Garage sales can be a lot of work but they can also be a lot of fun and, hopefully, in the end, you’ll turn piles of clutter into a wad of cash. With a little bit of planning and a few hours spent organizing you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of your old stuff.
If you want to have a garage sale you need to start by taking an inventory of what you have to sell. It’s likely you already have items in mind, but this is the time to start sorting through your home and putting things aside. If you haven’t moved in a long time it can be difficult to sort through many years of clutter. Consider collecting items over several months and putting things aside as you work through each room. Pick out items you haven’t used recently or no longer want and set them aside. Even if you’re unsure if someone might buy it, put it in the pile, you never know what someone may be looking for. The worst thing that happens is it doesn’t sell. Even items like old power cords and phone chargers, wrap them up and put them in a dedicated box, they could be exactly what someone needs. Dedicate space for storing your items until sale day. Once you feel you’ve thoroughly separated your keeps from your sells, you’re ready to get started.
Once you’ve determined you’ve got enough items to stock your shelves, it’s time to set the date. Typically, people will go with Saturday or Sunday or both, but you could add a Friday if your schedule permits. Prime garage sale times start bright and early, about 7 am and run into the early afternoon. You want to see what time other garage sales run in your area so that you can become one of the stops for people making a day of garage sailing. If you can, try to plan for the weather and avoid times that you expect will be too hot to bring out a crowd. To increase your traffic, you might also plan to have your garage sale the same date as others in your area. Talk to your neighbors and see if they want to partner up or check your local social media pages for any scheduled community-wide garage sales you can join up with.
There are all kinds of new and modern ways to advertise your garage sale but first, start with the tried and true. Pay a little money and get an ad in the paper. Get out your markers and bristol board and make some signs. Place signs up in advance but also add additional signs the day of the sale that direct people towards your sale. Post flyers on local bulletin boards often found in public buildings, grocery stores or coffee shops. Of course, you will also advertise online. Post on buy and sell websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji that both have spaces dedicated to garage sales. Post on your own social media pages and ask your friends and family to share. Advertise on the local buy and sell pages of Facebook or other social media sites. If your garage sale has certain items that will appeal to specific buyers make sure you tell people in your ads and target those buyers in your online advertising. If you will have lots of baby items, share your garage sale post in a local moms group. Be mindful not to do your online advertising too early, you don’t want people to see your post and forget about it by the time your sale day rolls around.
Your items are gathered, your date is set, and your customers are waiting with anticipation. Now it’s time to make sure you’re all prepared for the big day. Start by cleaning your items. Get out the wash clothes and give everything a wipe. Check toys to make sure they work. Put the clothes through the laundry. You want everything looking it’s best for your buyers.
Make sure you have everything you’ll need in advance. Have enough tables to set everything out, boxes for sorting smaller items and racks for your clothes. You’ll also need a cash box with plenty of change and small bills. It’s also a good idea to have fresh batteries on hand, and an extension cord running from the house to demonstrate that items are in good working order when need be.
Before pricing your items, sort them into categories such as kids’ clothes, home décor, books, etc. When pricing your items keep in mind that buyers are looking for a deal so be realistic about how much you can get. If you paid $70 for something, you can’t resell it for $69. Consider what items might be purchased together and display them nicely, like tying twine around several dish towels or sheets. Price your items with stickers, tags or signs, whichever makes the most sense for the item.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time in the morning to get set up. Put out your tables and arrange your items. Put as much up off the ground as possible so your buyers can easily look through things, taking their time without hunching over. Put your more expensive items to the front like strollers, lawnmowers and furniture so that passers-by can see them from the street. However, you’ll want to save a few eye-catching items to place at the back to encourage shoppers to walk through your sale and see what else you have available. Group items together; if you have a lot of home décor, give it a dedicated space.
As your guests arrive, be sure to greet them warmly and invite them to look around. You want to make them as comfortable as possible when they pick through your possessions. Maybe tie some balloons to the mailbox and set up a playlist to break up the silence. You might offer coffee or water or perhaps snacks like baked goods. Don’t be pushy but be sure to be available if customers have any questions or want to haggle.
As the day goes on, move your items and remove empty tables so it doesn’t look like your sale has already been picked over.
After your sale, you’re sure to have some items remaining. For larger items that you still wish to sell, post them on buy and sell pages and websites. For everything else, donate them to a local charity who might provide store credit or tax rebate.