I don’t know about you, but I love hitting up garage sales, as you can evidence by these finds of mine from earlier this summer. And not too long ago, we hosted a garage sale of our own. Here are 10 tips for a great garage sale if you decide to take the plunge!
1. Start by identifying your motivation to have one.
For us, it was easy. Both of our daughters had graduated college and were moving into their own places. However, they left behind TONS of childhood and teenage items, and frankly, our basement and attic storage spaces were looking mighty frightful. Add that to the fact that we still had a lot from our subdivision house we didn’t have room for, and we were beyond ready to unload stuff. Maybe you’re in the same boat and want to sell what you’re not using. Or, perhaps you want to make some extra money and you know you have quality goods. Garage sales are great opportunities for both!
2. Timing is everything.
We have lots of large subdivisions around us that do neighborhood sales every year. Since we’re a bit more “out of town” shall we say, we prefer not to compete with those large sales. We wouldn’t be able to capitalize on their traffic since we’re off the beaten path. Based on previous experience plus the understanding of our area, we know it’s best to either plan a garage sale in early June or after the back-to-school shopping mania has died down to get people into our rural areas. However, if you’re in a subdivision and your neighborhood has an annual sale, it makes perfect sense for you to time yours to match.
3. Advertise accordingly.
I created a flyer on Canva and posted it on Nextdoor. Then, I took photos of goods and posted them on Facebook Marketplace, along with a few larger images. I also took a few flyers to local small businesses to post on their community boards. Finally, since we’re in a more rural area, I bought a few large garage sale signs and posted them at popular intersections that get a lot of traffic. Although you wouldn’t think those large signs would do much, in rural areas, they’re a hit. Plus, there are days I just don’t feel like trolling online sites.
4. Organize in advance.
The last thing you want to do is open up your sale while you’re still hunting down price tags and pens. When it comes to tips for a great garage sale, I feel this one is the most important. Get everything organized and ready the night before, if not sooner. We made sure to have extra shopping bags on hand, a calculator, extra price stickers, and an extension cord to test appliances. For us, the best breakdown of cash to have on hand to start was five $10 bills, ten $5 bills, thirty $1 bills, and a few rolls of quarters. We also plugged in a fan since it ended up being an unseasonably warm weekend.
5. Spread it out.
It’s much easier for your customers to shop with ease if your tables are organized! Nobody wants to dig through piles of clothing and miscellaneous if they don’t need to. I reached out to a few friends to borrow extra tables and clothing racks. The extra display area really helped to spread the merchandise out and keep it organized by category. We had sporting goods on one table, kitchen and baking items on another, and decorative items on a third. We moved larger furniture onto the driveway and put books on an old bookcase. Clothes were hanging on the racks and we had a little jewelry station near them.
6. Expect bargainers.
If your goal is to get rid of stuff, then don’t get too hung up on sticking to your asking price unless the item is brand new. A dollar or two of difference here and there won’t make a difference to you but it may to your potential buyer.
7. Play some music.
Do you know how they play music as you shop for groceries? You can’t stop slowing down in produce and jamming out in the baking aisle, right? Music has a way of just relaxing people and also puts an end to awkward silence. We spun some chill CDs we also wanted to sell in the morning for the early crowd, and more upbeat music as the day went on. We even got some tips from a shopper on how to use old CDs to keep birds out of our grapevine. Bonus!
8. Have a FREE box.
We had a bunch of little knickknack things that we put in the free box for people to rummage through. Kids also loved it, which was nice for the families that wanted to spend some time browsing.
9. Enlist some backup workers.
My oldest daughter was a huge help, coming home for the weekend to help on the first day of our garage sale. That was so nice, as we always have plenty of things that still need to get done over the weekend.
10. Box up what’s left and haul it away.
We timed up our garage sale to be the weekend before our church’s rummage sale. And as an added bonus, one of Matt’s co-workers is a picker. He hauled the bulk of what was left away. We boxed up what was left, dropped it off at the rummage sale, and dusted off our hands. Done!
If you’re thinking about hosting a garage sale, I couldn’t encourage you more. For me, it was a total eye-opener to see the unneeded stuff I was still holding onto. And by having a sale, I was able to earn some money for my unwanted items without wastefully tossing nice things in the trash. I hope these tips for a great garage sale are helpful to you as you go about planning a garage sale of your own!