Tips for the Best Garage Sale Ever

A garage sale can be fun for the whole family, but it involves detailed planning and follow-through. As a potential seller, you need to know how to advertise, organize, merchandise, price and negotiate. Following these tips will help ensure you have the best garage sale ever!

You'll be surprised at all of things you have to sell.
You'll be surprised at all of things you have to sell. | Source
Get these things together a month in advance of your garage sale:
-Rigid poster board, wooden stakes or boxes and wide-tip permanent markers to create signs
-Heavy-duty tape and stapler to affix signs to stakes or boxes
-Balloons to draw attention to your sale
-Folding or stationary tables for item display
-Cheap hangers for clothing, inexpensive clothing racks or cording to hang clothes
-Self-adhesive stickers, hanging tags and marker to create price tags
-At least $75 in small bills and change
-A locked cash box in a secure location and a fanny pack for small change
-Calculator, pens, spiral notebook
-Tape measure
-Electrical outlet to test lamps, small appliances and electronics
-Boxes for merchandise display
-Newspaper or ink-free wrapping paper for breakables
-Supply of grocery bags for shoppers’ purchases
- Drinks and snacks for your hard-working helpers

Pick the Best Days

Hold your garage sale on Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday. The hours are up to your discretion. Garage sales between 9am and 3pm take advantage of prime weekend hours when shoppers are likely to hit up your sale. Always expect to open earlier to accommodate the early risers looking for the best merchandise selection. Choosing the right time of the month can also bring in more people. Consider having your garage sale at the beginning or the middle of the month. This coincides with payday for many of your shoppers.

Choose the Perfect Season

The prime seasons for hosting a garage sale are spring and fall. Temperate weather brings out bargain hunters en masse. In climates with mild summers, June garage sales can be as successful as spring and fall sales. Early spring garage sales draw the buyers out of winter hibernation. Fall garage sales bring out those buying for the holidays. And don't completely rule out summer months--they can also work in your favor if it's not too hot. Before selecting a weekend, check the extended forecast to make sure you have the best weather for a good turnout.

Even a piece of well-made costume jewelry may be worth more than you think!
Even a piece of well-made costume jewelry may be worth more than you think! | Source

Inspect Your Items

Make sure you do not overlook hidden treasures. While you may not score a first edition Hemingway or antique emerald brooch, certain items may be more valuable than you think. Anything from old toys to costume jewelry can fetch handsome prices from the right collector. Put these items aside and do your research before tossing them in with your garage sale castaways.

Develop a Pricing Strategy

Now that you have culled through everything, you must decide on fair market garage sale pricing. If your starting prices are too high, you might discourage buyers. Check out pricing at garage sales in your area. Go to local thrift stores and see what they charge for similar items.

City-specific websites such as Craigslist will give you good insight into what people are charging for household items. These pricing strategies will work on everything from appliances and furniture to baby clothes and kitchen utensils. Always price items at least 20 to 30 percent higher to get the price you ultimately want.

Post your prices prominently. Tag each item individually, so there is no question as to the asking price. In the case of damaged items, mention the defect on the tag. You may want to sell some items in lots—like books, CDs or dinnerware. In this case, place the items in a box with a sign indicating the price for the entire lot.

These are great tags for clothing and other soft goods.
These are great tags for clothing and other soft goods. | Source
Post your garage sale flyer at local businesses.
Post your garage sale flyer at local businesses. | Source

Spread the Word

Start by creating a buzz among your friends and family about the upcoming sale. Word of mouth is an effective and cheap form of advertising. Send emails and promote your sale via social networks. Place an classified or display ad on Craigslist with a teaser photo of some of the items you will be selling.

Go low-tech by taking out a classified ad in the penny shopper, or post your sale on community bulletin boards at local grocery stores and businesses. If you have permission, tuck garage sale announcements under the wipers of cars in parking lots.

Consider Signage and Access

The day before the sale, make and distribute your signs. Intense colors and bold lettering make them easy to read from a distance. Include dates, hours, address, directional arrows and a couple balloons for added impact. Attach your signs to stakes or weighted boxes and place them at intersections to guide shoppers in from every direction. Include a sign in front of your house letting buyers know you'll only accept cash.

Don't forget to put dates, hours and an address on your signs!
Don't forget to put dates, hours and an address on your signs! | Source

Be a considerate neighbor. Do not staple signs to utility poles—most cities and towns have laws that forbid nailing, taping, tacking or stapling anything into power poles. The same applies for municipal sign poles. Notify homeowners in your immediate vicinity a week before the garage sale. Give them a flyer with the dates and hours of your sale. On the day of the sale, post signs along the street telling shoppers not to block driveways or walkways.

If you live in a covenant-controlled community, check with your homeowners’ association regarding rules for garage sales.Gated entries will require special access on the days and hours of your sale. Use signage to direct cars to guest parking areas, if applicable.

Practice Creative Merchandising Techniques

Pretend you are a store owner. Create attractive and easily accessible displays. Arrange similar items together in groups, i.e., lawn and garden, children’s toys, clothing, sporting goods, housewares, jewelry, etc. Avoid overcrowding clothing racks. Put large items like furniture on the driveway or front lawn to draw interest. During down time, straighten and reorganize merchandise. Maintain a neat and orderly shopping experience for your customers.

