It is simple to have a successful garage sale. You just need to get some tips from someone who’s made thousands on those she’s had!
It seems that every time I look around my house and decide to declutter, I need to get more and more things! Sure, you can donate those items, but you could easily turn around and make some money!! After all, “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure.”
Don’t just toss everything onto a table and all it a sale. To make money on your garage sale, you need to do some prep work.
I have had numerous sales and have netted more than $1,000 on a couple of occasions. Follow my tips to get the most profit you can from your sale.
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1. Pick the right day and time
My best tip for planning a successful garage sale is picking the right day and time to host your sale. Of course, this all depends upon where you live. In my area, Friday nights and Saturday mornings are the best times for sales. For other regions, it may be a Wednesday. You can easily look in your local newspaper for listings to see what is the norm for you.
As far as the time of day and length to run your sale – that is personal preference. However, if you are going to have it on a weekday, try to run it into the evening so that you can catch those people must work as well.
2. See if you can have a neighborhood sale
Many times, when you can post a neighborhood or subdivision sale, you can have a larger draw, as people know that they can drive to one area and hit several sales.
If you are participating in one of these, I recommend a Seller’s List. This is where each household participating provides their address and the types of items they have for sale. It would be available at the entrance of your neighborhood – by the signs – for people to grab to see where they may want to go shopping.
123 Main: Kids’ items, furniture, housewares, misc.
125 Main: Tools, sporting goods, linens, misc.
3. Organize your items for display – and do so neatly
If you walk up to a sale and everything is literally thrown onto a table and you can’t even see what is for sale, more than likely, you will turn and walk away. Taking the extra time to have several tables and items split out can yield you even more money.
I have the following tables/locations for my sale: Home Decor, Electronics, Housewares, Linens, Toys, Baby Items. They are all on their own tables and set up nicely on the table so that my customer can easily see what I am selling.
Another plus of having a nice display is more appeal. It comes across to the buyer that you take pride in your items you are selling, showing that you took care of them when you own them.
4. Make sure your items are clean
When you are pulling your items out to set on your tables, be sure it is clean. Nothing is worse than picking up a plate with food on it, or a picture covered in dust. Just taking a few minutes to wipe the dirt off something, or wipe down the smudges can earn you a little extra money. This simple tip can really help you have a successful garage sale.
5. Launder and fold/hang clothing items
If you are selling clothing, be sure to take the time to launder everything before you sell it. Would you really want to purchase a coat that you can tell a 2-year-old enjoyed his chocolate ice cream cone wearing, before Mom put it up for sale? Probably not. However, if it was clean, you may have more interest.
I take the time to wash and fold all my items. I display them nicely on a table and fold and sort according to size. This makes it very easy for my buyers to find what they are looking for. Plus, it is clean and they are more willing to purchase.
As far as outfits go, I take the extra time and press everything. I know, ironing is NOT fun. However, a nicely pressed outfit could bring you $1-$2 more. So, it is worth it.
I also HIGHLY recommend hanging clothes. This helps you in more than one way:
ONE: It helps your customers to look through all your items without rummaging through a table resulting in a mound of wrinkled clothes.
TWO: It can increase the value of the outfit. By hanging an outfit on a hanger, or folding it together, it makes it worth more to the buyer. It also helps you as all items are already together at the time of the sale and you aren’t looking over 3 tables trying to find the matching hat or socks.
THREE: People feel like they are shopping in a store rather than a garage sale.
6. Clearly mark all items with a price tag or use signage
While you may be willing to negotiate your price, having your entire sale marked “Make Me an Offer” can turn many people away. Most need to know what you are asking. Place stickers on all items so that shoppers know the price.
If you are willing to negotiate, hang “We Negotiate” signs around the space. People will then know you are willing to haggle a bit.
If you are not sure what to price things, you can go and check out Ebay or Craigslist so that you can be sure you are asking a fair price for your items. Just be sure you don’t underprice your stuff!
7. Advertise your sale with signs
Be sure to set up signs with directional arrows to help guide people to your sale. I recommend starting with a larger one at the busiest intersection closest to your house and then set them up every so often to help guide people to your sale. If you don’t advertise, people can’t find you. I even will put one in my yard so that it helps to just really draw people in.
8. Don’t forget your change (and accept cash only)
One of the best tips I have for a successful garage sale is to make sure you have the proper change. Ensure you have enough ones, fives, quarter, etc. so that you can make change for your customer’s purchases. I usually get $75 – $100 in change to have handy. But I do NOT put it all into my container at once. I keep the additional change in the house and as I run short of any denomination, I can just run in and get what I need.
I also recommend to keep your money in a cash box or even a carpenter’s apron. Never let it sit in the open as it is just too tempting for the wrong person to grab it and run. Another recommendation I have is that when you start to get a large sum in your box, take some of it into your house so that you don’t have as much available for others to see. Even the person who seems harmless could try to grab and go, leaving you hanging.
Make sure you accept cash only. You don’t want to deal with potential returned check charges. You should also be wary of large bills as you don’t want to end up being paid with counterfeit bills! If someone is making a very large purchase, I will have them make a deposit on the item and they can go and get the cash and then come and complete the transaction. That way, if they say they want it (and then I don’t sell it) and they never return – I don’t miss out on a potential sale with another customer.
9. Be ready to start when you say you will
When you advertise your sale will begin at 8:00 a.m., be ready to open your doors BY that time. Many times, people arrive early so that they can find the best deals and if you don’t open on time, you could lose someone who is willing to part with many of your “treasures.”
10. Don’t be married to your prices
My final tip for a successful garage sale is being willing to negotiate prices. Always know how much you MUST get (or really WANT to get for the item) so that you know how low you are willing to go. That way, you have wiggle room and come across as someone who is willing to wheel and deal with people.
The last few hours of your sale are a GREAT time to help get rid of those last piles of junk that you really don’t want to have to box up to cart away. I will offer a 50% off all marked prices deal during the last 1 – 1 1/2 hours of my sale. It is amazing what you can unload when you say that it is marked down….even something that someone can pay $0.25 for vs. $0.50 is a deal to many and after all, $0.25 in your pocket is more than you’ll get to have to get rid of it later.
Hopefully you are all set and ready to make your sale a success. Oh – and don’t forget about the most important detail — What are you going to DO with all your new-found money!??!
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