8 Tips on How to Have the Perfect Garage Sale

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Holding a garage sale is a perfect way to get rid of unwanted items in the home and make a few dollars at the same time. Here are some tips to help guarantee your garage sale will be a success and maximize your profit potential.

1. Town Wide Garage Sale

A town wide garage sale is a weekend, chosen by the community, designated as the official time for a garage sale. The town will help publicize it in the local newspapers and develop a map, which is usually available at city hall, listing all of the garage sales that registered. This is an ideal time to hold a sale due to the potentially large amount of shoppers who will visit the town specifically for a bargain hunt.

The only downside is there will be many garage sales to compete with, but given the throngs of people that show up for the sales, it shouldn't be a problem.

Mass garage sales of a smaller scale, like neighborhood garage sales, are also quite common.

2. Choose a Good Date

If the garage sale is at a time other than an organized sale, it's important to pick a great date. The date should be the same weekend as another major event in the area such as a county fair or festival. The festival brings people to the town, so the person holding the garage sale can maximize his traffic. Try to avoid the dates of major festivals and fairs that are outside of the town, as it will have the opposite effect and draw people out of town, thus away from the garage sale.

3. Take Time to Prepare

Too many people wait until two or three days before the garage sale to actually start preparing for it. Ideally, people will give themselves a week to two weeks of preparation time to find the items they want to sell. This also gives them ample time to wash and clean any items and set up the site.

4. Choose Several Large Items with High Visibility

The decision for a person to choose one garage sale over another often depends on what they see from their car. If there aren't any clear items visible from the road, then they may decide to keep driving. Try to keep a variety of large items in the garage sale such as refrigerators, pieces of furniture, children's toys and anything else that can be easily spotted from a distance.

5. Make Pricing Clear

Many of the sales at a garage sale are impulsive, so make sure everything is priced with stickers. Items that don't have price tags will get overlooked, because unless the buyer really wants it, they will simply put it down and move on.

Every item should have a clearly marked price that is easily visible. Smaller items should be grouped together with a sign telling customers how much each item costs, like a "$5 each" sign on a table of items you wish to sell for $5 each. You can also set up bargains that you would commonly see in a retail shop like "$5 each, or two for $7" to attract buyers.

6. Keep Pricing Cheap

There are two goals for a garage sale: make money and get rid of items. The prices on the items for sale should be less than what they are actually worth. If the items are overpriced, then no one is going to buy them. The end result is a garage full of unsold items that has to be put on the curb for the garbage collector or packed back up and put into storage. And remember, garage sales are one of the most common venues for haggling, so be prepared for buyers who want to obtain items for prices that can be even lower than your cheap sticker value.

7. Advertise Heavily

If people are going to come to the garage sale, they need to know where it is being held. Many sales are in people's homes in residential neighborhoods and unless customers are directed to it, they won't know it's there. Most local newspapers have free or low price ads for garage sales that people will see and take note of.

People can also create several signs using store bought paper, cut up card board boxes, etc. The signs should say there is a garage sale at a specific address and name a few of the bigger ticket items such as furniture, baby clothes and appliances.

Signs should be placed in high traffic areas and intersections with arrows pointing customers in the right direction. Garage sale organizers should contact the local city hall to check on any signage limitations in the city ordinances.

8. Create a Neighborhood Garage Sale

A great tactic for holding a successful garage sale is to get together with several of your neighbors and have a multifamily sale. This provides extra manpower for the days of the sale, plus the sheer volume of different items will draw people in.

It is imperative each family has a different colored pricing sticker to keep track of their earnings. The other option is to simply split the proceeds evenly between all families involved.

A garage sale can be lucrative if enough planning and preparation is put into them. Follow these key steps and the garage sale will be a success.

Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Brock Cooper Brock Cooper is a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com. 

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