Holding a Successful
A garage sale is an effective way to clear away household clutter and make a few bucks.
But to make it fun and profitable, start planning early.
Give yourself time to prepare
Choose what to sell
- Select a sale date well in advance, at least two to three weeks.
- Weekends are best, but avoid dates that conflict with holidays or special events.
- Consider holding a joint sale with friends, neighbors or relatives to attract more customers and sell more items.
- Scan your attic, garage, basement, closets and other storage areas for items.
- Practical items such as appliances, furniture, dishes, books, plants, kitchen utensils, antiques, toys and clothes sell best.
- Moving your "stuff" into or out of state can be very expensive so consider replacement costs vs keeping and shipping.
Price your items right
Display to make the sale
- Visit other garage sales to get a feel for prices and be realistic when pricing your items.
- Purchase self-adhesive tags at an office supply store and affix a tag to each item.
- For joint sales, keep a log of items sold or mark price tags with seller's initials.
- Be prepared to come down in price if you really want to get rid of an item.
- Sweep and wash out your garage until it looks and smells clean.
- Arrange display tables for easy access and viewing. Rent or borrow more tables if needed.
- Display items that are clean and in good shape. Group them in categories like stores do.
- Set up temporary racks to sell clothing. Hang the clean clothes by size.
- Polish the wood and clean the upholstery of sale furniture. Remove lingering odors with air freshener.
- Provide an electrical outlet so customers can see that appliances work properly.
- Display books, videos, record albums and CDs spine up for best readability.
- Display odds and ends and mark them all at 25 cents, or set up a few free items to stimulate buyer interest.
Try these sales tips
- Encourage return shoppers during a two-day sale. Post a sign saying prices will be reduced the next day.
- Take bids on expensive items. Have customers fill out a card with their names, phone numbers and bid, then sell the item to the top bidder.
Advertise for success
- For best results, don't skimp on advertising. Write about your best items to attract the most buyers.
- Advertise "cash only" if that's your preference, then post a "cash only" sign at the sale.
- Advertise in local newspaper. Post notices on bulletin boards in grocery stores or laundromats.
- Post directional signs in visible places the day of your sale to guide customers to your sale. (Check local ordinances regarding sign postings first.)
Success on sale day
- Have plenty of change available - $1 and $5 bills and $5 in small change should cover everything.
- Ask neighbors in advance not to park in front of your house on sale day. Keep your own driveway clear for extra parking.
- Ask a friend or relative to help you take money, wait on customers or to give you a break.