10 Tips For a Successful Garage Sale
Updated July 2016
Throwing a garage sale is hard work. You have to plan ahead of time, organize what can be hundreds of items, and stand in the heat the whole day. But it can also be totally worth it. We hosted a garage sale this past weekend and made way more money than we thought we would.
Michael is a garage virgin. His family had only one growing up, while I grew up having as many as three a year. This might also be because my Mom is a garage sale addict and we'd spend Saturdays hunting for something great at yard sale. Sometimes it'd be great, other times it went in our own garage sale pile to be sold the next time we decided to have one.
We didn't think we'd make much this go -round because we didn't have a lot of “big ticket” items. No electronics, not a lot of furniture, and nothing very expensive. We did sell a TV, valued at $75. But other than that it was knick-knacks and clothes. But our final tally yesterday was… (drumroll please): over $700! – Update, our past garage sale we made over $1200!
Here's how we did it:
1. Collect your stuff.
We started a piling our stuff a few weeks ago. We cleared out the clutter and moved everything into the spare room to see what we were getting rid of. If we hadn't used it in the past year, it went in the pile. Unless it was a momento, it needed to go. Sorry neon cardigan that I thought would be so cute transitioning to Fall, you had to go.
2. Clean it up.
Making your stuff look presentable goes a long way. We got rid of some glasses that looked kind of scummy. They collected dust, so we ran them through the dishwasher. I also created a little display for clothes so people could easily sort through them and see what we had to offer.
3. Price Everything.
I know, it's a lot of work. But it's easier to haggle with people when they know the price you had in mind. I would group things together (i.e. shot glasses) on a able and use masking tape to put the price per item. I also did this with books, DVDs, glasses, and jewelry. So I didn't label every minute thing, but I tried to give people an idea of what we were asking for. If you're serious about a price and won't go lower, write “price firm”. This is what I did with the TV.
4. Plan ahead.
Michael and I spent all of Friday setting up tables, organizing items into like categories, and making signs. We then woke up at 5 A.M. to set up the signs and be ready when our sale strated at 7 A.M. We posted an ad on craigslist and another site called Nextdoor. We listed some items people might be interested in (name brand clothes, the TV, dog house, a bike etc.)
5. Garage Sale Signs are Everything.
You can do all of the above but if you don't have a good, clear signs your sale won't be successful. We wrote on neon poster board as large as we could. We put up a total of 5 near our neighborhood with arrows directing them to our house.
Bonus tip: Get stickers to label and price everything, it makes it much easier.
6. Make it easy to see.
We set up multiple tables, hung racks of clothing, and organized items into similar piles. I wanted people to have easy access to everything and see it all. We put the TV and bike and furniture up front to draw people in. We hung the nicer clothes in the more visible areas. Sunglasses were set up in baskets and made it so it felt more like a pleasing aesthetic. Packaging sells, right?
7. Have Spare Change.
I went to the bank before and make sure I had enough 1's, 5's, 10's and some coins to give people change back.
8. Be ready for a long day.
A garage sale usually starts pretty early in the morning (7 A.M. for us) and can end around 5pm or even go on until the next day. I'm weird in that I get a rush out of a quick sale, but Michael got bored fast. Just know it's a one time thing, so push through it! Also, wear a fanny pack. Or maybe I just like to do that. But it's easy to carry all the cash.
9. Let it go.
At the end of the day slash your prices. We told people they could fit as much as they could in a bag for $10 the last hour of the sale. Stuff we thought we might need to just throw away got picked up. It was great because it ended up being less work for us and someone else wanted it. Also, if you're wanting to quit don't haggle as much with pricing. I had a dress priced at $3 and she wanted it for $1. I said sure. It probably wouldn't have sold otherwise.
10. Have drinks for sale.
This is a great way to make an extra few bucks. We had a cooler full of soft drinks and water with a sign that said $1 for a drink. It was so hot on Saturday that usually was the first thing to sell while people perused the tables.
Need a sign for your garage sale? Try the FREE Garage Sale Sign kit here.
I'm still proud of myself for making money and clearing the house out of junk. What are your garage sale tips?