Create inviting vignettes to draw buyers to specific items.
Create inviting vignettes to draw buyers to specific items. | Source

Be Prepared to Negotiate

People shopping garage sales want to find bargains and negotiation plays big part in the success of your sale. Dropping the price between 20 and 30 percent is better than not selling an item. Professional garage sale shoppers may even wait until the last hour to get the lowest prices, so be prepared to do some deep discounting at the end of the day. If someone appears to be a serious buyer, offer to bundle several items to lower their overall price. Consider throwing in a freebie if the buyer will agree to the asking price of an item.

Contribute to those in need by donating unsold items to a charitable organization.
Contribute to those in need by donating unsold items to a charitable organization. | Source

Donate Unsold Items

Avoid hauling items back into your house by giving away all unsold merchandise to late shoppers or simply donate to a local charitable organization. This relieves you of having to organize another garage sale and it helps those in need. Schedule a pick-up the day after your sale, or load up the truck or SUV with the items and immediately take them to a donation drop-off site.

Have What It Takes to be a Garage Sale Guru? Take the quiz and find out!

More Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

© 2014 lindacee

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Start a Conversation! 23 comments

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Oh I so hate having Yard Sales, so I could probably use all of your tips but I sure love going to them. Glad you advise pricing items too because when I see no prices and several people shopping I am not going to stop and ask the price of everything I am interested in and if I did and everyone else did wouldn't that be a crazy place to be? I just leave when I see no tags. I want to get to the next one! ^^+


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Great tips on having a yard sale here. I have had a couple and I know when one does properly advertise, all do show up, but at the crack of dawn before you even have time to get everything outside. Pricing each item is necessary. I love going to them and finding great deals though, but they sure are a lot of work to have one.

Up and more and sharing

Have a great evening,

Faith Reaper


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago

Great article for helping to get rid of clutter quickly, efficiently and enjoyably. Up, interesting and useful.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Jackie, yes they are a lot of work and I also prefer to go to them rather than having one. Although it is a real pain, pricing each item is a must--if not, you will have utter chaos! Our neighborhood has a twice yearly community event. The spring event is coming up soon--I'd better get busy getting everything organized and priced if I want to participate! Thanks for reading and commenting. So nice to hear from you! :)


Meisjunk profile image

Meisjunk 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

Thanks for the info! My mother always insists on yard sales (but she needs them. The number of items she accumulates in just a year is mind-boggling!) These tips will definitely help me to prepare. Knowing I'm organized will go a LONG way in having patience for it!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Faith, I've had several garage sale myself over the years and a little bit of advertising goes a long way. Yes, I can attest to the early birds that show up before you can even get things properly set up. My mom was an avid garage sale shopper--guess it is in my genes! I've picked up some great treasures. Thanks for your votes and share! Enjoy your weekend! :)


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

CyberShelley, glad you enjoyed this Hub. Garage sales do involve a lot of planning and work, but are a great way to simplify your life and make some extra money! Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Your comment and votes are greatly appreciated! :)


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Meisjunk, that is so funny! You are right--we can accumulate so much "stuff" in a short amount of time! My husband and I have found that moving every few years is a great way to keep the clutter down--each time we move, we just sell off the things we really don't need. It makes packing much easier. Glad you enjoyed these tips! :)


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

Some of the shawls look nice but I will still avoid moving trash from your garage to mine! Or at last paying for the privilege.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Too each his own, poetryman6969. Thanks for stopping by!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Our neighborhood is having a garage sale next month and I can use these tips to make my items disappear quickly. Your tip on negotation is key, some people fail to realize the importance of being flexible on price.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

You are right, teaches. Negotiation is key. It's also what makes garage sales so much fun! Holding a neighborhood garage sale is a great way to generate buzz in the community. We have them twice a year. Good luck with your sale. Hope these tips help!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

This is very useful information and I enjoyed the quiz at the end. Although we don't do garage sales in Peru, every time we return to the States it seems we get roped into helping a family member or friend get one organized. One of my friends is super organized and did the store-front style displays. She sold her things quickly, to say the least! I think anyone who follows your points would have a successful garage sale.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

vespawoolf, there weren't garage sales in Uruguay either. People used Mercado Libre for selling household items. The quiz was fun to put together--once I figured out how to do it correctly! I do think putting garage sale items in neat and attractive displays helps get things sold faster. It may be just cast-off stuff, but proper presentation does increase the perceived value. Thanks for checking out this Hub! :)


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

Great tips here. Garage sales usually go with very little sold so this is extremely helpful.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

So happy to help. Good luck if you plan on having a garage sale. They can be fun and profitable if done right. Thank you for reading and commenting on my Hub!


Tamara14 profile image

Tamara14 2 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

Here in Croatia there is no such thing as a garage sale but it would be so great. We only know about it from american movies :)


lindacee profile image

lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Tamara14, I lived in South America for several years and they did not have garage sales either. Must be more of a U.S./Canadian thing. They are fun and a great way to get rid of unwanted household items and make a few dollars. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 17 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great tips on how to have the best garage sale ever in any season. Each tip is helpful and useful to get the most of your money to sell your stuff. Voted up!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 17 months ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thanks, Kristen!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 17 months ago from Northeast Ohio

You're welcome Linda!


georgialgal1984 profile image

georgialgal1984 15 months ago from United States

I have at least two yard sales a year and have always enjoyed having and going to them. Fridays work the best for me having a yard sale, since there is less competition on those days in my area. Great tips and well written article! :)


lindacee profile image

lindacee 15 months ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thanks georgiagal1984. Glad you enjoyed this Hub! Looks like my garage sale days will soon be over. I'll be moving into a gated community that does not allow them. Sigh. At least I have my memories! ;)

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