby seat once in this exact scenario.

Yes, try to sell, make some extra cash, but be a good community citizen as well. Many people that are looking for baby items are doing so because they need baby items.

They're not looking for stuff to resell but probably need those baby clothes and can't afford them elsewhere.

Showcase jewelry and eyewear

We recommend a special table for jewelry and similar items. We also recommend to price these accordingly and to know what you have. You can make money with jewelry and potential buyers won't be afraid of a high price if they know what they are getting.

Eyewear can be the same. This type of stuff also needs to be safeguarded and to that end should normally be placed on a table at the back of the garage.

Think twice about allowing holds

Here's a key tip because this is almost certain to come up.

One of the early birds will show up and want to purchase a big ticket item but won't have enough money. They'll then ask you to hold on to it for them while they go home to get extra money.

Unless you know them we don't recommend doing this. There is nothing worse than at the end of the day you still have the item and you have missed out on the extra cash because the individual never returned.

Security for your garage sale

On the day of the garage sale you are essentially running a thrift store. Granted many items aren't worth more than 50 cents, but experience has told us, there's always a few large ticket items.

Watch how you display your most expensive items. Is it easy to walk off with them without paying? In the heat of the moment it is hard to keep track of everything going on around you.

Your family can help in this instance. One person should be almost entirely dedicated watching display items to be sure someone doesn't just walk away with one or more high priced items.

Where are you going to keep your cash box? Recommend storing large bills somewhere safe, especially if you have many expensive items for sale. Keep the small bills in the cash box or in your pocket.

If you can use a service like square to accept credit cards or you can accept Venmo or PayPal, we recommend doing so.

Don't move the brand new items or the super expensive items into the garage the night prior if you are a heavy sleeper.

Can I accept credit cards at my yard sale?

square for credit card

Yes! The more forms of payment you can accept the more sales you'll have and the more money you'll make. You can use Square, Venmo and even PayPal.

Some people will only pay with credit card so Square will help with that.

If you can't afford Square or are not inclined to do so then we recommend putting a word about bringing extra cash or not taking a credit card on your signs, flyers and advertisements.

Last minute considerations for your yard sale

Don't want people to trample on your front lawn? Then you will need to put up more signs in your front yard.

Do you have an out of bounds area in your garage? Put down some masking tape and a sign.

Also many people forget to put the sale sign in their front yard too. It might not be readily apparent to passerbys that you are having a yard sale. So don't forget this key sign.

Do you have an extension cord ready in case someone wants to plug in a piece of electrical equipment?

Are there other yard sales going on around the neighborhood that day? Have each other refer each other for more sales traffic.

Do you have extra plastic grocery bags? These come in super handy for people that buy a bunch of small items.

You're going to need an extra table. Trust us.

Of all the garage sale tips, here's the most important one. Have fun. This yard sale is not going to make or break you. You will walk away with some extra cash, less clothing and good feeling about the free stuff you gave away to those less fortunate than you.

Conclusion

The yard sale is a great way to empty out your home and make a little money at it while doing so. Take these garages sale tips into consideration when you prepare for one because they will help increase sales and give you more time with your family!

To host an effective garage sale, be sure to advertise well, price items properly and be prepared for negotiations. Most importantly, open on time!

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Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash 

Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash 

Photo by Mika Baumeister & Clem Onojeghuo & Christiann Koepke on Unsplash