Throwing a garage sale is no easy task. If you don’t plan properly, the money you make might not even make having the sale worth it. Avoid wasting your time by following these 10 genius tips for having a successful garage sale.
I regretfully admit that I wasted my time for several years when it came to having yard sales. I would work my tail off for a whole weekend only to walk away with $150.00.
Last year, we made some major changes to our sale and walked away with $800.00! Now, we are sharing all the tips that helped us have a successful garage sale so you can have one also.
Here are our 17 must-know tips for a successful garage sale
1. Sort room for room
The worst part about having garage sales is when you find items you missed after your sale ends. Before you have your sale, sort through and organize each room in your house.
Use this time to declutter. If you don’t use it or wear it regularly, get rid of it.
Tip: If you have a problem getting rid of clothes, try hanging your clothes up with the hanger backward. Then, when you wear the item, replace it with the hanger facing the right way. After 1 year, all the clothes hangers that are still facing backward can be added to your next sale.
The location of your sale matters. If you live in the country, you need to find a friend in the city or somewhere close to a lot of people. If you don’t have a city living friend, you may want to rent a space at your local flea market.
Also, having your sale as close to a major roadway is ideal. Nobody wants to follow garage sale signs through multiple roads.
3. Pick a good date
People usually get paid on the 1st of the month. Therefore, having your sale at the beginning of the month is ideal because people have more money to spend.
The best days are usually Thursday through Sunday. Don’t count Thursdays out because it is a weekday. Last year we started on a Thursday and it was our busiest day.
Additionally, check the weather. Don’t make yourself miserable by having the sale when it is extremely hot. You also don’t want to have it if it is supposed to rain either.
4. Have Bags
Customers appreciate being able to carry their purchases away in bags. A few weeks before your sale, save your plastic grocery bags for your garage sale.
If you don’t have bags, boxes will be helpful too.
Download the “Printable Garage Sale Pack”
5. Price as you go
As you are going through your items, look up what they are valued at and price them immediately. When you tag prices as you go, you saving yourself a lot of time on the morning of your sale.
Many people make the mistake of pricing their items too low. While you want to get rid of your stuff, you also don’t want to walk away with a few bucks for a whole day’s work.
If someone really wants what you have to offer, they will recognize the value and be willing to pay a reasonable price for it. A good starting point is ⅓ to ¼ of the retail value.
6. Clean up your items
Make your items look as new as possible.
Clean any dust, mud, or dirt off your stuff. Additionally, fill bike tires, footballs, soccer balls, etc. with air if they are flat.
7. Sell expensive items online
A week or more before your sale, pick high dollar items out and try to sell them online. To sell locally, try Facebook marketplace and local Facebook yard sale groups.
If the item doesn’t sell within the two weeks before your garage sale, put them out during your sale. However, if they still don’t sell at your garage sale, you should list them online again to give them a little more time.
If you would rather ship your item and get a wider range of customers, try eBay.
You want to draw as much attention to your yard sale as possible. Make an online post about your garage sale a few days before your sale. Be sure to include pictures of some of the items you will be selling.
At a minimum, you should advertise on Facebook Marketplace, Facebook groups, and on Craigslist. Then, on the day of your sale, photograph your entire garage sale, and replace those listings with photos of everything you have to offer.
9. Have bright eye-catching signs
Don’t let your signs blend in with other frequently displayed boring signs. Try making signs out of fluorescent paper or creating one with a popular meme people with notice. Make your signs eye-catching.
Also, one of the other tips about signs that can help you have a successful garage sale is to make all your signs look the same. That way people know they all lead to yours.
10. Get change
You will undoubtedly get customers who want to purchase a $1 item with a $20 bill. It’s a good idea to have plenty of change.
Get your change a day or two before you plan to have your garage sale. We recommend starting with 2 twenties, 5 tens, 10 fives, and 30 ones as well as a roll of quarters, dimes, and nickels if you are pricing less than a dollar.
Avoid pricing your items to where you will need pennies. Pennies are a hassle.
Acquire display items
Acquire as many staging materials as possible before your garage sale. You especially want to have a lot of tables. If you don’t have enough of your own, borrow some tables from other people you know.
Additionally, come up with some racks to hang clothes on. You can get creative with racks too.
In the past, I’ve used tightly tied ropes, photography backdrop stands, ladders and poles, etc. Use anything that will allow customers to browse through your clothes easily.
