A chair in front of a garage sale.

Garage Sale Tips

Garage sales can make you a nice chunk of change and help you drastically declutter your home. If you want to have a successful sale, there are some things that you need to do. You can not simply move all of your junk to the front yard and expect it to all come together. If you want to make the most money, here are some things that you need to do.

1. You Need Signs & Lots Of Them

You have got to get people to the sale. This is an area where most people fail. If you simply put up your sale without any signage, you are severely limiting your profit potential. Sure, you might get some drive by traffic but it will be limited.

Luckily poster board is cheap so you can make dozens of signs for just a few dollars. If you have kids, this is a great activity for them. Kids love poster board, its a fact, look it up.

Place your signs at the entrances of your subdivision or neighborhood to attract some major traffic. After you do this though, you need to take it a step further. You have them in your neighborhood, don’t assume that they are going to find your house. You need directional signs that will show them where to turn. Put enough signs out that you can take them right to your door.

Tip: To avoid annoying your neighbors, be sure to pick up all the signs when your sale is done. 

2. Advertise Online

Craigslist is an awesome place to advertise and it is completely free. List your sale and also list all of your big ticket items. Things like washers and dryers and living room furniture will drive a lot of traffic to your sale.

If you are into Facebook, you can also mention that you will be having a sale there. Perhaps even invite friends to bring their stuff to sell also. The bigger the sale, the more attention you will get and the easier it will be to get the money that you need.

3. Be Realistic

You want to get the most money for your old things but you have to think like the bargain shoppers that you are attracting. Some people will negotiate but others might just see your high prices and not bother. Remove all of the attachment that you have to your old property and price it like you want it out of there. After all, you do. Think about where this stuff is going if it does not sell. Probably the trash can. Price it accordingly.

Also, do not be offended by people wanting to negotiate. It is going to happen. Haggling is part of the fun for garage sale shoppers. One great tactic to move more stuff is to offer deals only if they buy more stuff. If they want to negotiate the price of a book, offer to cut the price of a second one in half if they buy two.

4. Take Cash And Credit

First, you should have plenty of cash on hand to deal with cash customers. Most customers will carry cash but will probably not have exact change. Make sure that you have plenty of singles, fives and tens so that you can break twenties. If you can not break a bill, you might lose a sale. Also, do not accept a hundred dollar bill unless you invest in a pen to check for counterfeit bills.

If you really want to make the most of your sale, consider taking credit. Cant fathom this? It really is not that hard these days. Check out square. They can let you accept credit cards and will even send you a free reader. You just download their app to your smart phone, insert the reader and you are all set. Just be sure to check identification with credit cards at a garage sale.

5. Organize Your Sale Strategically

You want the end demand items at the back. Think about how stores place items, nothing is by accident. Why do you think milk is always at the back of a grocery store? They want you to have to walk through the entire store to get to it, just like you want your visitors to walk through your entire sale. It increases the chances of you selling more stuff.

Also, be sure to include some sort of bargain bin. You can make every item a quarter. It gives you a way to get rid of all those little items and people who like garage sales love a bargain.

6. Be Ready To Slash Prices

The last thing that you want to do is drag all of this stuff back in. As the day goes on, if you see things are not selling, be prepared to cut the price. It is very possible that you value something higher than everybody else, even if you are trying to sell it.

Also, at the end of the day, be prepared for a going out of business sale. Slash prices as low as you possibly can. Act as if the next step for your stuff is the donation bin or the trash can. This is probably the truth anyway.

7. Show People Your Stuff Works

If you are selling a refrigerator, have it plugged in. If you are selling electronics, have power nearby so that people can test it out. It is a huge risk buying anything that uses electricity without testing it. If you can show it all works, it will sell faster and for more money.

8. Label Your Items

Make sure that everything is clearly labeled. Those little round colored stickers are cheap and easy to read. Try to leave a little room on the sticker for last minute price drops. If you are having a multi family sale, use a different color for each family so that you can keep money divided correctly.

9. Check The Rules

If you live in an HOA, make sure that garage sales are allowed. They may be restricted to once every six months or something similar,  or they might not be allowed at all. If they are allowed, make sure there are not any specific rules that you need to follow.

If your HOA allows for a sale or you have no HOA, also check the city. Some cities will restrict garage sales and possibly require that you obtain a permit.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.