It must be some kind of law of nature that we all acquire an excess of stuff over time. Perhaps it’s not really a coincidence that the word “garage,” where many of us keep our extra things, is only one letter removed from “garbage.” Still, they say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and a great way to profit from helping your fellow man find treasure is to have a garage sale. If you’ve never had one before, or your last one was a complete disaster, we’re here to help with these five tips to make your next garage sale a smashing success!
Many things in this life can be improvised. A garage sale is not one of them, at least not if you want it to result in the blissful nirvana of a life free of clutter and a wad of cash in your pocket. Thankfully, you’ve already googled ‘how to put on a garage sale’ and found this post, so you’ve already nailed step one! Great job!
Next, you’ll need to go through your hoard and identify which items you’d like to sell. Remember: no one’s going to want your silk Batman boxers, no matter how gently they’ve been used. You’ll also need to pick a good date and time. A Saturday or Sunday is usually best, but keep on the lookout for conflicting local events that might keep people from experiencing what will surely be the Sale Of The Century.
Get The Word Out
You might think that putting a sign up in your front yard is all the advertising you need for a garage sale. A few strategically placed signs are of course a great idea, but that’s really the bare minimum. If you want to sell more than the bare minimum, you’ll also need to meet bargain hunters where they’re at: namely, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You can also take out an ad in your local newspaper, if you’re feeling old school.
Make sure your ad includes all the relevant details, like where and when the sale will be, and any especially attractive items you’ll be offering. Great photos of these items will also help bring the people in. Just make sure the pics are in focus!
Prepare The Goods
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to sell, it’s time to get everything ready. That means scrubbing things down (if necessary), mending any damaged items, and gathering everything up in one place. Stooping over and shopping go together as well as strawberries and used motor oil, so you’ll want to set up your sale items at eye level, preferably on tables.
It’s also a great idea to hang your clothing on a rack so your guests can peruse items like they’re in a fancy boutique. Kids items, like toys, can be put at kid-level, like on a blanket or tarp on the ground. Whatever you do, just make sure everything is organized and easy to browse.
Price To Sell
Even if you think that your signed portrait of Danny DeVito is worth hundreds, don’t forget the reason you’re having this garage sale: to get rid of stuff. A good rule of thumb is to price items at about 10-20% of their original value. Make sure every single item is labeled with its price. Some people can be so shy they’d rather walk than ask you for the price of an item. You want to make sure those delicate flowers have no excuse to leave without buying the vintage Halloween decor that caught their eye.
Last but not least, don’t forget that people expect to be able to engage in the time-honored American tradition of haggling at garage sales, so get ready to start high and be prepared to come down.
Be Ready For The Crowd
On the big day, make sure you’re prepared for the hordes of people who will descend upon your garage sale like a swarm of locusts. People like to pay with cash at garage sales, so make sure you have enough change on hand. About $100-150, stored in a snazzy fanny pack for fewer trips for change, should do the trick (unless you’re selling that fanny pack). If you have a Venmo or Cash App account, make your username visible so it’s easy for customers to find you. It also doesn’t hurt to set up a refreshment stand and put on some chill tunes to set a vibe.
Most importantly, have fun, and remember: whatever you don’t sell, you can always give away to those in need.
Written by Jon Becker