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Garage Sale Success Tips

Updated on April 2, 2013

To Sell or Not to Sell

If you are anything like me, you have just finishing up your spring cleaning and now it is time to decide if you want to just haul all that stuff to the dump, or donate it all to goodwill. However before you haul it all away why not consider having a garage sale. You could make a lttle money to put towards a summer vacation. Over the years I have had several garage sales, some more successful than others. Experience must count for something so I think I might be able to help you make the most money on the stuff you want to get rid of. However, let me advise you that a successful garage sale is going to take a bit of work, you can't just throw everything out on the lawn and expect to make much money.

First, you have to determine if you have enough good items to make it worth the time and effort it will take to get your garage sale together. If you only have a few good items you may want to consider selling them online or just listing them in your local paper. However if you have a whole pile of things, that are still in usable condition, then a garage sale may be the way to go. Certain items such as furniture and electronics will bring in the most money provided they are in decent condition. Second in line would be tools, kitchen gadgets, certain collectables and some children’s toys. While books, clothing, dishes and other miscellaneous items will probably be last in line. However, brand name clothing that is in good condition can be an exception.

Once you have decided to go ahead with your garage sale, you might want to try and get your neighbors to have a garage sale as well. This will help generate more foot traffic as block sales can be very attractive to bargain hunters. The more people you can attract to your sale the better.

Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!

Most newspapers have a garage sale section and I have found it well worth my while to place an ad letting folks know the time and place of your garage sale. Our local paper offers garage sale kits for a nominal charge, these kits generally come with pricing stickers and yard signs, I have found that these kits are a good investment You will also want to advertise a few of your bigger items in your newspaper ad. If you have been able to recruit a few neighbors, then the cost can be split between everyone and you can get a fairly big ad to advertise the block sale.

On a side note to your ad and yes I have had this happen. If you don’t want people showing up at 6 am, when you don’t plan on starting until 8 am, put a NO EARLY BIRDS, line in your ad. You would be surprised at how avid some people can be.

It's All About the Presentation

Now that you have your date set, you will want to spend a little time cleaning up the items you are going to sell. They don’t have to be perfect but, it is just common sense that clean, well presented items will bring in more money than dirty, poorly displayed ones. Fold clothing neatly or if possible hang on a line. Clothing can be somewhat tricky to sell, so take a little extra time to display it well.

Bundle and Negotiate

Try to put a visible price on everything. Most stores sell little stickers for a couple of dollars that can be used, or a black marker and masking tape work well. I have found that for my big ticket items, it is a good idea to leave a little “wiggle room” in the price, as people will generally want to try to negotiate on prices. If you don’t want move at all on certain items write a sign stating the price and noting that the price is firm. I will generally price my smaller items to sell quickly, though if people are buying several small items they may still want to negotiate.

Use the Buddy System

On the day of the sale, be sure you have at least one other person to help you. Usually I recruit my kids to help and then pay them a little of the profit. However, if you can't convince your kids that this is a great way to spend a Saturday morning, try to recruit at least one other person to watch the cash box. That way it is kept safe while you are demonstrating that the cd player really works.

Also, be sure you have plenty of smaller bills and change in your cash box. It is also a good idea to decide ahead of time if you will take personal checks or not. If you decide not to accept checks (and this has been an issue for me) make a sign letting people know.

If you take a little time to organize your items and spend just a little money on advertising, you should be able to make a tidy sum on all your stuff. Plus there is the extra benefit of the free haul away the buyers are providing.


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