6 Fabulous Tips for A Successful Garage Sale...

Tis the season for garage sales.  Have you ever gone?  My son's favorite Little Tykes basketball hoop was a $10 score one year.  Last year, when we were done having children, I knew it was time to part with all those bins I had been stowing away in our basement.  How does one accumulate so much stuff, maybe it's just me! ;)  I am guessing not!

We had a garage sale and made over $1200 which was a nice addition to our savings account!  With a little careful planning and organization, it's totally possible to make a garage sale successful from start to finish.  I took what I learned, the mistakes I made and everything in between and came up with this list.  I hope it helps you as you purge, plan and profit from your garage sale.

 Tip #1 -- Collect Items All Year Long 

Grab a big bin and label it "garage sale" and place it in a spot that you can access (mine's in my back room in the basement).  Then get in the habit as you decorate, clean out and declutter to place the items in the bin you no longer need or want.

You are less likely to make a rash decision, if you collect all year.  I do go around the house in the weeks leading up to the garage sale and make another round because you get in the "purging zone".


Tip #1  You will have a head start if you make it a habit to gather items in a bin all year long!

Tip #2 Spend Time Planning 

When you begin to plan, do some research.  Ask your neighbors if they would like to do one the same weekend or find out if your city or community has a set time for garage sales.  More garage sales in a tight vicinity attracts a bigger crowd.

Ask around about when to have your garage sale.  The earlier in the season the better (our season starts at the beginning of May and runs through July).  Also find out what days of the week attract more people, I was surprised to find that Thursdays are our biggest day, $800 of our total $1200 was on Thursday between the hours of 3-7pm.  I would never have guessed that if I didn't ask around.


Tip # 2Do a little research on your area and plan for an early sale for a better turnout.

Tip #3 Advertise, Advertise, Advertise

In order to get people to your sale, you need to let them know you are having one.  Think about all the ways you can notify people from local FB swap sites, specialized garage sale sites, Craigslist, and local radio stations (they often have postings on their websites).   Many of these places you can advertise and re-advertise, meaning you can put out an ad a week prior and then place another ad 48 hours later.  Make sure you list larger items that might pique people's interest like: mommaroo, bassinet, power wheel toy, ladder, sofa.

Prepare signs starting at the largest main thoroughfare.  Think bright, neon colored signs with a BIG arrow directing customers to your sale.  Include your address and words that prompt them to want to come - things like Multi-Family Sale, Major Kids Sale, etc.  Make sure the words and sign are large enough to read from the road.  


Tip #3  Advertise in many ways so that customers know about your sale.

Tip #4 Prepare for your Sale

Now its time to physically set up for your sale.  First things first,  print off or writeup some simple signs (as seen posted on the wall in the above photo).  This is especially important for clothes.  Your customers will want to know where to find sizes.  The faster they can find it, the more time they can spend shopping!


It is key to display as much as you can on tables or hanging up, people do not like to dig through bins!

Gather as many tables from friends and family as you can (these work great and so do these).  Saw horses with plywood sheets work great too. Place tables all along the perimeter of the garage and then one row of tables down the middle if needed but make sure there is plenty of space to walk so shoppers can move about easily with a stroller if need be!

Once your tables are set and your signs indicating type of item are up, it's time to start organizing the items.   Start by placing the items in each labeled area.  Make sure your piles don't get too high or they will just become a mess.  Place shoes under tables in pairs by size.

Keep pricing simple and in increments of dollars and quarters.   You might say, everything is a dollar unless otherwise marked. 


Keep pricing simple and increments no smaller than a quarter.

For clothes you want to price a specific amount, hang on a marked rack or on a pole suspended between two ladders.  Adult clothes sell better when they are hanging up.  Remember to keep prices reasonable, you want items to sell.  Think about what you would pay.  If you over price, you will sell less.

Keep small, more expensive items by you like purses or jewelry.  Don't sell knives or weapons.  Bag toy items or any items with pieces, so they don't get lost.  Place books in tubs with the spine facing up.


Tip #4 The more signage and labels you have, the more informed your shoppers will be and the more they will buy.

Tip #5 On The Day of the Sale

Make sure you have help, with at least two of you at the sale.  On your opening day it might be helpful to have two people checking out.  Place big things on the driveway to attract customers.  People might be waiting when you open your garage door so while one person is setting up the driveway, the other person can be ready to start transactions.

Get lots of change ($100 in change is good - 1-2 rolls of quarters, $30 dollars in ones and $50 in fives).  Make sure not to accept bills larger than $20, no checks, and occasionally take overflow money into the house for safe keeping.   Keep the money on you or keep an eye on it at all times.

If doing the sale with other families or a group, get a spiral notebook and mark a few pages for each person in the sale, and place their initialed price tag stickers on their corresponding page.   Have batteries available to check toys too!


Tip #5  Ask for help,  have lots of change, and keep your change on you.

Tip #6  Cleaning Up Your Sale 

Right after the garage sale, clean-up.  You will be tired but you will rest easier knowing its all cleaned up so just get it out of the way!  As you clean up, grab some bins or garbage bags and sort items -- donate, consign or toss.  Once items leave your home to go to the garage sale, don't take it back inside, as tempting as it might be!


Tip #6  As you clean-up sort items -- donate, consign or toss.

These 6 tips will help you have a profitable garage sale from start to finish   With a little careful planning, you will be successful.  The key is to be organized.  The more organized you are, the more your buyers will be able to find what they are looking for and buy.  

What tips have helped you? Have you ever had a garage sale before?  Please share in the comments!

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