We had a garage sale this past weekend, and I must say that it was quite the success! I know some people don’t really like doing garage sales, but I love them! I kind of thrive on them It’s okay. You can think I’m crazy.
I know my love for garage sales came from my mom who had a yard sale every single year. There were days of preparation, and then it was kept up for two days early in the Summer. The proceeds made from those yard sales always went to help pay for our family vacations. I always loved helping my mom with them, and that love fed over into my married/mommy life.
We only had our garage sale up for one day – a Saturday – but we still made roughly $815! Yes, you read that right. We made nearly a grand . . . from a GARAGE SALE! (I will add the disclaimer that part of what we made was due to selling my husband’s old, partially working car. But, it was because of the garage sale that we were able to get anybody to look at it and sold it the following day.)
I thought maybe I would share some tips for how to have your own successful yard sale. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I have been doing this a long time (pretty much my whole life).
This is the very first and probably most important thing you want to do! If you don’t advertise your garage sale, then how are people going to know you’re having one? Be sure you start advertising 4-7 days beforehand. The hardcore yardsalers usually make a list of garage sales they are going to attend, so you want to be sure you end up on that list. You can advertise in the following ways:
- Pay for a small newspaper ad.
- Post about it (multiple times) on local Facebook selling pages.
- Put out signs with the date, times, and address. Be sure to have one at a major intersection a couple miles from your house, then put another one at the end of your development. From there, you can have signs with arrows at major corners leading to your house. You can get garage sale signs for pretty cheap at Walmart or Lowe’s.
- Post about it on your personal Facebook page.
Spend Time Preparing
Okay, this step is SO important! If you don’t take time to prepare, you will find yourself in a frazzle the night before or the morning of and things could be a bit of a disaster. We spent about 4 or 5 hours prepping everything the day before our yard sale, and it made things incredibly easy for the following morning! I will go into more detail in a bit, but the things you’ll want to do ahead of time are:
- Put prices on everything. Trust me, if you do anything ahead of time, do this! It’s the most time consuming step.
- Make your signs.
- Organize the items by type: clothes, toys, exercise equipment, kitchen, household items, etc.
- Set up your tables in your garage (if you have room) or draw out a basic sketch of where you plan to put everything.
You don’t want people to guess the prices for things. You also don’t want them to feel awkward by having to ask you. Not to mention, you don’t have to remember how much you were planning to sell everything. By putting prices on everything, you are telling people what you expect to get, and they can figure out if they have enough. Also, add totals is a whole lot easier with the prices right in front of you. Walmart sells these awesome pre-priced garage sale labels that have prices already printed on them. So, it takes so much of the work out of it for you. You simply pick the price you want to use, peel and stick! The package also has blank ones where you can write down a particular price, and it includes large tags for bigger items. This label package totally cut down our prep time a lot!
For clothing tables, make signs with prices for the different types of clothes. For example: Shirts – $3, Pants – $5, Sweaters – $4.50, etc.
Get Things Off The Ground
You don’t want your customers to have to bend over to see things. If you have tables, use them. Have bookshelves? Use them! If the bookshelves are not for sale, be sure to mark them not for sale. You could even turn bins upside down and use them like tables. Do whatever you can to get your smaller items and clothes off the ground.
Take the guess work out of finding certain items for your customers.
Organize them according to type: Kitchen, Home Decor, Baby, Clothing, Holiday, etc. The less searching your customers have to do, the better.
Make searching through the clothing more appealing by hanging up any clothes that can be hung. You don’t have to have a nice hanging bar. We simply hung 550 cord/rope across two points in our garage. Then, you can organize the clothes by size and put up labels. Basically, you’re making it like a miniature store. People are more likely to buy with less digging they have to do.
Also, set your tables and items up in a way that makes it easy for people to walk around. As you can see in the title photo, we set our tables up in a U shape, which allowed people to walk freely. Oftentimes, they started on one end and walked around to the other end. That’s precisely what we hoped people would do because they ended up looking at more things than they probably would have had we set things up differently.
Place Bigger Items Out Front
You want to attract potential customers, so put your big items out where they can be seen clearly. For some reason, this tactic works really well.
Use The Garage Sale To Sell Other Items
Have an Etsy shop or like to make things? This is a great opportunity to sell items from your shop and get your name out there! I used our garage sale to try selling items from my two shops: Popsies and Lace and LE’s Creations.This ended up bringing in a good amount of profit for us, and some people took my business cards!
Sell Snacks and Drinks
Believe it or not, people love this! Sometimes, people are coming around lunchtime and are getting a bit hungry. Or, if it’s an exceptionally hot day (like it was for us), they will be grateful for refreshment options.
Welcome people as they come in. This not only shows friendliness, but it lets them know who is holding the garage sale.
Take time to talk with people as they shop around. Get to know your customers. If you take interest in the people coming through, they will more likely buy something because you made them feel comfortable. We had a young lady who was pregnant and looking for baby stuff. She and I chatted for a while about motherhood, and I took real interest in the baby she was carrying. The mother ended up buying a few things and came back later with her husband and bought some more. We also had this sweet older lady who started out buying just a few things, and as we all continued to chat and laugh, she ended up spending over $70!
If you take anything away from this post, remember that friendliness is key!!
Other Helpful Tips:
- Start the garage sale early! I recommend starting around 7 or 8 in the morning (even 6:30, if you can handle it). The really serious yardsalers start shopping early. They like to get out when the weather isn’t too hot, and they like to make sure they beat the crowds. The thing is, a lot of people think this way, so your biggest crowds will be first thing in the morning. If you wait till 9 or later to start, you’ll miss most of your potential buyers.
- Have bags and boxes available for people who are buying multiple items. It’s nice for them to have something to carry their stuff home in.
- If there are things that need some assembly (i.e. Christmas tree, baby bassinet, toys, etc.), assemble them and set them out so that people can see what they look like. You’re more apt to sell said items if they are out in the open and not just stored in their boxes.
- Like the tip above, if you have dinnerware sets in boxes, pull them out of the boxes so that people can see them in person. People like to be sure that they aren’t going to be buying broken items and like to see what the dinnerware looks like up close.
- Mark clothes’ prices down in the last 1-2 hours. You’re trying to get rid of the clothes anyway, so start offering things like $0.50 per bag. They only pay $0.50 for whatever they can stuff in a plastic grocery bag. This usually works quite well and gets a lot of the clothes off of your hands.
- Be willing to barter. Remember, this is a garage sale. You aren’t a real store. People will want to barter prices, and that’s okay! If you let them barter (without losing a ton of profit on your part), they will be more likely to buy more than just one item. Every person that bartered with us ended up buying at least two or three items.
- Things a bit dusty or dirty? Wipe them down! Could some things use a load in the wash? Wash them! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
All in all, our garage sale was quite a success, and I look forward to doing another one next year!
Do you like shopping at garage sales?
Have you ever done a garage sale and did you learn anything new that will help you with your next one?
*Oh! So, remember when I mentioned our dog’s horrible gas issues? I figured out the culprit. I caught him eating cat poop the other day. CAT POOP! Dogs are so strange sometimes. SMH!*