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Making the Perfect Garage Sale

Updated on July 8, 2020

As Spring and Summer weather comes and goes, so does the family garage sale season, putting millions of dollars in American families' pockets. A poorly planned garage sale, yard sale, or estate sale can be a fantastic way to waste your day sitting in your yard or garage wishing you were somewhere else, and can frustrate the most die hard garage sale fan. On the other hand, an organized, visible, and strategically planned garage sale, yard sale, or estate sale can simultaneously clean out your home of unwanted clothing and other household goods, make you a bit of money (some of it tax free!), and is a great way to meet a lot of people from many different communities. This comprehensive article of garage sale do's and don'ts can make your next rummage sale a winner!

DO Plan Ahead

Consider the weekend you are going go have your garage sale. Spring and Summer bring people outdoors, and there are many holidays, like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day when people are not out looking for garage sales. Some communities have neighborhood garage sale days, which can allow people to go from house to house looking for garage sale bargains. Also, even though it is Spring or Summer, it does not mean the weather is going to be nice. Planning ahead means knowing when the weather is going to be decent, so you don't get rained out, and checking with your neighbors to see if they're interested in having a community rummage sale.

DON'T keep people wondering

Once you have found a date, commit to it, and consider how you are going to advertise your yard or garage sale. Make sure that you advertise your garage sale on Craigslist, as many mobile applications use Craigslist for their data. This will allow people unfamiliar with the area to have a push pin placed right where your yard sale is located, as well as a link to your ad. Make sure that your ad for your rummage sale includes the address, the dates and times, and a preview of some of the things you will be selling. Pictures are great, and at the bare minimum your home should be pictured.

Be sure to have clear signs to your location as well and make sure your signs are visible from 20 - 30 feet away. Using a large font on light colored paper, write "Garage Sale" or "Yard Sale" with arrows, the days and times the rummage sale will be open, and post them 20 - 30 feet before potential customers need to turn.

DO be a good neighbor

With the droves of people you are bound to attract, make sure you are a good neighbor and alert those who live around you that you are going to have a garage sale. Parking can be an issue on these days, so your neighbors may decide to join your yard sale or just leave for the day to avoid the crowds. Either way, they will be a bit more understanding about your sudden popularity.

Make sure that any signs you have put up are removed after your garage sale. Not only will your neighbors appreciate having their light posts back and ad free, others having garage sales will have space to promote their rummage sales. Finally, too many signs with expired garage sales frustrate the dickens out of us who rely on them to find sales.

DON'T price everything

Of course those of us who attend garage sales loathe asking the question "How much do you want for this?" but remember, part of having a yard sale is making money. While having bulk baby clothes priced at 50 cents each makes good sense, higher priced items or those that require an explanation should remained un-priced. This will force buyers to ask about the item, keeping them involved. A general rule of thumb: if you want more than $20 for the item in question, do not put a price on it. Be willing to negotiate, but if you ask someone what they think it is worth, they will generally offer a price higher than what you wanted.

DO remember why you are having a garage sale

Most people have garage sales to get rid of unwanted things, so be flexible when it comes to offers. Your neighbors will generally be appreciative of an item to offer a decent price, but ask yourself, "do I really want to pack this back up for next year?" before declining an earnest offer. Additionally, remember there are places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill who are willing to take most things off your hands and refurbish/recycle/reuse them, and they give you a tax deduction if you are into that sort of thing.

In conclusion...

It doesn't matter what you call it: Garage sale, yard sale, rummage sale, or hey, come get my junk, it is all in good fun. Have a sense of humor about your garage sale, make sure its visible, and clean up afterward, and you'll walk away with a few extra dollars in your pocket, and much less junk in your home.


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