Garage Sale Tips .

From a selling and buying perspective.

garage sale sign


Choose a day and time to start your garage sale. Decide if you want to go solo with your sale or recruit other families in your neighborhood. Many times a neighborhood sale will draw more people. Avoid holiday weekends, unless you know there is increased traffic in your area. Be prepared for early birds. You may want to consider stating in your ad whether you accept early birds or not.

Choose what you want to sell. You should try to have a big variety of items. Many collectors and dealers frequent garage sales, so don't be afraid to include one of a kind type items. (Ex: one single glass or one individual dish)

Displaying your items can make the difference in sales. Neat displays and groupings are recommended. Be certain all your items are clean and dust free. Long narrow portable tables work great too. Every item should be priced and easy to read. I recommend using easy to remove price tags. There is nothing more disappointing than finding an item you would like to purchase at a sale and the seller has added the price directly on the item in black marker.

Display some good merchandise towards the road. Items such as men's things like tools, lawn equipment, weights, electronics etc are good to encourage the men to stop when the wife may want to stop as they are driving by. Also, add some good stuff visible from roadside. It needs to look worthy of stopping. I know when I drive by a sale and peek from the car, if it looks like a pile of clothes or junk from the road, I won't even bother stopping.

Be sure to place breakables towards the back of tables or higher for protection against breakage. You need to think about parents that bring children with them.

Adult clothing can be tough to sell. You should arrange them neatly and according to size. You can also try a "filling a bag for $1.00" to get rid of them faster. You can also try box lots. This box for $5.00 or everything on this table $1.00. You can also try grab bags of small toys.

It is sometimes beneficial to have current ads of items and what they cost new. This can serve as a comparison to how good your deal is for the buyer. If you don't have an ad, a simple index card stating retail value is a good addition.

You need to advertise your sale. Be sure to check your area's ordinances. You may be required to obtain a permit for your garage sale. You can advertise your sale in community papers, signs, local newspaper, Laundromats, and grocery stores, etc. Adding balloons at your house is a colorful way to show where your sale is located. Your garage sale sign should have arrows. If you live on a side street, a few signs leading to your sale is helpful. Remember to take your signs down after your sale. The best day to post your ad is Thursday, for a Fri-Sun garage sale or previous weekend for upcoming weekend sale. Adding balloons at your house is a colorful way to show where your sale is located.

Be sure to have lots of change for your sale. Don't forget lots of coins, dollars, and a calculator. Also, think of how to wrap things. (Like newspaper for breakables, couple spare boxes, and grocery bags) If you don't have a portable cash box, a fanny pack is a good way to keep money safe. Have receipt book for those who request a receipt.

Don't accept any checks. That is too much of a risk.

Be sure to have an electrical source. This is for people to test any electrical items you have for sale. Maybe consider having these items plugged in already.
Pricing can be set at about 1/3 the retail brand new cost to you. Obviously, some items will not yield 1/3, such as clothes or books.

Be prepared to haggle, so set your prices accordingly. Don't allow anyone to intimidate you. Be firm and don't reply in an uneasy or uncertain tone. If they ask you for something for a quarter and it's clearly worth more than that, just say nicely my price is firm on that item, I feel it is worth what I am charging or counter offer them and say I am willing to accept this for it.

Don't be a high-pressure salesperson. Give your buyers some freedom to look items over, but be ready to answer questions if they ask.

Plan some activities. This will make the time go by for you nicely. Consider a good book and some nice music.

Consider selling some refreshments. Many people are going from sale to sale and it gets hot. I have been to several block sales where neighbors have had even hotdogs and chips.

garage sale

Be sure to have a notice that all sales are final. This will protect you later.

Do not have your pet with you during your sale. Many people are pet phobic or allergic.

Buyers tips:

Bring lots of change.
Go early for the best items. Go on last day of sale for cheap items.
Look over items for chips.
Bring a map.
Bring refreshments in case it gets hot.
Don't be shy to haggle.

If there are items that you are looking for, don't forget to mention it; the owner may just have something else they are willing to sell.

Be polite. Don't push, shove, or block tables. (This may seem funny, but I have been to many sales where dealers and collectors have been ruthless)

Avoid impulse buying. Don't buy because you think it may be valuable. Buy items you really like to avoid disappointments.

Remember to enjoy yourself and have fun.

Garage Sale Tips