I absolutely love going to garage sales and looking for treasures! The thrill of the hunt and finding a great deal is very exciting for me. What is not exciting though is going to a garage sale hosted by a rookie. It’s always pretty obvious when a garage sale is being held by someone who has never actually gone to a garage sale themselves. If you’re not a regular garage sale customer it can be difficult to know what works and what doesn’t work for hosting your own successful garage sale. So today I’m going to share my top 6 garage sale tips to help you successfully sell your stuff.
I should provide you with a disclaimer first. In my lifetime I have hosted three of my own garage sales and I’m pretty sure I won’t ever do another. I need to tell you right up front that they are a heck of a lot of work! Plus storing everything leading up to the garage sale takes up a lot of space! You’ve got to have somewhere to collect it all.
Once I decide to get rid of my stuff I just want it gone. I don’t want it hanging around playing with my emotions every time I catch a glimpse of it piled in a corner somewhere. Instead I donate my decluttered items to the thrift store every week. Our local thrift store uses the store profits to benefit our local hospital so it’s a win-win for me.
The few times I have held a garage sale I did make some good money though. This was especially true when I held my “no more babies” garage sale. I found out baby stuff tends to sell well. However I also found out afterwards that I wasn’t done having babies. Oops!
If all the work doesn’t scare you off and you still think you’d like to try hosting a garage sale then today’s post is for you. Here are my garage sale tips for how to think like a garage saler (even if you’ve never been to one yourself) so your customers are eager to buy what you have to offer.
Of course you need stuff at a garage sale but what I mean is you need more than one table worth of stuff. Garage salers don’t like to waste time hitting up a garage sale without a lot of stock. We are competitive folk for sure and want to get on to the next garage where our next treasure awaits. Multi-family garage sales always get me excited because you know the selection will be good and the variety even better. If you don’t have enough stuff to hold a garage sale definitely think about teaming up with friends for greater success.
Timing is Important:
If the majority of the garage sales in your town start at 8 in the morning, don’t start yours two or three hours later. If at all possible please try and start your garage sale with what is most popular for your area. Us garage salers get out there to do the circuit and then end up killing time waiting for yours to open or worse we just don’t bother going at all. The week or two before your garage sale check the ads to get an idea of what day and time other garage sales are happening. There is almost always a common time. Go with the flow and you’ll have some happy customers on your hands.
Eliminate the Piles:
Oh boy. Why do people holding garage sales think we want to dig through mountains of stuff. We don’t. I see clothes displayed this way all the time but I certainly can’t be bothered because in the back of my mind I’m thinking about the next sale and what I might be missing there. It’s a go go mentality, everyone looking for great stuff at bargain prices. We want to get in and get out quickly. Clothing should be hung up (or at least organized by size on a table or in a box) and anything not easily identified should be labeled so we don’t have to guess. Because we won’t. We’ve got to go.
Price It Right:
The #1 problem with attending the garage sale of a non-garage saler is their prices are often way too high. Prices should be lower at garage sales than if you were to sell your wares any place else. No one cares if you just bought the item a week ago and barely used it. We want a deal. You want to make some cash. When that combination works, it works beautifully. So price your stuff lower earlier in the day rather than waiting until the end to reduce your prices. The last thing you want to do is haul it all off afterwards to the thrift store. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just way more work for you after an already exhausting sale day.
I also prefer when everything IS priced at garage sales. It’s just faster for me to assess the situation and be on my way. These pre-printed garage sale stickers (affiliate link) are perfect for making the process quick and easy.
Do Away With The Junk:
Okay this one is tricky because junk to one person means something entirely different to someone else. However it’s probably safe to say that no one wants your stained and ripped shirts, broken toys, cracked dishware or puzzles missing pieces. It will only turn your customers off and make them want to run for the hills. Ask yourself if this is something you would want to buy yourself. If it’s not something you would consider buying then it’s probably a good indication that you shouldn’t try selling it either.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise:
Advertising is crucial for a successful sale. It’s hard to make money at a sale if you don’t have any customers. You’ll want to pay attention to where all the other garage sales in your area are being advertised. Often that’s bulletin boards or street poles. If that’s where you’ll be advertising make sure it’s legible. Neon paper and big Sharpie letters are ideal. As well if you predict a hint of rain put your sign in a Ziploc bag to protect it.
If the majority of garage sales in your town are advertised in the paper or on Craigslist/Kijiji then that’s what you’ll need to do as well. Also check Facebook because there may be a specific garage sale page for your location. It doesn’t hurt either, on garage sale day, to put a big sign at the end of your street with balloons directing people right to your door.
*Bonus garage sale tip – wear an apron with a big pocket (or a fanny pack 🙂 ) and have enough small change on hand.
Overall I think the important thing to remember is you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to get in and get out. You don’t have to be a garage saler yourself to host a successful garage sale and hopefully the tips I listed above will help you do just that.
Feel free to share your best garage sale tips in the comments!
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My contributor Yuni also shared some garage sale tips a couple of years ago.
- *Please note that affiliate links are included in this post to make it easier for you to find what is being referenced. A small commission, at no extra cost to you, is made should you purchase product using these links. As always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own – or the author, in the case of posts by my guest contributors. Thank you!*