Trash to Treasure: 10 Tips to a Successful Garage Sale

Spring cleaning is a wonderful accomplishment. Everything’s fresh and clean. Doesn’t it feel great? But what do you do with all those odds and ends unearthed from your closets and the back recesses of the garage? Making a few extra pennies by holding a Garage/Yard Sale could be just the ticket. After a number of successful sales over the years, here are some of my favorite tips for making the most of your time and effort:

1) When choosing what to sell, don’t sort things out according to what you think will sell. Try to sell everything. One person’s junk is another’s treasure. Even broken appliances can be sold for parts.

2) Don’t throw out your old magazines — stick them all in a box and sell them for a quarter a piece.

3) Think “store” when you’re setting up. Try to think how traffic patterns of browsing customers would walk around your garage or driveway.

4) Arrange your tables according to categories: all kitchen stuff on one table, bedding on another, clothing on another, gift items grouped together, jewelry displayed next to a mirror, etc. Decide in advance which categories you have, and then sort accordingly.

5) Rather than pricing each piece of clothing individually, put a big easy-to-read sign over the table. Something like: “All clothing 50 cents each, or 3 for $1 (unless otherwise marked).”

6) Play background music while people shop. You want your customers to relax … shop … take their time … enjoy the process. Probably an easy-listening station that plays familiar songs from the 70’s and 80’s would be ideal.

7) Make people feel comfortable and welcome. I’ve been to so many garage sales where the people holding the sale just sat there and glared at you as you shopped. Be sure to smile warmly and greet everyone.

8) On those large colorful signs you post around town, list some of the individual items at your sale: tools, baby gear, clothing, housewares, collectibles, etc. And don’t forget to take your signs down after the sale’s over.

9) Stock up on bags from the grocery store so you can bag up purchases for customers with armloads of small items.

10) If your goal is to clear out as much as possible, offer a great deal on the afternoon of the last day such as: “Everything you can stuff into a shopping bag for $1,” or “Half price on all items after 12 noon on Sunday.”

By thinking and planning ahead, it’s possible to make your garage sale into a high profit, sociable, and fun way to spend a sunny springtime weekend.

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