10 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

Garage SaleIt’s garage sale season, a dream or a nightmare for organizing. Why? Because if you go to garage sales, things are so inexpensive that you’re likely to make impulse buys that fill your house with clutter. But if you host your own garage sale to get rid of all those things you no longer need, you make space to do great organizing work.

10 Easy Tips for an Easy & Successful Garage Sale:
  1. This first one may be a bit controversial, but I recommend that you don’t take the time to put price tags on anything. It takes forever and people want to haggle anyway. When they come up to ask how much something is, you can give them a price, ask them to make you an offer, and/or point out another item they might like to buy.
  2. Big items get people to stop so if you’ve got furniture, strollers, or other larger things, put them out where people can see them easily as they pass by.
  3. Organize the stuff you’re putting out for the sale into categories so when you’re taking it out to driveway, you’ll be able to put like with like. That way people looking for kitchen stuff, toys, clothes, etc. can find it all in one place.
  4. If you can put things on tables or other display areas, do! Think of how items are displayed in stores.
  5. Have the right change: 1’s, 5’s, and quarters. If you charge less than a dollar for anything, charge in quarters. You can do two or three of an item for a quarter. You just don’t want to end up with pennies, nickels, and dimes.
  6. Don’t leave sale items in the house, not electronics or furniture because you don’t want strangers traipsing through your house. They could be thieves staking it out for later. You also don’t want to leave your other stuff unattended in the driveway while you take someone inside either.
  7. See if your neighborhood hosts a neighborhood garage sale or ask your neighbors or friends if they’d like to host garage sales the same day as yours. That way you can all advertise and attract more buyers.
  8. Put signs up on major streets to point them into your neighborhood and signs leading people to your house.
  9. Post on FB and Craig’s List and email to friends or listserves. Be specific about what you’ve got for sale so people looking for a coffee table or toddler size clothes know to come to your house.
  10. Get your kids in on it. Kids will be highly motivated to go through their toys and clothes and put their own stuff into the garage sale if they know they’ll get the money for it. You can set limits on what they’ll buy (i.e. toys or books, but not candy or video games).

When the sale is over, don’t bring the unsold items back into the house. Make a donation run. The whole point is that you don’t want these things anymore. If they didn’t sell, take the tax write-off and give them to someone else who could use them.

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2 thoughts on “10 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

  1. Pierre says:

    My wife and I have had a blast with our “Name Your Own Price” yard sales. We ask everyone to make an offer and will accept it if it is reasonable. (5 cents for a used blender is not exactly reasonable…) We’ve found that we sell more overall, maybe for less than we would have priced it originally, but since our goal is to get rid of STUFF, it’s a win-win for us. Yes, we have a few items with either set prices or a fixed range, but we usually can count these things on one hand since they are items we will likely keep through for the next yard sale or will post on Craigslist when we’re done.

    • What a great idea! I’m trying that at our next garage sale.

      We just did our annual neighborhood garage. Having my six-year-old son as a helper meant that while I didn’t need to label prices for my things, I would recommend that if you’re not having people name their own price, you either supervise your child’s area, label individual items or give price categories to different items i.e. 50 cents for board books, etc. To him, twenty-five cents sounded like much more than five dollars because he understands numbers but money is still a little shaky.

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