When to Hold Your Sale
Saturday is the best day, as this is when most people are out and about, though Sunday can attract some weekend traffic as well. Plan on hosting your garage sale in the morning and early afternoon. Seven to eleven in the morning tends to see the most traffic, though you may keep getting buyers until one or two in the afternoon. Beware of “early birds” showing up either before the start time or even the day before. Decide beforehand if you will sell to these people and how to handle the situation. Avoid holiday weekends as people are more likely to be out of town or have other plans.
What Should You Sell?
Start making a sell pile even months before you know you will be having your garage sale. Be wary of selling an item with sentimental value as you may regret it later. If an item you are putting up for sale belongs to another member of the family, be sure to get their permission first.
Be sure to look through everything before you set up your sale. You wouldn’t want someone to take something home they should not have, such as an old credit card receipt that had been used as a bookmark.
As a general guideline, you can charge about one fourth to one third the item’s new cost. However, it is important to be objective. Old, used items may not have the same worth to someone else as what it is to you.
Consider having sales, such as “$1 each or 6 for $5”. Buyers love deals! You may even consider having a freebie table.
Be sure to place prices on top of the items where they can be easily seen. Nothing is more obnoxious at a garage sale than having to ask the cost every time you are interested in an item. Save yourself time by grouping items that cost the same amount together and make one sign for all of them, or use color coded stickers. Finally, be sure to have coins and bills for change and keep your money on you at all times.
Getting the Word Out
In the week or two leading up to your garage sale, find ways to make your sale known. Try some of the following suggestions:
- Neighborhood HOA newsletter
- Post a flyer on community bulletin boards in grocery stores, libraries, and community centers.
- Advertise online for free. You can use social media, Craigslist, and other online sites. Facebook may even have a page for sales in your area. Search for “Garage Sale in (insert city)”.
Another great way to get the word out about your garage sale is by word of mouth. Consider teaming up with another neighbor or friend, as suggested here, and have garage sales on the same day. As you each advertise, you will have twice as much effort put in and attract more people. Then when buyers stop at the other garage sale, they will also come by yours.
How to Get People to Stop By
Once you have done your advertising, your next job is to make your garage sale a place people want to stop by and stay awhile. Make sure you put up easy to read signs for the road. Keep in mind people are driving by quickly and will not be able to read small writing or light colors.
Put effort into making your yard sale look attractive and organized. You are more likely to get drive bys to stop this way. Be sure the items you are selling are clean, as someone is not likely to stick around if items are dirty. Place a variety of items close to the road that will be appealing to both men and women.
Play some easy-listening music in the background to create an enjoyable shopping environment. You may even consider having treats for sale (or for free!) to keep people there longer and happy as they munch and shop.
Finally, keep pets away from the sale. While you may love your pet, others may not be fond of them, may be afraid of them, or may even have allergies. This can cause potential buyers to leave.
What To Do with Unsold Items
After all is said and done, you will probably have items that will not be sold at the end of the day. For nice clothes that may have a hard time selling to the bargain conscious garage sale shopper, consider taking them to a consignment store. For all other items remaining, donate them to charities such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill. These donations can often be written off on your taxes.
Putting on a garage sale can be hard work, but with a little planning and the right environment, you can have a successful garage sale and end with a less cluttered home and more change in your pocket.
Author: Alyssa Craig