Garage Sale Tips

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I have always loved having yard sales.  They are just exciting to me.  Yes dear friends, I know how weird I am!  I truly do enjoy visiting with all the customers, making sales and seeing the money bag thicken, and yes, I even enjoy haggling.  This past weekend I participated in a garage sale and was excited to contribute $158 to our checking account from the sale.  That may not seem like a huge amount, but considering our last sale was in May before we moved, I think it’s a pretty good total. We had a great time visiting and sharing jokes & memories as we set up, had the sale and packed everything back up.

There were 4 families taking part in this sale, bringing in about $520.  The highest priced item sold?  A $15 rug.  I don’t think anything else was even over $5.  So you can tell we sold a LOT!  It always makes me happy to see something I’m not using put money in my pocket and be useful to someone else.

Here are 15 garage sale tips I wish I’d known years ago – some of which I didn’t follow this time and dreadfully wish I had:

  1. Collect your items throughout the year, but keep them separated by like items.  Be sure to look through your stockpile for sale items as well.
  2. Price the items as you put them into labeled boxes and price them to sell them.  If you price it so high no one wants to buy it then you’ve defeated the purpose of the sale.
  3. Have your sale near main roads and have lots of signs.  The words “SALE” and “[your STREET]” should be quite large.  Your house number can be on there but people driving by are mostly just looking for your street name to get them to your sale. Posters all the same color or with attached balloons on them can be helpful too if there are multiple signs at the same location.
  4. Don’t bring your children to set up.  Oh the lessons I learned this time from this mistake!
  5. Use labels instead of tape for pricing.  No, not the pre priced ones (you should know enough about me already to know I would never do that) just blank labels.  You can usually buy a set of 700 printer labels from the dollar stores that can be cut in half.  They are much easier to write on and get off to put on the items than tape.  If you use the packages of colored ones you can even have one color for each price.  (blue-.25, red-.50, green $1, yellow- everything else)  If multiple families are involved in the sale then each family should use a different type of label.  Even if your initials are on the labels it’s much easier to just recognize your label.
  6. Stop to eat lunch!  Also drink plenty of water.
  7. Don’t be afraid to haggle.  Sometimes I take what someone offers, sometimes I counter, and sometimes I won’t budge.  I’ve seen people walk over a .25 difference on an expensive item, and I’ve seen people buy even when I won’t budge.  Each item is worth something different to each person- just think about what it is worth to you if it gets sent to goodwill or if it sits in a box for another year waiting for the next sale.
  8. Advertise on craigslist.  Have a list in the garage sale section (be sure to note that early birds will pay double-many actually will) and also have separate ads for large items.  Some people will come to your sale just to see these items or to pick them up.  A local paper is great for advertising too, but so many people use craigslist that it may not even be necessary in your area.
  9. Be friendly.  Garage sale shoppers are people too.  A friendly hello will make them more eager to look around and even ask for things they are looking for.
  10. If your sale is in your garage, be sure to have a yard sign that says something like “more in garage”.  Also put some larger items outside to draw more people’s attention.  Kid’s items too.  I can’t count how many people in years past would stop to see how much we were selling our kids items for (you know the ones the kids were playing with and weren’t for sale) but it got them out of their cars to look around.
  11. Keep your sale money on your person and not in your hands.  I am very bad at setting down a money bag, so I keep a fanny pack for this purpose.
  12. Have extra people around that can help you when things get busy
  13. Have lots of change available in the house.  I usually start with $50 in 1s, a roll of quarters and about a dollar’s worth or nickels and dimes. You’ll get 5s and 10s quickly enough from your customers.
  14. When the sale is over take at least 75% of the items that didn’t sell to goodwill.  I like to keep some “good bones” for the next sale too- items that had a lot of interest but no takers.  I’ll lower the prices for the next sale and hope the sell.
  15. Have fun!  My favorite sale was when 4 couples got together for a sale.  We had pizza one night while we were setting up and the guys grilled out the day of the sale.  It was a great way to spend the weekend together.  Anything is more fun with friends.

From this sale I kept my children’s books, the few baby items that didn’t sell, and a few kitchen items.  The rest is boxed up to go to goodwill this week.  I can’t wait for the next sale and have already put 3 more items on the list to sell!

P.S.  To A, B, & L- I had a great time, thank for letting me join you!