Books at a garage sale.

Throwing A Successful Garage Sale

There is more to throwing a successful garage sale than you might think. If you want to make maximum money with your garage or yard sale, I have some proven tips that will help.

If you want to have a successful sale, you have to do more than just throw all of your junk in the driveway. Here is how I pull of a successful, money making garage sale.

Garage sale success infographic.

1) Make Lots & Lots Of Signs

What good is having a garage sale if nobody shows up? Many people throw a garage sale and then make one or two signs and call it a day. Then they sit in their driveway wondering why nobody is pulling up.

You really never can have too many signs. Your signs are your primary form of advertising and you need to use them to direct people to your sale. Sure, you could just list an address, but this means people have to look it up on their phone to get directions. You should count on people being lazy, because they generally are.

Instead of an address, have signs at major intersections and then place additional signs at every turn along the way. Use your signs to direct your potential customers all the way to your yard or driveway. Leave nothing to chance.

Considering how cheap markers and poster-board are, there really is no reason not to go overboard on your signage.

2) Mention Your Sale On Social Media

Social media is free, so why not use it to spread the word about your garage sale. If you are a member of some local groups, write a post with the date of your sale, location and some of the top products you will be selling. Not a member of local groups? Now might be the time to join a few, temporarily of course.

While you are at it, there is no reason not to put a couple free ads on places like Craigslist. All it costs you is a little time and if it brings in just one more customer, it is time well spent.

3) Clean Up The Merchandise

It may be just junk to you, but why treat it that way? If you want people to pay top dollar for your goods, you need to show them that they still have value. Nobody is going to spend time trying to clean something up before they buy it. If it looks like junk, they will treat it that way and walk away. So, give your merchandise a basic cleaning before your sale starts. You don’t need to detail every item, but you might be amazed at what a few hours with a bottle of Windex could do the night before your sale. With the increased value you add to your items, it could be a very financially rewarding way to spend your time.

4) Have Change Ready

You can not count on your customers having exact change, so it will pay to have some ready. Treat your garage sale like a pop up business and be prepared. Go to your bank ahead of time and make sure to pick up a roll of quarters and some dollar bills. You don’t need to have hundreds of dollars in change, but a little bit will help.

Having change on hand will make people more likely to buy and will keep you from having to round your prices down in order to make the sale.

5) Start Early & End Early

Devoted garage sale shoppers are early risers. They know that the best sales are traditionally held in the morning. What that means for you is that you will need to get up early and start your sale at the crack of dawn. Fail to do so and the money might be spent before you get your piece of it. If you are not an early riser, set a few clocks to get you going.

Starting early does have some additional benefits that go beyond profit. The best thing about starting early is that you can also end early. Most garage sale traffic will start fading by noon. That means you will not be stuck out in your yard in the heat of the day and it also means that you will be able to salvage some of your weekend for other activities.

6) Use Common Sense Pricing

I get it, you want money, but people are not coming to a garage sale expecting high prices, they want a deal. Price your items at a reasonable starting price and be willing to haggle, for some of your customers, this will be part of their fun.

Before you stand your ground on a price, think to yourself whether the item really still has value to you and whether or not you want to carry it back into the garage.

Additionally, you should be willing to bundle. If a buyer is interested in three 1 dollar items, selling them for 2 bucks might not be such a bad deal. These items are likely useless to you and taking up space, so try to move them.

7) Go In With Some Other Families

If you do not have enough to sell, your garage sale will likely be a flop. People will drive by and scout the sale and if there are only a few tables, it probably will not be worth them stopping. There are enough other garage sales that they will just move on.

With minimal inventory, your best bet is going to be to go in with another family or two. While this might complicate things a bit, you can keep track of who is selling what by using different colored price tags.

8) Check Local Rules & Regulations

While you might be all excited to throw a garage sale, the city might not share your enthusiasm. Different cities have different rules about when you can throw a garage sale, so be sure to check. Also, make sure that a permit is not required and if it is, make sure you get one. You might be surprised at just how strict your cities code enforcement is, especially if you get a neighbor complaint. A ticket could very well eat up all of the profit and spoil your hard work.

While you are at it, check to be sure that your HOA does not have rules against garage sales. HOA neighborhoods usually limit sales to one or two days of the year which can actually be a good thing. If you plan your sale around these days, traffic will be higher than what you alone could produce.

Summing It All Up

A garage sale is and always will be the classic American way to make some extra money. No, you will not get rich, but with some planning there is no reason that you could not get 500 dollars or more for your trouble. Not bad for a few hours of work and a little planning.

Posted by
James Car

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.