June 7, 2011

How to Have a Garage Sale

You can have a garage sale, yes - you. Yep, uh-huh - over there, I'm talking to you. Yes, it's a lot of work. I realize you have to price everything, go through your home and make decisions, and {my favorite} sit around and watch strangers pick through your stuff. But you can do it. Buck up. It's good for you {and good for your home}.

I love to have garage sales. People who don't really know me in our little ol' town probably know of  me just because I have ads in the paper so often for garage sales - typically twice a summer. Yeah, I know - two sales in one summer seems like a lot. But I'm kind of the Garage Sale Queen; my house is the hub for friends and family members who want to sell their stuff. Therefore, my ad always reads: "Multi-Family Garage Sale." I enjoy it. And guess what, people? Having a garage sale is fun and it's great for your pocketbook. Here's how to do it.

1. Shop Your House.
Having a garage sale is great therapy, a walk down memory lane as you dig into your stuff. I don't know about you, but I can still remember what a great time I had when I wore that blue blouse to that BBQ two summers ago. Great, but does it still fit well, and would I buy it again? I thought I loved that scarf and those shoes at the end of last summer when they were on clearance....maybe I don't.

Garage sales aren't just about cleaning out your closets. Take a stroll through your home and take note of what you see. Artwork, frames, vases, knickknacks - do you love it all? If you don't love something and it holds no sentimental value, grab it for your sale.

Rummage through your cupboards. Have you used that George Foreman Family Size Grill like you thought you would? Do you really need two waffle makers? {No, you are not going to take that second one to the cabin. Stop lying to yourself.} Do you have to have three sets of glassware? I doubt it.

2. Clean Your Stuff.
No one wants your dirty stuff. Clean it. Your Walkman works? Prove it. Put new batteries in it. Did you keep the manual for something? Put it with the item; people like that. If something is stained or damaged beyond repair, toss it.

3. Price Your Stuff.
Pricing, for me, is the most difficult part of getting ready for a garage sale. Prices are tricky; they have to be just right and may vary by region of the country. You don't want to price things below their value, but price them too high and people may turn and walk right away. I recently had a garage sale with my good friend, Laura. We spent many nights in my garage pricing items, and this is how our conversations went:

Me: "What should I price this?"
Laura: "Two dollars."
Laura: "I don't know.... What were you thinking?"
Me: "I don't know.... One dollar?"
Laura: "Okay. $1.50."
Me: "Okay. $1.50."

Seriously, we had that conversation 247 times.

4. Organize Your Stuff.
Place like items together. Clothing in one area and divided by size and gender, books in another. Laura and I had so much stuff the last time we had a garage sale that we had the garage divided like Target; there was a department for everything: clothing, shoes, books, games, toys, household decor, electronics, sporting equipment, kitchen appliances, etc. People like to find what they're looking for quickly. I've walked into garage sales with all of the clothing heaped in one mound on a table. I walked away; I wasn't in the mood to sort through that much stuff all the while hoping I didn't pull out an item that caused the mountain to crumble.

5. Advertise, Advertise, Advertise.
Did you hear me, people? Advertise. No one's going to buy your stuff if they don't know about your sale. Run an ad in your LOCAL NEWSPAPERS. Put a post on CRAIGSLIST {Free!}. Make bright and bold and sturdy SIGNS that won't get ruined in the rain and place them near major roads and intersections. TELL PEOPLE you're having a garage sale; word of mouth works wonderfully. I once knew someone who knew someone who was selling something I had to have. I bought it. Are you on FACEBOOK? Make a photo album on your Facebook page with the details of your garage sale and pictures of the big ticket items you're selling.

6. Be Money Prepared.
Have a container to keep your change and earnings in. A plastic Tupperware container works fine, so does your kids' pretend cash register. A couple days before the sale, go the the bank and get change to start your sale: tens, fives, lots of ones, and a roll of quarters. I always start with $50 in change and have found that to be just right.

7. Keep Track of Your Profit
I keep a notebook with separate pages for each person selling stuff. Each person also has their stickers color-coded so they get their due money.

8. Have a Free Box 
My Free Box typically contains diaper covers that come with all those adorable little girl dresses, items that may be missing a mate or a part that someone might still find useful, and Beanie Babies {because they left the house back in the Purge of 2004 and are not coming back}.

9. Get Comfy
Have a sturdy table and chairs for sitting at when you're not folding, hanging, and helping customers. Keep a watchful eye on your cash box. Have your phone handy and keep a stash of snacks at arm's length. You'll thank me when you get hungry but can't run into the house. Have a husband who will bring you Subway for lunch. Find some good selling partners; two people make a garage sale run much better than one. Plus, you'll have someone to talk to when there's a lull in the action.

10. Don't Get Crabby
Not everyone is going to love your stuff. You don't anymore; that's why you're selling it. Don't get offended if someone leaves without buying something. Also, people like to barter at garage sales. Think ahead of time about the lowest price you're willing to take for your items. You're asking $15 for that lamp? How badly do you want to sell it? Would you rather store it until your next garage sale or take $12 for it?

See, not so bad. Do it.


  1. So glad I found this, as I'm having a garage sale in 2 weeks!!!! Very informative!

  2. Good luck with your garage sale!! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...