5 Tips for Holding a Successful Garage Sale

Tami McQueen

Tami McQueen

Got clutter, clothing that no longer fits or toys the kids have outgrown? No worries, a great way to get rid of those unwanted items and make money at the same time is by holding a garage sale. Check out these 5 tips to help you plan a successful garage sale.

Gaage Sale - People looking through items at a garage sale in an affluent neighborhood.

Garage Sale Tip No. 1 – Spread the Word  

Advertise your garage sale in your local newspaper’s classified section, well-placed signage and online sites like Craigslist and Varage Sale to let everyone know your garage sale details.

Don’t forget to share the news with your friends and family on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram- you never know who might be looking for a gently-used crib, set of golf clubs or leather sofa. Many times, you can even make a deal and pick-up arrangements before the actual sale date.

Garage Sale Tip No. 2 – The Free Pile

Entice people to stop by and have a look by offering items for free. Toss toys from restaurant meals, clothing you plan to donate, “gift with purchase” cosmetic bags, cozies, branded items that you’ve received from sales reps and the like in a clearly marked container at the front of your yard.

You’ll easily get rid of items that would either end up in your trash bin or in a donation box – put these items to work for you.

Garage Sale Tip No. 3 – Location, Location, Location

Strategically place your garage sale items to grab attention, encourage browsing and of course, promote buying. Before setting up, draft a plan of where each table, bin, rack and item goes – saving you time during set-up and better organizing your sale.

A great start is to place items that will gather the most attention and most money closest to the street – things like sports equipment, tools, baby gear, large furniture and appliances. Grab the shoppers attention from the start!

Next neatly organize bins and tables to clearly display your garage sale items and create walkways to promote good traffic flow. Consider keeping more expensive items, jewelry, smaller tools and the cash box near you – that way you can keep an eye on them.

Finally, hang clothes from your garage door, a clothes line or rack by size, gender and season – making it easier for shoppers to search for pieces to fit their wardrobes or find something totally unique.

Garage Sale - Garage Sale sign at a sale in an affluent neighborhood.

Shoppers will tend to pay more for items that look like they are clean, organized and were cared for – same goes for your garage, front yard and drive. Perception is everything.

Garage Sale Tip No. 4 – Price to Sell 

Be realistic. Even if a dress or suit is still sporting its sale tag from a high-end department store, don’t think you’ll get full or even half price for it. Gently used, newer fashions and those with brand name labels mark at 1/3 or 1/4 of what you paid. All other apparel mark at $1, $5, $10, etc. Make it easy to do the math and make change – stop by a Branch Office to get rolls of quarters, singles and a few five and ten dollar bills to start your sale with.

Coffee mugs, books, toys, etc. start at fifty cents and work your way up in increments of fifty cents.

Browse online sites like eBay or Craig’s List to see what others are selling baby gear, furniture, and other high ticket items for before slapping a sales sticker on it.

And give a bulk rate- for instance, buy 5 books for the price of 4, buy 3 get the 4th at half price. Think like a department store.

Garage Sale Tip. No. 5 – Donate the rest 

Donate items that don’t sell to organizations like Goodwill, The Salvation Army®, and other charitable groups. You may also consider contacting a local women’s or homeless shelter, such as Mutual Ground or Hesed House, to donate gently used clothing – especially outfits that can be used for job interviews. Instead of walking away with cash, you will have done a good deed and earned a tax deduction. Talk to your tax account for details.

After your garage sale is over, open a Special Savings Account to stash your hard-earned cash away for something worth saving for like a vacation, new furniture or your child’s education.

Do you have any tips for making money by holding a garage sale?  If so, please share below:

Tami McQueen

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