I once went through a phase where I couldn’t get enough of TV shows about home organization. One of my big takeaways was that if you haven’t used something in a year, you probably don’t need it. This made me look at our house and belongings in a whole new light. And so we had our first garage sale. Since then, garage sales have become an annual occurrence at our house. Garage sales, or yard sales, help us organize while making a few extra dollars. Take a look below for some tips to help you have a great garage sale!
Why Have a Garage Sale???
Sell Your Stuff and Make Extra Money
If you have things laying around your house that you no longer need or want, a garage sale is a great way to generate a few extra dollars. Don’t expect to get store prices for your items, but you can expect a few extra dollars for your efforts.
Garage Sales Help Keep You Organized
Most of us accumulate a ton of “stuff” over time. To try and cut back on clutter, about once a year, we hold a garage sale as a way of purging things we no longer use. We have a space set aside for storing things we plan to sell at our garage sale. We’ll add items to this over time, but go into high gear as the big sale day approaches.
Garage Sales are Social
I love having garage sales. Yes, they’re a lot of work. We’ve made more money at some than others, but I like meeting new people. And when you have a garage sale, lots of people stop by! Plus, garage sales drive a lot of local foot traffic so it’s a great way to get to know your neighbors.
Tips for a Great Garage Sale!
Check if You Have to Get a Permit to Have a Garage Sale
It’s weird, I know. My town requires permits. These yard sale permits don’t cost much – where I live it’s only $1. Really. I’m sure most people ignore this, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Make sure to check with your local city hall, in case your city or town requires a permit too.
Include Fridays in Your Sale Day(s)
Friday sales are one of garage salers best-kept secret. This is the biggest day for resellers to shop local garage sales for goods – for example, people who sell at flea markets. They shop garage sales on Fridays looking for merchandise they can resell during the weekend.
Start No Later than 8am
Seven in the morning is a popular start time, but 8am is the rule of thumb. So, between 7am and 8am is probably the best time for a garage sale. I once came across a garage sale where the homeowner was setting up at 11am! I asked him why so late and he said he worked the night before. While I could sympathize, it didn’t change the fact that most garage salers start early in the morning and, well, he likely missed a good chunk of them.
Create Curb Appeal
Similar to how stores work to catch your eye and lure you in by displaying their best stuff towards the front of the store and in display windows, you’ll want to position a few visibly appealing items close to the curb or end of your driveway – where people can easily identify what they are and be enticed to get out of their car and check out your sale. Bonus points if the item is larger and easier to spot while someone drives by.
Ask Your Neighbors to Have a Sale Too!
The more sales, the better! Most garage salers drive around looking for sale, so finding a bunch of sales near each other makes it easier and more enticing. Especially if your neighbors have kids. We don’t have children, but we like to team up with neighbors that do. Baby clothes, toys and furniture are hugely popular garage sale items – and they’ll do wonders if you mention them on your garage sale description when you advertise your sale.
Advertise Your Garage Sale
Craigslist is my favorite – plus it’s FREE! – but also advertise in other free boards for your area. Facebook has community boards in most metro areas where you can share the details about your upcoming sale. And, if allowed, make sure to include pictures and a list of your best items.
Price Your Items
Have an idea of what you want to charge for things. And then pad it a little. This way you’ll be prepared to negotiate. Some people can do this in their heads, but if you have a lot of stuff, you may want to make a list. Try not to overprice to where people won’t want to negotiate with you, but also don’t share your rock bottom price. Garage salers expect to negotiate. It’s not personal, it’s part of selling – I’ve had people get offended by this, but I just roll my eyes. Rookies!
Post prices on items. I don’t necessarily post prices on all items, because I just don’t want to take the time, but I’ll post prices for most. To save time, consider grouping things by price – for example, a table full of $5 items, another with $1 items, etc.
Prepare the Night Before
Whether this means setting everything up in your garage the night before or setting all your items together so you can easily carry everything outside in the morning, it will make a huge difference if you prep the night before. Otherwise, you could end up losing valuable time trying to find your items to sell, tables to display things on, etc.
Get Money for the Garage Sale
You’ll want to have some cash on hand before you start the sale so you can make change for your customers. How much money you should have for a garage sale depends on what you’re selling (lots of inexpensive items or big ticket items). I like to start off with $50 – a $10 bill, four $5 bills, fifteen $1 bills and the rest in change. Make sure to have some of all coins – pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. And make sure the cash is secure and never out of your sight during the sale. Many people use fanny packs or cash boxes.
Set Signs Out
Use arrows and make sure to follow city guidelines. In my city, this means signs have to be on the side of the sidewalk away from the street. Someone actually drives around and takes away all signs that are not positioned in the right place. You don’t want your customers to get lost.
If you include writing in your signs, make sure it’s BIG to avoid causing an accident from someone trying to read small print as they drive past. We use preprinted Garage Sale signs you can buy at the store. We then map out popular roads near our house and draw arrows on them to help guide people – if you’re not directionally inclined, you may want to find someone that is and have them help you with this. You don’t want arrows pointing the wrong way.
And note where you placed your signs so that you can go back and collect them at the end of your sale. Don’t be that person with garage sale signs still posted all over town the following Wednesday.
Garage sales run for hours. And you don’t want to leave your garage sale unattended. Plan ahead what things you’ll need to be comfortable – lawn chairs, bottles of water, snacks, etc. We even have a playpen for our dogs so they can join in on the action 🙂