Garage Sale Tips & Tricks

Whether you’re selling or buying a home, there is plenty to get rid of before you begin your journey. Now is a good time to begin with a clean slate- literally. There are special items in every home that cannot simply be purged, but they seriously have got to go!

There is no better time to sell your items at reasonable prices than during the summer garage sale season. From neighbors handing dollar bills to the kids selling lemonade across the street to 99 cent poster boards with “GARAGE SALE” written in a large Sharpie marker, summer is the best time to draw crowds past your home. Get your circle stickers out and start marking up those items that survived the “throw away” pile.

To make your time and energy worth dragging everything out and sitting inside your garage, there are a few tips and tricks you need to know!


Spreading the word

  1. Don't be afraid to ask your friends and neighbors if they have items to purge. This will allow you to market your sale as a multi-family sale which will entice more people to come to the sale.
  2. Signs are the key to spreading the word on the day of the sale. Keep them simple, but make sure they are vibrant and easy to read. The more signs and better direction they give, the more traffic down you will get down your street.
  3. Craigslist and yard sale apps like Garage Sales by Map are popular platforms that experienced garage sale hoppers look to find sales. Put those big ticket items in the photos of your post so people know exactly what they will find at your sale.
  4. Use Facebook and Email for more than just updating friends or communicating with family. Facebook is a great tool to spread the word by creating an event and inviting your friends. An email blast is also efficient in letting friends or family know when and where they can buy your items.

No matter how you spread the word about your sale, be as descriptive as possible leaving no details out so those who pass by or see your posting don't have to contact you further.


Pricing

  1. If you're getting rid of items through a garage sale you are pricing to sell. It may be hard to offer a smaller value than you personally bought the item for, but if you want it to sell it has to match what the buyer is willing to pay.
  2. Typically it's useful to group similar items together under one single price. This will save you time while setting up and allow the buyer to sift through similar ticket items like DVDs, CDs and books.
  3. Make sure you have change! Going to the bank before your garage sale may not be at the top of your to-do list, but this is crucial. Those who pass by your house on accident and decide to stop might only have large bills to break and you certainly should not expect that they will have exact change.
  4. A crucial selling tip is putting a price on everything. Although you may be a great negotiator, any introvert who comes to your sale will leave immediately if they are forced to ask for a price. Also, this can make for awkward encounters for someone who cannot afford the price your asking for a particular item.

Organizing

  1. The first step to organizing your garage sale is to have a plan. This plan should include the best day of the week to have the sale depending on weather, the best time, who will help run the sale, when all the items will be priced and what will happen to those items that don't sell.
  2. Once your plan is drawn up, gather all the supplies you will need for the day. This Pinterest checklist is a great print off to use when checking off the supplies you already have.
  3. Display all items to grab attention rather than placing them on the floor or hiding them behind others. Think within the mindset of someone who merchandises a store to place the better items in the front of the store and the clearance toward the back.
  4. Make sizes easily accessible by placing stickers or signage in front of similar sizes for clothes. You can make signage easily using paper plates.
  5. Organize money using a system to save yourself time from counting money after the sale. A silverware tray makes for the perfect money organizer.
  6. Inform your neighbors ahead of time out of courtesy for their driveways. This will prevent the neighbors from getting upset about the cars parked down your street.
  7. Clean out your garage! By having a clean presentation, people will be more likely to buy items from you. This also ensures no one assumes your new lawnmower is for sale.
  8. Don't wait until the day of to organize all your items in your garage or on your lawn. Do this work the night before so you don't seem disorganized if a group of cars show up right when the sale is supposed to start.

During the Sale

  1. Even though all your items will have price stickers on them (right?), you should still be open to negotiation. Some people who stop by will be more experienced than others and they may try to make bundle sales or negotiate the price. Be ready!
  2. You have spent time organizing the items so they are placed just right within the garage. However, once those items sell your job gets harder. Make sure you rearrange to fill in gaps and place items where they will sell best. As a side note: keeps items off the ground!
  3. Offer a free incentive to your garage guests like water or candy. This incentive can spark conversation and prompt someone to purchase an item they had their eye on out of general appreciation.
  4. Set a bundle of grocery bags next to your checkout table for people who buy multiple small items. For larger items, enlist your favorite neighborhood kids to help carry items to the car so you don't go missing when the next shopper is in line waiting.
  5. Put an extension cord in the garage or make sure an outlet is accessible so people can test electronics before they purchase them. This will increase the chance for your electronics to sell.
  6. While people are shopping your garage, they don't want to search for you to check out. This is why it's important to always be around the checkout table so people don't drop their items and begin to leave.

After the Sale

  1. One option after the sale is to schedule a pickup through Donation Town. This service connects you with charities that will come pick up your items.
  2. Don't forget to take all your signs down before gathering items that didn't sell. 
  3. For those high ticket items that didn't sell plan to put them on a shopping platform like Craigslist or Ebay.
  4. Make an itemized list of donations with prices and keep your donation receipts. When tax time comes around you will be prepared to claim your donations on your taxes.

The key to a successful garage sale is to never look back and have no regrets about selling those items you've been holding onto for far too long. Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to achieving professional garage sale status just before you begin one of the most important journeys of your life: buying or selling a home.