Tips For A Successful Garage Sale

Garage Sale Tips


The stressful moving process still provides people a great opportunity to reduce their clutter. Most commonly, people have a “moving sale”, most often called a “garage sale” or a “yard sale”, where they take all their superfluous goods into the front of their home and hawk them out to anyone who chooses to come by and take a look at the wares. In the age of the web, the moving sale game has changed a bit. There are more ways to get the word out and otherwise optimize the moving sale process. To run a successful moving sale, yard sale, or garage sale, and get those extra things out of your hands faster, follow the advice of these experienced yard sellers.



The moving process is already very time-consuming; adding another step (your garage sale) on top of all that can multiply the stress. Before moving, people should ask themselves how much stuff they will actually want to get rid of, and how much of that stuff they can get worthwhile value for. If the list of items to sell ends up being smaller than expected, customers can more efficiently dispose of certain items by dealing with them individually. For example, individual furniture pieces can be sold on resale sites like AptDeco, electronics and media can be sold on marketplaces like Amazon (even in bulk), and pretty much anything can be listed on Craigslist or eBay.

Alternatively, some may want to nix the selling to begin with and simply donate their items. There’s plenty of ways to donate clothes, furniture, and other commonly overstocked items in homes, like or the local thrift shop. People should know what they want to do with their items before they start their sale. Do they want to find them a new home, do they want to make a few bucks, or is the answer somewhere in between?



In order to have a moving sale, you have to have someone to sell to. Getting the word out about your sale is the most important part. Gone are the days where a flyer stapled to a telephone pole or a yard sign were enough to bring people in (though you should still try these tactics!) “The serious garage sale shoppers will plan their route by dialing up Craigslist and mapping out all of the sales in their area... Craigslist is your best form of marketing.” says Mike Glanz, CEO ofHireaHelper. It’s best to know where people who want to go to a garage sale are going to be looking for them; craigslist is one such place. Social media offers another opportunity to get the word out about your garage sale. A simple Facebook status can attract the attention of the whole neighborhood. There are bound to be plenty of localized community groups on social media where you can promote your sale as well.  

There are still good offline ways to promote your sale. “Advertise the sale in your local newspaper.  Write a very specific ad so that people know exactly what kinds of merchandise you are selling, especially if you have unique items.” says Janet Ruth Heller, who has helped a lot of her friends with moving sales and coordinated a large rummage sale for her Michigan place of worship for years. Heller also recommends flyering at community places you’d go anyway, like the YMCA or your child’s school.

Keep in mind the accessibility of your sale when considering its promotion. “If possible, hold your sale all day to maximize possible customers.” says Carrie Aulenbacher, a self-proclaimed ‘lifelong garage sale shopper.’ “Some of your best sales might come from early birds who are out by 7am or stopping after 3pm.” Garage sales would seemingly be frequented by people who work odd hours, so flexibility is often helpful.


How to set up a garage sale



The selling doesn’t do itself; a successful moving sale must be handled tactically. A confusing and disillusioning shopping experience can turn off many customers. For one, the prices of your items should be apparent to the shoppers. Grab some small stickers or tags (or go out and buy some if you want the sale to look legit). Aulenbacher tells us that everything should have a price - you can do the bargaining later. Make sure to research your items if you’re not sure how much you should be asking for - a simple google shopping search can show how much new items go for, and you can use that knowledge as a bargaining chip.

To keep buyers interested, you can use common tactics in actual stores: have some music playing (especially good if you’re selling old records) and provide refreshments, says Jaime Novak of Novak Organizing in northern New Jersey. Your sale can be organized in the same way a storefront is, too; alike items should be placed together (ie all clothes should be in one area, tools/hardware in another, etc.)  Especially enticing items should be prominently placed to stimulate patrons’ interest; don’t give people the idea you are just hawking junk. Novak even recommends placing masculine items strategically - “think golf clubs, workout gear and power tools. If you can catch the husband’s eye, he’ll be more likely to stop and browse, giving his wife more time to shop.”

At the end of the day, these goods are being moved, so they should be priced that way. “The objective is to get this stuff out of here.” Aulenbacher says.  “Price it to move.  Don't carry on to the customer about how much you spent on it.” The bigger the item, the more space it will take up in your truck, costing you even more money. Keep that in mind when cutting a deal. Most of the time, garage sale shoppers are looking for a bargain; they won’t want to pay market value for an item.
If your customers are still on the fence, you can incentivize them by offering freebies for purchasers. “Everyone loves to get something for free” says Nowak, who recommends having a whole table prominently marked “free with purchase”. Some smaller items not worth marking for their miniscule actual price could fit well on this table.


Having a Garage sale


A garage sale can have unintended consequences if its purveyors are not careful. You are inviting scores of strangers to your home and placing many of your belongings out in the open. This can be a dangerous mix. Aulenbacher’s advice is to do the sale with a group. “Always have at least one or two other people with you on sale day.” This could be friends, family, or whoever wants to help. “This keeps one eye on the merchandise, one eye on the cash box, one eye on the door to your house/apartment.” If you plan carefully you can help prevent incidents before they happen. “Always keep yourself set up between your merchandise and the door to your house/apartment, so people don’t walk into your home.” If possible, blockade any areas where strangers are not supposed to go. You should keep an eagle eye in particular on small valuables at your sale.



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