May 1, 2017

It’s spring, which means it’s time for spring cleaning and decluttering—and for having a garage sale to get rid of all the items you no longer need. What better way to declutter and make a little money at the same time?  But there is more to having a garage sale than simply hauling everything outside and waiting for your customers to appear. Here are a few simple tips to make sure your garage sale is a success.

Get the Word Out

Make signs and hang them around your neighborhood at least three days before you plan to have your garage sale (check to make sure that signs are permitted in your neighborhood). The morning of the sale, make a large sign for the front of your house, and tie helium-filled balloons to your mailbox. If you have a local newspaper, place a small classified ad in the garage sale section. You can also post information online for free  at Craigslist, local Facebook groups, NextDoor, and Garage Sale Finder.

Label everything

Make sure that all your items are clearly labeled with a price tag, and build a little negotiating room into your prices. Visit a few local garage sales ahead of time to get a sense of pricing parameters in your area. Most stationary and office stores sell colored stickers or even pre-labeled price stickers. Be sure that you get labels that are removable, so they don’t damage the surface of the items.

Make batches

Everyone loves a good deal. If you’re selling your paperback books for .50 cents each, make a sign that says .50 cents each or three for $1. You will be surprised at how many people will buy more when they’re getting a bargain.

No junk

No one wants to buy clothes that are stained, torn, or in bad condition. The same goes with the other items you’re selling. Unless it’s an antique with real value, don’t try to sell damaged or soiled items. There’s nothing wrong with offering damaged items in a “Free” box, but the majority of your merchandise should be in good shape.

Hang clothes

Hang clothes on hangers for buyers to sort through. It’s next to impossible to organize stacks and piles of clothing on a table. Even if you neatly fold it everything, it will be jumbled within an hour. People are much more likely to look through a rack of neatly hung clothes.

Remember the change

Be sure that you have a lot of change on hand the morning of your sale. Play it safe and be prepared with more than you think you’ll need. Your first customer may want to buy a $1 vase and pay with a $20 bill, and if you don’t have enough change you’ll have to stop your sale to go hunt down more.

Bonus tip: Make your garage sale fun. Bring out portable speakers and play music, serve coffee or lemonade, and welcome everyone who stops by. Your kids may want to join in by having a bake sale. Creating a festive atmosphere won’t necessarily guarantee higher sales, but it will make the day more enjoyable for you and your customers a like.