How to Plan a Successful Yard or Garage Sale

Garage sales, otherwise known as yard sales, barn sales, rummage sales, porch sales, and tag sales, are all great ways to get rid of items no longer needed. Having a sale is also a great way to raise extra cash. Everyone has unused items lying around the house, and what better way to get rid of them than by making money at the same time. What you thought was junk and may have considered throwing away, might be useful to someone else. Never underestimate the value of accumulated clutter!

Planning a Garage Sale

It’s impossible to plan a garage or yard sale in advance and be certain it isn’t going to rain. Not everyone has the luxury of having a garage or building in which to hold a sale. For those who don’t have a shelter for their sale, it’s best to plan a rain date in case of bad weather.

A few weeks before the date of your sale, call your local city or town hall, and find out if a garage sale permit is required. Some towns require a permit in order to hold a sale. The fee is usually nominal, and the permit helps keep track of garage or tag sales. Many towns and cities have a limit as to the number of sales that can be held per year by one group or individual.

While asking about required permits, ask if signs may be posted throughout town. Some cities and towns don’t allow signs to be posted on public property. This is because people often don’t come back to remove the signs, and the signs tend to be unsightly. Old signs that blow down contribute to littering. In addition, sale signs on poles and directional signs at intersections can obstruct the view of drivers.

Garage Sale Ads

Newspaper ads are generally quite expensive. The cost varies according to location, but ads are by far the costliest part of having garage sale. Unfortunately, for a garage sale or yard sale to be successful, advertising is necessary.

When you write up your ad, shorten it by leaving out unnecessary words. Don’t worry about proper grammar in your garage sale ad. Keep it short and to the point. List categories of items you feel will be most popular with potential buyers. Baby clothes, children’s clothes, antiques, tools, and collectible items are always big sellers.

Take advantage of free bulletin boards at local supermarkets, libraries, and banks. Make up well-written, colorful, attention-getting ads. Create tear-off tabs that people can take with them as a reminder of the location and date of your sale. Post the notices at least a week in advance.

Last Minute Sales

People often take advantage of neighbors’ garage sale ads by hosting last minute sales. If you’re short on funds and not very good at planning ahead, this is a great way to make some extra money. If you notice a neighbor having a sale, quickly gather and price items you’d like to get rid of. You can make hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of an existing sale. Shoppers who stop at the other sale will probably stop at your sale as well.

Setting up the Sale

If you’re short on tables for a garage sale, use anything that can be easily converted into a table. Trampolines make fantastic yard sale tables. A lot of items will fit around the outermost portion of a trampoline. You can also use large sturdy cardboard boxes that have been overturned. The boxes can also be used to store items before and after the sale.

Try to hang up clothes whenever possible. This will eliminate the clutter of clothing piles. No matter how much you try to keep clothing folded, it won’t stay that way. Eager garage sale shoppers don’t usually fold items they’ve looked at and discarded.

Keep similar items in the same areas: trinkets, toys, and other miscellaneous items on tables, clothing on lines or racks, and books in boxes or on shelves.

Pricing Garage Sale Items

If you want a successful sale, don’t overprice merchandise. People sometimes try to get back almost as much as they spent in the first place. Garage sale shoppers are looking for bargains, so price items at 20 to 50% of what they would cost if they were new. The percentage should depend on the condition of the item. It’s better to get something for an item rather then get stuck with it because it was priced too high.

Masking tape is a cheap way to price items, but it isn’t good to use on everything. When left on too long, it can be very difficult to remove. The adhesive can also cause permanent damage in some cases. The best tags to use are removable tags especially for pricing. Price tags aren’t that expensive, and they’re much more convenient to use than masking tape. They come in various colors, and that makes it easy to determine who should be credited for the items sold.

The Money Box

Organize a money box the day before the garage sale. A cash box is the best choice, but a fishing tackle box or a cosmetic box works well too. Keep between $50 and $60 in the box to use as change. Start out with a couple of $10 bills, four $5 bills, $10 in singles, $10 in quarters, and the rest in nickels and dimes. Periodically take large bills in the house, and never ever walk away from the cash box.

After the Sale

When the sale is over, consider donating your leftover items to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or another charitable organization. In return you will be given a receipt that shows the amount of your charitable donation. You’ll be able to deduct it at tax time.

There are people who buy leftover garage sale items. Look for ads online on in your local paper. If you find someone interested, they will pack and take away all of the leftover goods. Make it a condition of the deal that everything is taken away, not just items of interest. This is a great way to get rid of what’s left, and it saves you the burden of hauling it off.

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