29 secrets for holding a successful garage sale
Are you ready to stop hoarding all that stuff around your house and turn it into cash? Then you’re ready for a yard sale!
Here are top tips that can make yours the most successful garage sale ever. Get ready to reduce clutter and make hundreds of dollars in just one weekend.
Yard sale magic! Map out a plan for success
- Hold your sale with friends or family members. This will make the time go faster and can make it more fun.
- Participate in a community or neighborhood yard sale. When there’s more stuff to sell, more potential buyers show up. Some churches even sponsor sales. This is a safe environment if you’re afraid of having people come to your house.
- Time your sale just right. Avoid holding it on a holiday weekend, when most people have other plans.
It’s time to blow your own horn
- Check whether your neighborhood has restrictions on signs before you make or buy them.
- Post at least 15 sturdy, easy-to-read signs with arrows guiding people to your sale. Start posting at major routes nearby, and work toward your sale location. Use waterproof ink, or cover with clear packing tape. To test the first sign, post it at a major route, and try to read it as you drive by.
- Advertise in local newspapers.
- Don’t pass up opportunities for free ads. Put up flyers on local bulletin boards at the grocery store or your church.
- Advertise online at Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, GarageSaleHunter.com, or TagSellIt.com. Include categories of items you’ll be selling in every ad.
- As a bonus, when you advertise on Craigslist, your ad automatically appears on an app called Yard Sale Treasure Map. Here, shoppers can get driving directions to your sale.
Get the most money for your stuff
- Put prices on everything, and make sure they are clear. Do not overprice.
- For items you price at $5 or more, check Amazon for the selling price of a similar new or used item. Print that Web page, and post it next to the price tag on your item. People may pay an amount closer to your asking price when they see this.
- Write “make an offer” on the price tags of some of your less expensive items. Customers may be willing to pay more than you expect. Just have an idea of your bottom price beforehand.
- Need help setting your prices? Check eBay, Craigslist, other local yard sales, thrift markets, and online price guides from The Salvation Army and Goodwill.
Max out your yard sale profits
- Lure people in by displaying more interesting items at the end of your driveway.
- Show off clothing on racks, and organize other items on tables or bookshelves so they’re visible and easy to reach. Borrow shelves, tables, baskets, and racks if you don’t have them.
- To make products more tempting, dust, polish, or clean them.
- Have extension cords and batteries handy to test electronics.
- Keep browsers shopping by playing fun background music. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to buy something.
- Have newspapers ready to wrap breakables and provide bags or boxes for toting bargains home.
- Remember your goal is to sell, sell, sell. Provide good customer service and be friendly.
Handle money like a pro
- Don’t lose a sale because you can’t make change. Arrange to have $50 in $1 and $5 bills, $5 in quarters, and another $50 in other coins and bills.
- Keep your money secure by storing both your change and your proceeds in a fanny pack or apron you wear — not in a money box.
- When making change, leave the customers’ bills out until after you give them their change so they can’t claim they gave you a larger bill — $20 instead of $10, for instance.
- If you have a smartphone, visit Square Reader (https://squareup.com/reader) to get a free credit card reader so you can accept credit cards at your sale. While this convenience could add a lot to your profits, be aware you’ll pay 2.75% per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Reduce clutter and turn it into cash
- Thoroughly scour your house for possible merchandise. This will ensure you have enough to tempt people to your sale. For example, you can even sell broken items, if you label them as broken and they are safe. Some people buy products for their parts.
- Go ahead and offer houseplants, seedlings, lemonade, baked goods, crafts, and leftover fabric.
- Afraid you’ll have items left over after a yard sale? Don’t haul them back inside. Salvage profits from these by having signs ready that say, “Everything 50% off!” Don’t post them until the last few hours of your sale. This can help move items customers may have previously ignored.
- For a more targeted strategy, make signs that say, “Everything on this table 50% off,” and move individual items to that table, as needed. Write discounts such as “25% off” or “50% off” on brightly colored adhesive labels, but keep them hidden until the late hours of the sale. Slap the labels on individual items for an instant markdown.
- A “free” box helps you get rid of stuff you don’t want but are unlikely to sell.
Final words of wisdom. Watch out for eager beavers. No matter what time your sale officially begins, some bargain hunters will show up earlier. So be prepared. And examine pockets and interiors of your merchandise for personal items hiding inside. You’d hate to accidentally “sell” a family heirloom or important document.
- FC&A Staff Writer