Want to make some money this weekend? Who doesn’t right?
Last weekend I made $970.50 from my own garage.
I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty good extra money for a couple day’s time sitting in my garage.
Lets face it. We all have stuff sitting around we don’t use, want or need. Some stuff you don’t even remember you own. If you have kids, you have even more stuff sitting everywhere! Follow my steps below to have a successful garage sale and put money in your pocket.
I prepare for my garage sale all year. I know, that probably sounds a little extreme, but it is honestly the easiest way to do it. In each of my kids’ closets I have a plastic tote. Every time they out grow something, I throw it in the tote. Then, when the tote is full, I price everything before I store it away in the basement. I would probably never have a sale if I had to try to price it all at once. That would just take forever and with kids to keep up with I just don’t have that kind of time.
This seems like a no brainer right? If you want people to come, you have to tell them that. Facebook makes that easier than ever before. I advertise on my personal page and encourage my friends to share with anyone who might need what I’m selling. The sale groups on Facebook is also a must. My town has several sites, one specifically for garage sales. Make sure you add photos to these too once you are all set up and include some of your bigger items to draw attention. You can also list on craigslist or your local newspaper
Also make sure you post signs around your neighborhood the day before your sale. Make them big enough to see and read. I use bright colored poster board with a large black sharpie. This year we had really rainy weather so my husband took my signs to work to laminate them. Big win! I lost count of how many signs I saw that were soggy, ripped in half or just unreadable from the rain.
Don’t try to cram too much on them or people won’t be able to read it as they drive by. All you really need is your address, day, and time. Try to post these at busier intersections and leave a trail to your sale. Bottom line, make it easy for people to find you!
Bigger sales draw bigger crowds. If you can advertise a multi-family sale, you will get bigger crowds. It will help fill in gaps if there are things you can’t offer people. People love the “something for everyone” idea so make it a reality. Plus, it makes it easier for you by sharing the actual work part of the sale.
Timing is Everything
My town has two city wide sale days in the Spring and the Fall. These is a great way to draw crowds. Your customers are already going to be out and looking for sales. Just make sure they know you are there and they will stop (and buy). Our local newspaper runs a special page with a city map and paid sale listings, too. I also encourage you to have yearly sales. This works best if your kids are still in a growing phase and you have more to get rid of each year, but even if you don’t have as much one year as the last people will remember and look for you sale. Combining with others for one sale will also help ensure you have enough to make your sale worth it.
Again, this might sound like common sense, but I’ve been to sales where half the stuff is missing prices. Do you know what I do when I come across this? I leave. I don’t buy if I don’t know how much it is. Pretty simple. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy your stuff.
Price to Sell
Please don’t price your items at store prices. If you do, you are wasting everyone’s time. I look at it this way, I would rather have a quarter in my pocket than a shirt sitting in a tote in my basement. Plus the more thats sells means less stuff I have to haul to donation or put back into my house. Ask yourself how much you would want to pay for each item at a garage sale. If I’m unsure on a price, I price it at the higher price point and if it doesn’t sell half way through or on the first day of my sale, I lower the price.
There is nothing I hate more than a messy garage sale, except maybe one without prices. Again, if its not easy for me to buy things, I leave. I leave empty handed. I hate digging through tables with a mess of clothes in different sizes and random toys thrown in. Separate the clothes by gender, size, even season will help make sure your customers can easily buy. Hanging as much as possible helps, but it isn’t necessary. Keeps outfits folded together if you can’t hang them and that will be good enough. If you have a lot of miscellaneous stuff, try to organize by category: kitchen, household, books, movies, holiday. Again, make it easy to shop.
Have Clean Items
You can be organized, but if its not clean its not going anywhere. Launder your clothes, wash the dishes, dust the furniture. This prep work will pay off. Your customers don’t want to buy dirty, stained, damaged items anymore than you would. So if its not worth selling, don’t sell it.
Be Willing to Negotiate
Honestly, it does drive me crazy when someone wants to negotiate on every item for a few cents off each, but it will happen. It is a garage sale after all, and I’m already selling to you at a discount of retail price. But remember what I said earlier. I’d rather have a quarter in my pocket than to have everything still sitting there at the end of the sale. Any extra money I make is more than I had before. So I negotiate. I obviously don’t want the stuff anymore anyway so give me something and its yours!
This one is a simple one, but I think its one of the most important. When someone enters your sale, greet them. Smile and say hi. Make a little small talk. If you are friendly and approachable they will feel more comfortable buying your items. They might have questions about how an item works or wondering if you have anymore jeans in a certain size. Whatever their question is, if you are friendly and approachable, they will ask. If you are sitting there giving them the stink eye, they will leave and most likely leave empty handed.
There you have it. These are the steps I took to make almost $1,000 sitting in my garage. Now are garage sales an instant, easy success? No. It is a lot of work to get everything set up and organized, about 12 hours in my case but I did have 2 little helpers who wanted to keep everything I put on a table. Bonus tip, send the kids to Grandma’s house! With a little time and effort on your part you can not only get rid of unwanted items, but make extra money. Thats a win-win to me!