I am so excited it is garage sale season. I like looking at what people are selling because it is a glimpse into their lives. But mostly I like going to garage sales because I love the idea that you can find something amazing for almost nothing. Hosting a garage sale is not as fun, but if you prepare ahead of time it is an easy way to make a few hundred bucks.
1. Display is key. Cleanliness REALLY helps sales. A damp rag removes dust and dirt quickly. Presentation is key. Put everything on tables and benches so people did not have to get down on the ground to look at items. Back up option is to display items on blankets or in buckets. Clothes have a much better chance of selling if they are hung up. ?
2. Don’t sell crap. Shoppers driving-by will get turned off if they see dirty, broken, or extremely low-quality items. Also, the vast majority of clothes don’t sell so keep your expectations in check.
3. Price your items right. Bigger items that are clean and in top condition can go for as much as 50% of what you paid for them. If they are worn or damaged, reduce the price even more.
4. Make the price obvious. People may be too shy to ask or think you are ripping them off if you are not upfront about your prices. Put stickers/tags on each item. In the past I recommended pricing by category (i.e. $1 pile, $2 pile) but with this system you either have to remember what category each item was in, rely on the honesty of the buyer to tell you, or keep a master list of everything.
5. Be friendly but not in-your-face. I like to greet each person and find a simple hello opens the door to conversation about prices and specific items.
6. Be willing to negotiate. Many, many, many folks go to garage sales for the thrill of negotiating a deal. I’m not saying you should artificially inflate your prices, but keep in mind shaving off a dollar or two can make a sale. I accept most prices suggested by customers as people often have a set price they are willing to pay. As soon as traffic starts dying down, roughly two to three hours after the start time, cut prices significantly. Wouldnï¿½t you rather make a buck or two off an old pair of shoes than drag them to Goodwill?
7. Drop prices early. If not a single customer has shown interest in an item during the first hour of the sale, when you will get the most traffic, cut the price. Don’t wait for someone who is willing to haggle. They may never show up!
8. Publicity will make or break your sale. The morning before, post your sale on Craigslist. In the post list with prices your top items, any hot brands you are selling, unusual items, and mention if you have a free pile. The more detailed you are, the better the chance someone looking for these items will find you. If you have enough free items, post them on Freecycle.org (free membership required to post).
The night before your sale make 5-10 signs. I like to write in bold letters ï¿½SALEï¿½ with an arrow pointing to my yard on manilla folders. In smaller letters I write the date and start time. The address is usually irrelevant because yard sales are a visual magnet.
9. Get started early. The morning of the sale haul your stuff out while keeping your items grouped by price, which makes it easy for customers to assess what you have. Be prepared for aggressive ï¿½early birdsï¿½ who will want to wheel and deal before you have finished dragging everything else out. Do you want to make sales while still laying out your stuff? Decide ahead of time.
Good luck and have fun!