Maybe your garage is getting too full to park your car in. Maybe you keep seeing clutter all over your home. Or maybe you are just needing some extra cash. There are definite benefits to having a garage sale. But it’s also time consuming and does take away from family time on the weekends.
Here are some tips from a seasoned garage sale pro on having an awesome garage sale:
First, start gathering items you no longer want but are in good working condition. It would be a great idea – but not required – to wash clothes, iron items, wipe down toys, and clean small kitchen appliances. Be sure to examine items for wear. If they are missing pieces, need cords, and if you know where your manuals are for items, dig them out to accompany the items you want to sell.
The “best” times to have a garage is just after the 1st & 15th of the month. For the most part, people get their pay checks on the 1st & 15th and have money available to spend.
Also, having your garage during good weather ensures people are going to leave their homes and go out garage sale-ing, or go out for donuts and stop by your garage sale on the way back home. If it is too cold/wet/miserable out, the chances are lower for the average person to want to go out of their home. I know when it’s cold out, I want to stay snuggled under blankets with hot tea or coffee. Same goes for when it’s too hot out.
During summer months it would be a good idea to start earlier say 6am instead of 7am to catch people out grocery shopping or running errands before the heat gets unbearable. Once it’s too warm out, not many people will get out of their vehicles and will just drive by very slowly or even shouting out to you asking if you have this or that.
Immediately after picking a date to do your garage sale, call the pick-up charity of your choice and choose a pick-up date as close to your garage sale. If you are only doing a Saturday garage sale, have the pick-up be Saturday afternoon, Sunday, or Monday. This will eliminate the possibility of items going back into your home or not knowing what to do with the garage sale left-overs. This is also a nice way to benefit a needy organization whose work you’d like to support.
Once you have your items gathered and a date picked, you want to make signs. There are some small “garage sale” signs you can purchase at most 99 Cent stores. I buy large foam or poster board from the 99 Cent store and just put GARAGE SALE —> (or “<—” depending on the direction). Keep it at minimal information because when you are driving by you won’t see any of the other words like toys, or tools, or clothes etc.
Keep it BOLD, and simple. If you live in a confusing apartment complex consider putting the signs outside the complex and using just arrows or balloons tied to trees/street lamps to have people follow to find your garage sale.
Post about it online. Craiglist has a “garage sale” section within the “for sale” section. Facebook marketplace, Nextdoor, and other social media outlets are free and there is where you want to use as many key words as you can think of.
Be sure to put the times of your garage sale (7am to 1pm) plus your location & cross streets. You can put a contact phone in case people get lost (it happens still even with GPS apps) or if someone wants to ask if you have a specific item, like do you have baby clothing for girls 0-3 months.
Enlist your family members or friends or at least five people to come and help the morning of your sale. This will help you on so many levels.
First, it will eliminate the possibility of theft: if one person distracts you the other person helps themselves to something in your garage or home. (By the way, lock your front door or garage door to keep people from walking inside and stealing while you are busy. Some people will put everything in their driveway and then put down their garage door, so no one wanders inside and asks how much to a family heirloom.
Having more than one person helps guard certain items, will provide a watcher while you use the restroom, count out change, minimize other distractions etc. Having friends around to help is also great to watch your kids or grab food, and makes the morning fly by because you are talking to each other as well.
You can get change the day/night before, but most people use money apps and have credit card swipers for their phones. The old excuse of only having $5 or needing to run to the ATM for more cash is out dated. When people make a comment about either one, you can tell them you accept money via Venmo/Paypal or credit card.
Pro Tip: If the person says they only have a $20, show them other items to help them spend more money so you don’t have to give them change!
Be ready to barter, or for people to make you an offer for your item. If something is a high ticket item like $50+ I move that closer to me in the back of my garage, so I can make sure it doesn’t get taken. I also alert my friends of my high ticket items and what is the lowest I will go down on it. That is in case I’m unavailable and someone asks them how much for it.
If you have a lot of kids items/clothes, the fill-a-bag method works well. Using small grocery-sized bags, put them next to the pile of clothes. When I’m asked how much, I say it’s fill-the-bag for $5/$10/$20 depending on the value of items. Sometimes they just want 1-3 items separately and then it’s $1 each or 2/$5.
People are looking for deals, so even if it is “Brand New” don’t expect to get full retail for it. I personally don’t go lower than $0.50 cents on anything, if someone offers me a dime, or a nickel. I just give it away for free.
Put on music. It helps time to pass quickly during the slow periods.
Don’t waste your time putting things in to neat piles. If you have a lot of clothes, I have put all boy clothes on one 4 ft table, and all girls on another separate 4 ft table. If you don’t have tables, blankets/sheets on the ground work just as well.
Don’t waste time putting price tags on everything. The wind will come and blow them off, or people will switch tags on items, and your friends won’t know the difference.
From time to time I’ve seen people have a $5/$10/$20 table and everything on each table is that price. However, some dishonest people will switch a $20 item to the $5 table and then ask how much, or tell you it came from the $5 table. So that is another reason to barter with people. Start out at $20 and go down to $12 or even $7 depending on your bartering skills.
The garage sale is over, now what?
Do not put the items back in your home or garage. If you have a charity coming to pick up, put the items on the curb for the pick up. Many people will stop by and take your items. You can even post a “curb alert” once your sale is done on the same sites that you posted about the garage sale. Or you can load up your vehicle and donate them yourself, but be sure to do this the same day as the garage sale.
Write down what you are donating for your tax write-off receipt. If you need help figuring out your item values, you can use these donate value guides provided by Goodwill and Salvation Army for your items values: https://goodwillnne.org/donate/donation-value-guide/ or https://salvationarmysouth.org/valueguide-htm/.
We hope this advice helps you have an awesome garage sale! Have you had a successful garage sale before? Let us know in the comments section below if there’s any tips that we missed.