5 Tips for a successful garage sale

May 17, 2012

Looking to make some extra cash to spend on vacation this summer?  I was.  And being a SAHM, I didn't have a lot of options. 

Part time job? 

Believe it or not, I couldn't find a place that would pay me to work AND watch #2 for me.

Sell plasma? 

Considering giving blood makes me pass out, I think I will pass on that one.

Medical Research?

Umm, no.

So, that left me with selling stuff we already own ... Garage Sale!  I love garage sales, so this was right up my alley.  Here are my tips for having a successful garage sale.

1.  Have lots of stuff:  You want people to stop, not just drive on by.  To get people to stop, they need to see something they are at least slightly interested in.  Bring out ALL your "junk".  Someone will want to by it.  I searched the house and then put all the items into one room.  Uh, it sorta filled the room, take a look:

Now, if you don't have a ton of stuff, invite a friend or neighbor to display their stuff too.  Trust me, the more stuff you have out, the more people will stop.

2.  Price it High:  By far, the worst part of having a garage sale is pricing everything.  It is tedious, but it needs to be done.  My suggestion here is to price it high.  Many garage sale people are bargainers.  They are looking for a deal and no matter what price you put on an item, they will want it for less.  So start high and be willing to bargain.  You can check out ebay and craigslist to get a price range for your items.  For kids clothes, the method that works best is to price everything the same.  All infant clothes, $0.50 per piece or something like that.  I displayed all my kids clothes in outfits and then sold each outfit for $1.00.  All the miscellaneous things I had that didn't match up I sold for $0.50 a piece. 

3.  Organize it:  Now, some may say this is the worst part of having a garage sale.  But since I LOVE LOVE LOVE organizing, this is actually my favorite part.  Put toys with toys and kitchen goods with kitchen goods.  All the books together.  Sort all the clothing and have a table for each size so people don't have to sort through everything. 

The two tables above were each kids clothing, one table per size, sorted into outfits with a large sign on the table labeling size and price.  I sold all but two pieces of clothing off those tables.

Hang things up if you can.  Brings items to eye level allowing people to see it easily.

I hung up all the misc. kids clothing items, plus all kids dresses and old Halloween costumes.  There were 62 items hanging, I had 15 left at the end of the sale.

Use as many tables as possible with a theme for each table.  I had a table for household goods, baby items, and collectibles. 

Also, get stuff outside of the garage.  Especially the bigger items.  Have a treadmill or weight bench, get it outside, it will bring people in.  The more stuff people see, the more likely they will be to stop.

4.  Advertise it:  Seems like a no brainer, but you need to make sure that people can find your sale.  I did two things.  First, I put the sale on craigslist.  This is huge for the garage sale shoppers.  Many people that came to the sale came from craigslist and had a whole list of sales printed out from the site.  The bonus of craigslist for me was that I actually sold 2 big ticket items before the sale even started.  I put pictures up with my listing and got emails from people asking if they could buy them and pick them up the night before the sale.  Score! 

Second, you need lots of BRIGHT street signs.  Go neon green, bright blue, or pink.  Use thick black markers for lettering.  Put signs at any entrance to your division as well as at every turn.  Use big arrows to direct people.  I made big signs for the entrances and for my street and then made large signs that were just arrows to direct people along the way.  Just make sure all your signs are the same color/style so you are getting people to your sale.

5:  Timing is everything:  Garage salers are an early bunch.  You really should be open at 7 AM.  I know, not exactly fun, but we are talking big money here.  You have to catch the early birds.  I opened at 8 AM on Friday (Had to get #1 on the bus) and then 7 AM on Saturday.  Also, something that has become popular in this area is to open your garage sale from 4 pm to 6 pm on Fridays.  I had a lot of traffic during this time.  People coming home from work and stopping by.  You might try this timing where you live and see how it works.

I am sure if you follow these tips, your sale can be as successful as mine.  We sold so much stuff Friday, that we were only open from 7 to 9:30 on Saturday.  There just wasn't enough stuff left to sell.  And Friday was raining and very cold and people still came and shopped!! 

I decided after all the work I put into it, that we would have to make $300 for it to have been worth it for me and .... drum roll please ...

We made $765!!!!  Now that is some vacation money!!

Happy Garage Sale-ing!



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