Make some extra cash from the junk that's cluttering up your house by hosting a garage sale. These sales can be lucrative, but they can also be overwhelming, due to the number of logistics you have to consider. From preparing for your sale to closing it down, these tried-and-true tips will help simplify the process and allow you to make the most money for all your efforts.
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Consider a Multi-Family Sale
Garage sales advertised as "community yard sales," "neighborhood garage sale," or "multi-family sales" tend to attract more customers because they know the number of items will be greater and more diverse. Ask around the neighborhood to see if anyone wants to join in the planning and implementation of a garage sale—the more people who are involved, the more the work can be spread out.
Determine in advance how you are going to divide up the profits from a multi-family yard sale. You could choose to divide the money equally, or you can keep a record of what sells for each family by using different colors of stickers for pricing and writing down the sales in a notebook.
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Pick a Good Location
As the saying goes in real estate, location is everything—and the same is true for a profitable garage sale. A good location is easy to find, offers plenty of parking, and has enough space for all the items you wish to sell.
If you live in a rural area, off the beaten path, or somewhere without any street parking, consider having your garage sale at a relative's or friend's house that is better suited for having a yard sale.
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Host a Two-Day Sale
Garage sales are often Saturday morning affairs, but the real garage sale fanatics know that Friday is the best time to go to yard sales. Double the number of potential customers to your sale (without doubling the amount of work) by holding the sales on Friday and Saturday.
If the forecast calls for bad weather on the day of your sale, postpone or cancel sooner rather than later. Remove your online ad and plan for another weekend. However, inclement weather can also come out of nowhere, so have a plan ready: Move into a garage, if possible, or have tarps on hand to cover up your items.
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Organize and Clean All Items
It's tempting to throw everything you want to sell in a messy jumble in your garage or driveway, but that doesn't make for a good experience for your shoppers. As you're going through your house to pick out what you want to sell, take the time to clean dirty items by wiping them down with a wet cloth, especially if they've been in storage.
Take time to make the items look usable, such as blowing up the tires on an old bicycle or putting a lightbulb in a lamp. Put batteries in electronic items, so customers can ensure it works.
Spending some time on organizing is worthwhile, too. Kids' clothes, household decor, books, and other like items should be kept together. It makes it much easier for customers to find like items they want to buy.
Specialty items don't always sell well at garage sales. Instead, try listing them individually online before your garage sale. It's easier than ever to sell your specialty items with the use of a local selling app or by hosting a virtual garage sale on Facebook. Do this a few weeks before your garage sale, so you can include anything that's unsold in the sale.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Customers who are serious about garage sales will plan out what sales they want to go to before they jump in the car, and they typically find out about these sales in advance by finding them being advertised online. Write an ad to entice shoppers, and post your yard sale websites such as Craigslist or community Facebook pages. There are some other garage sale finders apps and websites to consider getting listed on, too.
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Direct People With Signs
If your city allows, advertise your garage sale with signs that direct people from busy intersections to your garage sale. It will encourage people driving by to stop, as well as help people who are looking for your garage sale to find it successfully.
Make sure that your signs are bright, large, and easy to read. Include the date, time, a directional arrow, and the garage sale address. Make sure you take down the signs after the sale!
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Price Items Appropriately
Pricing is important at a garage sale. If you price too high, the item won't sell, but if you price too low, it may not be worth your time having a garage sale. If you're unsure about pricing, check the current value online, and then price it at approximately a quarter or a third of that price. Above all, resist the urge not to affix price stickers to items—customers won't want to ask about pricing and will instead walk away.
Price items in 25-cent increments—for example, $1.50, $2.75 or $3 even—so you only need quarters for change.
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Create Browsing Space
A garage sale needs to have a good flow, just like retail spaces. Make sure that there are one or two clear paths for people to take and that they won't get "stuck" in any corners when other people are looking. There needs to be enough room for people to walk past each other and a way that people can look at the same items without getting in each other's way.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Display Items on Tables
Having your items displayed on tables will greatly increase your sales. Items are easier to see, inspect, and have the price read when they're up on table level. Put your most breakables and the most expensive items up on a table, unless they are too big. If you put items on the ground, try to put them in boxes that are easy to look through.
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Open on Time
There will be people ready to go to your garage sale before you even open. Often referred to as "early birds," they will be happy waiting for your official opening time but not so happy if you open late. These are serious shoppers who are ready to spend money on your items. Not opening on time can mean missing out on a lot of extra cash.
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Be Open to Bargaining
People who garage sale love a good bargain, and they may just try to get you to budge on your prices. Be open to bargaining but have in mind a number that you'd like to stay above, especially for larger items. Don't feel pressured to accept any offer, but in certain cases though, it might make the difference between selling and not selling an item.
When it gets later in the day on Saturday, and it's looking like you won't sell much of the items you have left, this is a great time to consider accepting offers. Cross out prices, put a sign up that says "1/2 off," and tell people who stop by that you are open to offers. If you plan to donate your items after the sale, this is a great way to make a little bit of extra money before you get rid of what's left.
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Offer Bags and Change
Have some change available, so you can break larger bills. A good place to start is by getting five $10 bills, 10 $5 bills, 20 $1 bills, and a roll each of quarters, dimes, and nickles. You may also want to consider taking credit cards. Credit card processors like Square are inexpensive and perfect for the individual. You'll simply connect it to your phone and use it to swipe credit cards.
Spend the month or so before your garage sale saving plastic grocery store bags. Your shoppers will appreciate having one, and they may even buy more items since they have an easy way to carry them back to the car.