If you are thinking of listing your home in the next year, you may want to take advantage of the spring and summer months to declutter, donate, ditch or sell. We all collect items that we don’t use, wear or even like. If you would like to make a little extra cash before you list your home, then it’s time to start preparing and organizing a garage/yard sale.
What better way to reduce the “stuff” you have collected while earning a few extra dollars. In fact, if you put the effort in now, just think what you won’t have to pack when you are ready to sell your home. No one wants to pack up these rarely, if ever, used items, and move them to their new home.
I have compiled a list of tips and tricks for having a successful yard sale. You don’t even have to be moving to take advantage of these strategies. Having a garage sale takes time, and here’s hoping that these ideas will help you get the best buck for those old treasures.
12 Helpful Garage Sale Tips
- Pick up some good size boxes, small pricing labels, painters tape and a permanent marker. You can buy “Garage Sale” signs at your local discount store, or you can purchase bright Bristol board and make your own.
- Start collecting items room by room. Typically, the basement, garage and storage shed accumulate most of the “do not wants”. Save time by pricing the items as you go. Then once, they are boxed up, make sure you designate an area where the boxes can go.
- Pricing is key to a quick sale. If you really want to get rid of things, price them low. Make sure every item is clearly marked. For bigger items use the painters tape to make larger price tags. The sale can get very busy at times, and having things priced makes it easier for the customer and you. If are not sure what to price something, then you can consider the math I use. If the item is brand new and sealed in the original package, I would typically price it 50-55% of the original cost. If the item has been used a couple of times, I would price it at 25-30%. If the item is well used, then consider 5-10% of the original cost. If you are selling items with minor chips, or scratches make sure to also label them “as is”. Remember, if you don’t want to move it back into your house, lower is better.
- Once you have the items gathered and priced it’s time to consider how you will set-up your garage or yard for the sale. This is the time to consider what tables you have available or can arrange to borrow from neighbours, family and friends. Don’t forget a small table to use as your checkout area. Most of your smaller to medium size items should be on the tables. Yard sale shoppers are not real keen on sorting through boxes.
- A few days before the sale make sure you gather these items: small boxes and plastic bags so items sold can be easily carried, newspaper for wrapping breakables, a money/cash box, writing pads, pens, calculator, extra pricing labels, tape and marker.
- Make a trip to the bank for change. Avid garage sale shoppers often have coins. However, there will be many visitors who buy something for $1-$2.00, and present you with a $20.00. You can never have enough change. You may want to keep some of it safely stored away in the house until you are running low. If you are selling bigger and more costly items you may want to wear a fanny pack for storage of larger bills.
- Get creative with your advertising. Start at least a week in advance. Post your sale on any available online sites that allow you to advertise. Post small signs in grocery stores and coffee shops. Spread the word through your social media contacts. Share photos and details of your sale on Facebook. Ask friends to share it. A day or two before the sale make sure you tweet it! The day before the sale hang your larger signs on a variety of poles. Main intersections with heavier traffic get the most attention.
- Plan the layout and display of your items. Consider these ideas. If you are selling clothes you may want to hang them. If you don’t have a portable clothing rack you may want to set up two ladders with broom handles as poles. If you have trees or outdoor poles you can also create a clothesline. Make sure that you keep the small, more costly items like jewelry or other collectibles close to the cash/checkout table. Try to group similar items together. If you are selling electronic items make sure there is an electrical outlet available for people to test them. If items require batteries you may want to have various size batteries.
- The key in displaying is to actually set up your items as if you were merchandising them in the store. Put child related items together. Books in a specific area and kitchen gadgets together. I am told that a successful tease is to place the “guy” stuff closest to the road. Men have a tendency to “cruise” by a sale. Placing sporting goods, tools and that slightly used lawnmower, right up front, will likely get them to park the car and come shop.
- Don’t forget the kids. Many garage sale junkies often bring their young toddlers and preschoolers to the sale. If you have children’s toys and books place small containers of items on the ground and sell them at a really cheap price. This way the parents will be able to pick the kids up a toy and shop longer!
- Always have a well labeled “FREE STUFF” area. You can have these items at the back of the garage or yard just make sure that the signage is visible from the street or sidewalk. As the sale goes on you can always move items to the no cost area.
- It is a good idea to give the neighbours some notice of your plans to hold the sale. Informing them may encourage them to put some items out, this give customers more incentive to stop and shop. Sometimes a neighbour may want to add a few items to your sale and offer a helping hand. You can never have enough help at a garage sale, so this is always a great deal.
Garage and yard sales are a great way to help you organize while earning money. Remember to get plenty of sleep the night before because, professional garage sale shoppers live by the theory that “the early bird gets the worm”. Many shoppers are raring to go, and circling your block by 7:00 am. So be prepared.
Also keep in mind that whatever price you put on an item, is not likely what it will sell for. There will be bartering and haggling all day long. If you keep this thought front and center during the sale, “I am not taking it back in the house” , your sale will be a huge success.