Throw a Successful Garage Sale

The start of summer is the perfect time to tackle a large organizing project, and garage sales are one of my favorite ways to SHED in the summer; they are a great excuse to enjoy to weather, get to know your community all the while making money!

Start with de-cluttering your home. Go room-by-room and create an inventory of  items that are in good condition and should not be recycled/trashed. Think of a need, treat or experience that this money will go towards to help serve as inspiration and make the experience even more rewarding.

Once you've decided what you're selling, you can dive in using my tips (and supply list!) to make your garage sale smooth and a success!

    Prep:

    1. Clean items up, so that they look well taken care of
    2. Sort and plan how you will group/display the next day
    3. Go through clothing pockets, handbags, etc. to make sure there are no credit card receipts or personal information you are selling off with the items
    4. Price items:
      • Nearly new condition = 2/3 of original price
      • Average condition = 1/3 of original price.
      • For small items, instead of pricing individually, make poster board signs like “Every item on table = $1” or "Books = .25/each, 5 for $1." Clothes, books, and outdated trendy items don’t sell for much.
    5. Place price tags visibly on all items (For large furniture items, place large tag/card describing item, its' condition and possibly a picture of it from a catalog with the original price circled if it's a popular item.)
    6. Mark sets: “4 Glasses in a set,” so just one or two is not sold by mistake.
    7. Put up signs the night before with arrows pointing to the sale. Avoid stapling to trees or utility poles. The stem of street signs should be fine.
    8. Consider if you want to use any digital payment services, like Venmo or PayPal, to increase the likelihood of purchases. There are of course benefits to being cash-only, but you may want to consider this if you have any very large ticket items and are in a location inconvenient to a bank/ATM. If so, set-up your account and test it prior to the sale day.

    Morning of Sale:

    1. Display your items for marketing: Put the most interesting items near the street, to entice drivers to stop.
    2. Display your items for ease: Arrange books, records, DVD’s, etc. with titles visible.
    3. Keep most valuable items near you.
    4. Cover up what you don’t want sold, either with a sheet or a tarp, or rope it off.
    5. Make sure your doors and windows are locked; don’t allow people into the house to use the bathroom or try on clothes.
    6. Situate the payment tables near the entrance, to prevent theft. 

    During Sale:

    1. Play music to create a festive atmosphere; if you don't know what to play, look at Spotify's popular playlists. Offer food if you want to create even more good vibes!
    2. Handle cash efficiently: If someone hands you a large bill, leave it out on table while you are making change — prevents confusion over how large a bill they gave you.
    3. If you are accepting digital payments, ensure that the payment goes through before completing the sale. Do not take checks, unless willing to risk it bouncing.
    4. Negotiate strategically: Pre-plan how low you will go, especially for big ticket items. But don’t go down too early in the day on these big ticket items, have the person come back later to see if it hasn’t sold yet. When unsure of a negotiation, ask yourself: “Do I want to put it back in the house?”
    5. Replenish and consolidate display tables throughout the day so you don't appear down to the leftovers.

    After Sale:

    1. Box up leftovers right away and donate to a charity, so that the items don't go back to creating clutter in your home.
    2. Take down signs.

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    Supply List:

    • Boxes and grocery bags to pack up sold items. Packing paper for fragile items
    • 2 fanny packs for the money handlers
    • 2 small notepads and pens (if buyers request receipts or information about the sold article)
    • An extension cord to test any electric equipment that is being sold
    • Mirror, if selling clothes or jewelry
    • Sandwich bags if she is selling any jewelry, for bagging
    • STARTING MONEY: $50 in singles ($25 in change if there are items < $1)
    • Pricing labels and tie-on tags for items that the pricing labels won't adhere to
    • Sharpies for labeling
    • Fat Markers for street signs
    • Poster board and yard sticks for signs around the neighborhood
    • Tables and table clothes for display