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 May 31, 2013  Posted by  At Home, Features
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A garage sale is still a great way to get rid of unwanted stuff around your house. We’ve put together a list of garage sale tips that can help you hold a successful garage sale.

The best day to hold a garage sale depends on where you live. Many locations prefer one or both weekend days. Dates near the 1st or 15th when people get paid are also good. Peruse Craigslist in your area to find out what days and times of the week most garage sales are held. Also, some local governments require a permit to hold a garage sale and place restrictions on where you can post signs; be sure to check with your city hall before the sale to make sure you don’t get fined.

Plan what you will do with leftover goods at the end of the sale. Some thrift stores offer pickup service, but it usually needs to be scheduled in advance.

Once you have a date, time and plan for leftover items, here are the steps you need to take to hold a garage sale.

What to sell at a garage sale

  • Lots of unwanted household goods that you just want to get rid of rather than take time to sell for possibly more money
  • Items that will sell for much less than half of what you paid for it — usually 10%-25% of retail.

Advertise your garage sale to attract the most buyers

  • Create eye-catching signs using colorful cardboard and felt-tip pens or markers. Include the address, day, time and any special categories of items you have for sale such as toys, Christmas or sports gear. Include end-of-day incentives, for example, “half price after 1 p.m.”
  • Place signs strategically on key arterials that lead into your neighborhood.
  • Create fliers and post them at local stores or churches.
  • Advertise your garage sale by posting on Craigslist in your location.

Stage your garage sale items for maximum sales

  • Put most goods at eye level.
  • Hang clothes rather than place on a table or in a bin.
  • Put big-ticket items and large items like furniture out front.
  • Keep expensive items at the checkout table, especially if they are small.
  • Group like items: kitchenware, tools, toys, clothes, etc.
  • Make sure every item is priced.
  • You can simplify pricing by grouping similarly priced items. For example, designate a $1 table, a $5 table, and a $10 table. Or use color coded stickers for set price points (pink = 25 cents, green = 50 cents).

Manage your garage sale effectively

  • Start with $75 in cash: one roll each of quarters, nickels, dimes, 20 $1 bills, a few$5 bills, and a couple of $10s.
  • Have a few friends on hand to help you; early morning crowds can overwhelm you and make it easy for strangers to take things without paying for them.
  • Secure your cash — preferably in a fanny pack around your waist. If you use a cash box, make sure someone attends the cash at all times.
  • If you are making a lot of money, take extra cash into your house throughout the day for safekeeping, but always have at least $75 in change on hand during the sale.
  • If possible, have a few grocery bags on hand for shoppers who might need them.
  • Consider offering brewed coffee or a pitcher of water, lemonade or iced tea along with pastries or cookies. You can charge a nominal fee to offset the cost, or simply offer these as a loss leader on your signs (“free beverage and pastry to all buyers.”)

Carole Cancler

Carole Cancler is a business and technology professional with experience in food science, technical writing, and product development. Her former company, Private Chef Natural Gourmet in Seattle, Washington specialized in frozen gourmet meals. Prior to that, Carole spent 11 years at Microsoft as a software engineer and program manager. Her writing expertise includes business intelligence, websites, newsletters, and recipe development. Currently, she focuses on writing and consulting for the food and technology industries and, for fun, teaches cooking classes. Her first cookbook, The Home Preserving Bible is available on Amazon. Carole owns and operates Greater Seattle on the Cheap.

One comment on “19 tips for a successful garage sale

  1. Amy S on said:

    Alongside Craigslist, here’s a great website to advertise on that is exclusively for yard sales and garage sales… I LOVE it! here’s the link: www.yardsalesearch.com/rf=b