A garage sale is an efficient, cheap way to get rid of a huge number of your possessions in one day and make a profit while you’re at it. The difference between a great yard sale and a disaster is all in the planning. If you know how to have a successful garage sale, you can concentrate your efforts on preparing and selling what will make you the most money for the least amount of effort.
Before the garage sale:
- Put up large, clearly-labeled signs with “Garage Sale,” your address, the date of the sale (including the time it opens), and an arrow pointing the way to your home. Try to make all your signs look the same, so if you have competitors with their own signs, your potential customers won’t start following those accidentally instead. Also stay away from posting on utility poles; it’s against city ordinances in many areas, and with your address right on the flyer, it’s an admission of guilt.
- Talk to your friends and neighbors about having a combined sale. The more items you can list as being for sale, the more customers who will come. If you want to get a newspaper ad, you can also split the cost with them.
- Place an online ad on Craigslist, at the very least, and consider some of the other online classifieds available, including Garage Sale Hunter and the online classifieds section of your local newspaper. Mention some of the most sough-after items for sale, such as TVs or couches.
- Buy cheap stickers and write prices clearly on every item that is unique. Prepare signs and price for items that people will probably buy in bulk, like children’s clothes, toys, or dish sets, and list the price for each item, such as “every bag of clothes for $2.”
General garage sale tips and ideas
- Don’t choose a major holiday weekend to hold the sale. On the holidays, people are usually either relaxing with family or away from home, and either way aren’t interested in going to yard sales.
- Fridays and Saturdays are the most popular garage sale days, Thursdays less so and Sundays even less so.
- Some early birds will show up hours or even days before your sale officially starts. Decide ahead of time if you want to deal with them, if you want to charge them more, etc.
- You can still have a yard sale even if you don’t have a garage or yard. Many communities have organizations that conduct regular group yard sales or offer booths for rent.
Best selling garage sale items
- Modern electronics
- Modern video games and movies
- Children’s clothes
- Solid wood furniture
- Modern home decor
- Good condition children’s toys/items
- Home improvement tools in working condition
- True antiques, especially glassware
The day of the yard sale:
- Put up large, clearly-labeled signs with “Garage Sale,” your address, and the date of the sale near your location.
- Keep your money in a fanny pack or close-fitting purse around your body. Have many dollars’ worth in coins for making change, and bill amounts in all sizes. Start with at least $100 in coins and bills to make change. Some people will pay you in nickels and dimes, and others will hand you a $50 bill for an item worth $1.50.
- Stand up and walk around, but don’t be a nuisance. Be ready to answer questions for people driving by and for customers, but leave them alone unless they talk to you first. You can also watch out for shoplifters more easily if you are walking around.
- Have plastic grocery bags ready to give people who buy your things. They will be grateful and perhaps even more inclined to shop a little bit more if they don’t have to hold everything in their hands.
- Pull out an electric extension cord to prove that electronics and appliances do run. Most people won’t buy them unless they see them working.
- Set out long plastic tables to display your items clearly. Don’t keep them in dusty boxes or laid out on the ground.