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Have Yourself the Best Garage Sale Ever!

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

It’s yard sale season! It's never too early to start collecting items for your yard sale. Whether you call it a garage sale, tag sale or yard sale, the planning prior to having such a sale is critical to its success.

Start by looking through your attic, basement, and closets for things you no longer need or use.

1. Set-Up: If you have a large enough yard, you can set up tables and displays. Otherwise, you'll need to get creative with how you arrange everything. You should put heavier items on tables and lighter items on the ground. Put signs up so people know where everything is.

2. Sort into Categories: To further increase the appeal of your sale, group similar items together and price them accordingly.

· Sort children’s clothes according to gender and size. Plastic or cardboard boxes work well for this. Make sure you label each container.

· A grab box of all the same size clothing is for one price is a fantastic way for the clothing to move quickly, especially kids’ clothes.

3. Clean Everything: Be sure to clean all items before putting them out on display; potential buyers are more likely to purchase items that are clean and well-maintained.

4. Small Purchases: Purchase or have available a box of plastic bags for purchased clothing and other small Items. A box of 200 bags go for $20.00 at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. That way you can bag multiple items as needed.

5. Oversized Items: Any big-ticket or larger items, place near the street with a big readable price tag. On the day of the sale, set up those bigger items in an easily visible location so that potential customers can see them as they drive by.

6. This is Your Store: If you want your garage sale to be successful, it's important to pay attention to the details. First of all, set everything up like you would if the items were new. That means taking the time to tidy up and arrange your belongings in an appealing way.

  • Secondly, remember that presentation is everything. A well-organized and attractively displayed garage sale is more likely to draw in customers than a messy one.

  • Once you've gathered all your items, start pricing them. A good rule of thumb is to price items at 50-75% of their original value. This will help ensure that your items sell quickly while still making a profit. You can also look at local community yard sales to see what prices similar items are selling for.

7. All About the Money: A yard sale is a great way to get rid of unwanted items and make some extra cash. One of the most important aspects of a successful yard sale is having a place to store the money you make. A cash box is an easy target for thieves, so it's best to avoid using one. Instead, opt for a small plastic expanding file (see picture). These can be purchased for a few dollars at any office supply store. Each file should be labeled with the name of the person who is responsible for collecting the money. This will help to keep things organized and prevent confusion on sale day.

  • A terrific way to help organize and keep safe the money that you collect in your plastic expandable file is to have everyone wear a waist apron with deep pockets (see picture below). Put the money in the expandable file and place it in the front pocket of your apron. The waist apron also has the added benefit of keeping your hands free, so you can focus on other tasks. It will make your job a whole lot easier!

  • Make sure to get plenty of small bills in advance, $1’s $5’s and $10’s, a few $20’s and also about least $5 in quarters or small change, distributed between you. Plan on getting around $100.00 in small bills. As anyone who has ever handled money knows, it can be a messy business. Coins jingle and bills get crumpled up, making it hard to keep track of what you have. This is especially true when you are collecting money from a large group of people. That's why this little plastic file to hold the money you collect is such a great tool for your yard sale. This way, you can separate the smaller bills from the larger bills and exchange money quickly and efficiently.

  • Keep the cash with you at all times.

8. Advertising is Key: Be sure to advertise your sale in the local classifieds along with social media sites. Be sure to include key details like the date, time, and location of your sale. Upload pictures of your nicest stuff to entice people to come to the sale. List your big ticket most attractive items in your sale to get the ultimate traffic.

9. Pricing: When it comes to negotiating the price of an item, it is always best to start with the price you want. This gives you a built-in negotiating power from the beginning, as the other party will likely try to come down from your initial asking price. By starting high, you increase your chances of getting the price you want, or at least a closer price to it. Of course, you should always be willing to compromise and come down from your initial asking price if necessary. However, by starting high you will have more room to negotiate and are more likely to end up happy with the final price.

10. Placing Yard Sale Signs: To get the most people to your sale, you need to advertise it well. One of the best ways to do this is with big, block letters on brightly colored poster board or paper. The signs should be easy to read from a distance, so don't be afraid to make them BIG! And keep the information short and to the point; you want people to know when and where your sale is, not plan their entire weekend around it.

  • PUTTING UP SIGNS AROUND TOWN: You can put up signs around the neighborhood or post ads online. Be sure to include when and where the sale will be, as well as what kinds of items will be for sale. But before posting your signs around town, check with your city government to make sure that they allow you to do this. Many have learned this the hard way on the first day of their yard sale - the city came and took down their signs. If you post the sign on someone’s actual property (not the parking strip) the city is not authorized to take them down. Always get permission from the property owner!

11. Mark down Prices after 2 Hours of Sales: Mark down the prices of your items after a couple of hours. This will help to ensure that you don't miss out on any potential buyers, and it will also help to ensure less clean up and hauling away items that you don't really need. You'll be glad you did.

12. Provide Free Refreshments: You’ll be amazed at how many people that you offer a cookie to and while they are eating and looking at things said, “I feel like I have to buy something now that I've eaten your cookie.” Again, remember presentation is everything so if your cookies are “store bought,” you may want to at least lay them out on a larger platter so they look more homemade and inviting. If you have the time, making some home-baked cookies or even a punch will really make your yard sale stand out. Who knows, you might even make some extra money from selling your goodies!

13. Bulk Discounting: Bargaining and haggling is something that is commonplace at garage sales. People are always looking for a good deal, and yard sale shoppers are no exception. When pricing items for a yard sale, it is important to keep this in mind. One way to do this is by offering bulk discounts. For instance, if someone is buying multiple items, consider giving them a 10% or 20% discount. This will not only encourage them to buy more, but it will also save you time in the long run. Instead of having to individually price each item, you can simply offer a bulk discount and be done with it. This is especially effective with kids clothing, grouped by size. In the end, everyone will be happy with the arrangement.

14. Cash & Venmo Only: Make a large sign easy for people to see that says: CASH and/ or Venmo Only. Make sure you have multiple signs out with your QR Code that links directly to your Venmo account (or whatever cash app you prefer). If the person really wants the item(s), they will find a way to get the cash to you somehow.

15. Lock It Up: If you plan on doing your sale at your home, keep the doors to the inside of it locked. You don’t want to fall victim to a crime while you are trying to make money.

Remember to be flexible with your prices; people will try to haggle with you. By following these simple tips, you can have a successful, profitable, yard sale that clears out your clutter and puts some extra cash in your pocket.

And that's it! You're ready for your yard sale.

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