A garage sale may seem simple and fool-proof. However, like most things, it isn’t as easy as it looks on TV. A successful garage sale requires preparation behind the scenes. Don’t worry! You are more than capable of hosting your first sale with these 8 simple tips.
I love planning garage sales. I have many childhood memories of waking up before the sunrise to set out my “little kid toys,” and watching strangers purchase my old clothes while I eat a sprinkle donut on the front porch with my parents. The excitement never gets old! So I may not be an expert, but I have learned a few lessons over the years and would love to share them with you all.
1. Set a date & start preparing early.
“Don’t procrastinate” – I’m sure you have heard this countless times since elementary school. But, you have to admit, all of our teachers were right. Putting things off until the last-minute is never a good idea. The same goes for a garage sale. Once you decide that you are going to have a garage sale, look at your calendar, pick a date and commit. If you don’t set a date, you are going to keep putting it off. If you have a timeline in mind, then you will be more inclined to slowly work on getting everything together instead of doing it the night before (like all of those 20-page papers you wrote in college).
2. Get a garage sale permit if required by your local government.
Some cities require that you obtain a permit in order to have a garage sale, which normally has a small associated fee (about $17 in my city). It may seem silly and avoidable, but the risk is not worth it. If you are caught by local authorities without a copy of a permit, you will be fined and lose all of your profits!
3. Advertise in all available outlets
We all see garage sale signs hanging on street signs and trees in our neighborhood. Definitely use signs as an advertising method, but don’t stop there. Try the local newspaper (some papers may even have free ads), Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter and message boards. Think outside of the box!
Warning: some cities do not allow you to post physical signs so be sure to do your research. Also, be sure you take the signs down once your sale ends. You don’t want to get in trouble; plus be nice and don’t litter.
4. Set up early – serious garage sale frequenters arrive earlier than you might expect
Be prepared for shoppers to show up at the crack of dawn. Some people arrive well before the assigned start time in search of large ticket items, such as furniture, electronics and sporting equipment. Don’t stress out if people start digging through your boxes before you have everything set up how you had planned. Go with the follow and embrace the $$$.
5. Have plenty of small change and grocery bags
People are going to show up with $20 bills and purchase less than $5 worth of items. Be ready with plenty of singles and silver change. Start collecting change early or ask for small bills when you get cash back while running errands.
It is also a good idea to save grocery bags to give to customers who purchase lots of small items. You can even offer it to individuals as they are shopping. That way, they don’t stop shopping then their arms get full!
6. Make sure your products are clean and organized
Even when people are buying discounted items, they prefer stain and dust-free items. Be sure you wash your clothes and run your dishes through the dishwasher. Organize your items by category. Yes, things are going to be moved around and clothes will be unfolded, but make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible. People are more likely to buy items if they think they came from a home that is well-kept.
7. Put prices on bigger ticket items, but don’t pre-price everything.
People are going haggle the prices down so don’t waste your time with adding labels to each and every item. You should have an idea as to what you would like to sell the items for, but don’t spend too much time stressing about it. Your time is better spent cleaning and advertising.
8. Drop everything off at a local donation center afterwards.
Remember, you aren’t trying to get rich. Instead, you are trying to get rid of items you no longer use. If you were willing to part with them before the sale, why hold onto them any longer? Take all of your unsold items to a donation center. And plus, you can even get a tax deduction!
Time to start cleaning out those closets and preparing for your very own garage sale! Let me know how it goes.
Until next time,