One of my favorite ways to get rid of unwanted items is to hold a garage sale. In fact, I’d say I’ve held more than 10-12 in the last few years.
Usually I go in with my mom to do the sale. Between the two of us we almost always have enough items.
Because we are trying to sell our home and are trying to go ahead and get rid of things we don’t want to move, I decided that it was time for another garage sale.
So, this past week, my mom and I got together a lot of items we wanted to get rid of. We held our sale on Saturday morning.
As much as I love doing garage sales I know that they are a lot of work and can be a major headache. But, if you are willing to put in the work, you can earn some money for your efforts.
Here are my 5 must do tips for each garage sale I hold:
1. Determine whether it will be worth your time.
For some people, it doesn’t matter how much they have to sell. They just want to get rid of it all, so donating is probably the best choice for them.
I usually decide to have a garage sale when I realize there are a lot of things I need to get rid of. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when I add what I have to what my mom has cleaned out of her own house, we usually have enough to justify the time and effort of a garage sale.
This time I was not sure if we had enough. I was pleasantly surprised when I counted up the money and discovered we made just under $350. It was definitely worth our time.
So, you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth your time. If you are looking to make a ton of money, a garage sale may not be the way to go. And, if you don’t have a lot of items, it may not be worth your time.
If you are set on having a garage sale but don’t have enough items, then consider doing one with a friend or family member. Larger sales attract more people and increase the chance of most items being sold.
2. Don’t get hung up on pricing your items.
It’s hard to decide sometimes how to price the items I’m selling. I don’t want to ask too much where no one even wants to negotiate with me. But, I don’t want to price things too low when I can probably get more for them.
However, my #1 goal with a garage sale is to get rid of items. So, that gives me incentive to price things to sell.
Because each neighborhood is different, I can’t really give you specific price examples. A lamp may go for $20 in one neighborhood may only sell for $10 in another. You’ll just have to use your best judgement to price your items.
3. Set up your sale to entice buyers to shop.
Maybe it’s my nature to be orderly and organized that takes over when I set up my garage sales, but I tend to set up tables and arrange the items by type.
For example, all toys are together, kitchen items are on one table, decorative items are on another table, etc.
I like to think of setting it up like a store. When people come to shop they can easily see all the kinds of items I have for sale.
4. Make advertising your sale a priority.
We have signs we made many years ago that still serve us well today. They say Saturday 7-11 am. We are able to use these signs each time because they have no specific date on them.
In the past, we put a free ad in our local newspaper. However, because we had to place it about a week before our sale and we were not sure if the weather would be good to hold the sale, we did not want to be committed in case we needed to postpone it.
So, we just relied on our signs and a post that I shared on Facebook.
One thing I learned this time was that putting the signs out too early will bring people to your sale too early. I thought since we didn’t advertise in the paper we should have the signs out early on Friday so people would see them and know there would be a sale on Saturday.
After all, they were clearly marked Saturday only. What would be wrong with that?
Well, the serious garage sale goers showed up Friday. Some claimed they didn’t notice the Saturday on the signs. But we could tell they just wanted an early look. We were still working on putting things out and pricing them so we didn’t let anyone in early.
In the future, we’ll wait until Friday afternoon to put the signs out.
5. Don’t be deterred by the weather.
I mentioned above we were not sure what the weather would be like for the date we set for our sale. The weather report the day before did not show any rain in the forecast for that Saturday.
However, when I left my house to go to my parents’ house for the sale, it was raining lightly. It was about an hour before the sale was to begin, so I thought the rain would probably taper off soon.
Unfortunately it kept raining. In fact it rained or drizzled for most of the sale.
You know what? It didn’t keep people away. We were never without a customer the whole time. It was empty once or twice for maybe a minute or two. But other than that, we had a steady stream of people.
I think had it been a downpour, we would not have had all the traffic we had. Most likely we would have had to postpone it and try again another week.
So, don’t wait for the perfect weather day for your sale.
What are your tips for a successful garage sale?