Last Friday I had a killer garage sale. Almost everything was sold before noon, my kids made more than fifty bucks each, and I raked in several hundred dollars. I’m no garage sale expert, however, now that I’ve hosted one that was awesome I thought I’d share 10 tips that helped make it a success.
To advertise, I ran an ad WITH PHOTOS on Craigslist and I posted on our neighborhood facebook group. To find out if your neighborhood has a facebook group, do a search for your neighborhood on facebook, ask neighbors in your neighborhood, and look through the groups that your neighbors have joined on facebook.
I also promoted the garage sale a week in advance by posting pictures of my loot on instagram. Several items sold just from these teaser photos before the sale even began.
A day or two before your sale, place several large signs around your neighborhood. I use foam core board from the dollar store. The most important things on a sign are the words “Garage Sale” written very large and a huge arrow pointing the direction the driver needs to drive. People drive by signs quickly. Make them large, easy to read, and “follow the arrow” type signs.
You have about 3 seconds as a car drives by to make a good first impression. Either they will stop or they will keep on driving. By placing all your large awesome items out front, you are telling the driver/shopper that you have awesome stuff and lots of it.
Place a large well-marked “free pile” right out front. The lure of something free will get almost any driver to stop. I put a bunch of stuff I was going to donate that I didn’t think would sell in the free pile. It was just enough temptation to get the shopper out of their car. Also, people feel bad stopping and just taking something for free. They will typically find something to buy so they don’t feel bad for just taking the free stuff.
To have a really successful garage sale you need to have lots of stuff. The more stuff you have sitting out, the better your chances that people will pull over and shop. My friend Beth from Free Stylin’ came over and brought a car load of stuff to sell. It was just enough extra that it made our garage sale look full.
Having a garage sale is the last-ditch effort to make some cash on stuff you are probably going to donate. If it doesn’t sell, you will get nothing for it, so price it low! A quarter is better than getting nothing and just donating it to goodwill. If you are wanting to make big bucks off your stuff and sell it for what it’s worth, list it on ebay or craigslist. Garage sales are for just getting rid of the crap already!
If you want your stuff to sell, put a price tag on it! Most people won’t ask how much something is. They will just set it back down and move on. If you want to sell it, stick a price tag on it. It takes extra time and energy to price everything, but it is worth it.
Organization is key when hosting a garage sale. As people shop, corral items closer together. Move shelves closer to the front of the garage as you run out of items. Keep your area clean and tidy.
Plastic bags are a garage sale hosts best friend. I used gallon-size zip-loc bags to keep items with multiple pieces together. For extra large items I used ikea bags and reusable grocery sacks that were clearly labeled with a black sharpie. All the large bagged items sold within an hour!
The harder you try to keep like items together, the more you will sell. Have an area for bags, kids stuff, kitchen stuff, home decor, books, furniture, clothes and shoes.
If the price tag on the item wasn’t obvious enough, I’d use tan painters tape and a sharpie to label items even more clearly. I’d label bags with the contents of the bag and I’d label baskets if everything in the basket was the same price.
Bonus tip: have a .25 cent kid bin and put it on the ground! Most people that came brought little toddlers with them. The kid basket was a perfect distraction for the little ones while mom shopped. It kept them busy and out of trouble. Plus, they would always find a toy or two, and at twenty-five cents, mom couldn’t refuse the little trinket at check-out time.
If you want top dollar for an item, list it on craigslist. People shopping at garage sales want $10 furniture, not $200 furniture.
I tried to sell this set of 6 chairs for $200. I thought they would get snatched right up. No one shopping garage sales is looking for a set of 6 chairs, and they probably don’t have $200 in their pocket.
Save the big expensive items for craigslist.
Have fun planning and hosting your very own garage sale!
If you have any other awesome tips, please share them with us in the comments section.