Another thing you may want to purchase is garage sale price stickers. Pricing stickers will make your life easier but if you don’t want to spend the money on them you can price things with good old masking tape.
11. Start early
Expert yard-salers are up searching for locations to shop at 6.a.m. Start setting up your sale before the sun comes up that way you can take full advantage of your daylight hours.
I have also found that if you are starting at sunrise, you can catch all the third shift workers when they leave their workplace.
With increasing technology (and viruses, etc.) it’s a good idea to accept multiple ways of payment.
In addition to cash, consider downloading the free app called Cash App. Sending and receiving money is free on that app.
As a way to gain users, Cash App sends a one-time monetary bonus to anyone who sends money through the app. Therefore this app is becoming increasingly popular.
Paypal is a popular method to send money digitally. Just beware with PayPal because people can request refunds after they buy an item and PayPal will also collect a fee.
*Tip* Advertise that you are accepting digital payments on your signs so passerbys without cash know that they can shop too!
13. Organize your sales like a retail store
How many garage sales have you been to that just have everything thrown into piles? Eventually, you probably got tired of sorting through the mess and moved on. One of the most important tips for a successful garage sale is to master your organization and layout.
Sections and displays
First, mentally section off areas for certain items. For example, you might say the left side of your driveway is for baby items. Everything “baby” will go into that section.
Then, set up your tables and other display shelves and start laying out your items. Try to keep as many items off the ground as possible. Having items on tables, racks, etc. makes it easier to shop and is more pleasing to the eye.
Additionally, if you have really valuable or desired items, be sure to display them in a highlighted way. For example, if you are having your yard sale right before summer, display bathing suits right in front where everyone can see.
You’ll also want to put any colorful items towards the entry point of your sale. Colors will pull people in.
Put any coffee mugs, glass items, etc. towards the back end since those are less desirable items.
As far as clothes, fold them neatly (department store style if possible.)
Hang up your best clothing items on racks to people can sort through them easier. As your rack items are bought, replace them with more clothes from other places. People are way more likely to sort through hung clothes than a pile of clothes on a table.
Double check pricing
After you’re all set up, double-check to make sure everything is priced. You don’t want to have to answer “how much is this?” every 5 seconds.
Also, some customers won’t make an offer or inquire about a price if something isn’t marked. It’s better to have everything priced than to not make a sale because the customer doesn’t want to ask for a price.
Have a check out area
Lastly, have a designed check out area. Make this place enjoyable, because you will be hanging out there for a while.
We like to take our patio table and umbrella down to our driveway when we have our garage sales so that we can stay out of the sun and be comfortable. If you have some outdoor furniture, consider making yourself a sweet setup to hang out at.
14. Have bundle deals
If you have a lot of one type of item, have bundle deals. For example, you could sell your DVDs for $1.00 apiece or offer a bundle of four DVDs for $5.00.
If you have a lot of clothes, consider doing something like “fill a bag for $10.00.” If I have a multi-day garage sale, I usually save the bundle deals for the last day.
15. Be prepared for testers
Selling battery-operated or plug-in items? Be sure to have extension cords and batteries ready. People are going to want to test out items to make sure they work before they buy them.
16. Upsell with extras
Nothing makes people more thirsty than standing out in the sun shopping. Have ice cold drinks available in a cooler by the checkout for people to buy.
Additionally, you can sell baked goods, dried homegrown herbs, etc. Have these items close to the checkout so people can see them.
17. What to do with leftover items?
Based on my experience, there is a 100% chance that you won’t sell all your stuff. So what do you do with all your items after you end your garage sale?
Here are some options:
- Sell it all for one low price: Take a photo of whatever is left and advertise it. You may post about it online as “Garage Sale Leftovers – Take all for $75 or best offer.”
- Allow someone to pick up your leftovers: These people are likely resellers who will reach out to you from your online listings or just driving by. The deal here is usually to allow the resellers to have your stuff for free in exchange for hauling it away.
- Donate to charity: While most people think of dropping off items to a business like Goodwill, consider looking into other options such as Habitat for Humanity, a foster care closet, or a local women’s shelter. We actually have a local rehab that runs a resale shop. All the proceeds from their shop go to helping to rehabilitate people addicted to drugs. Check around to see where your items are most needed.
If you follow these 17 tips, your garage sale this year is going to be more successful than ever! Let us know in the comments if you will be trying any of them!
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