I love good garage sales. I like going to them first thing in the morning with a nice cup of coffee and finding great deals on stuff for the kiddos. I’ve even been trying my hand at up-selling some of my great finds. I also love selling at garage sales. Yes, it’s work. But if you do it right, it can be very rewarding. With a few tips up your sleeve, you can have great garage sales!
Tips for setting up Your Garage Sales
1 ~ Be organized! People are shopping! Let them see what you have to offer. I know a lot of people use bins for their clothes. As a regular shopper, I can tell you that this is not ideal. The more spread out your clothes are, the better they will sell. If you have too much to spread out at first, start spreading them out as they sell. And keep up with the traffic. After a rush, clean up your shop. Make sure the holes are filled. You don’t want empty space. Use those tables!
2 ~ Advertise! Don’t just throw up a quick ad on Craigslist and think you’re done. Make sure your signs are big and easy to read. You don’t need a novel. Just “Sale” and an arrow will do the trick. I love using bright foam boards. They withstand a little rain and can be seen from far away. Take advantage of your city’s Facebook groups. I posted to both swap groups and garage sale groups. I also watched the groups for any ISO posts. If someone is looking for 2T clothes, I comment that I’m selling a bunch.3 ~ Hang as much as you can. This year we strung a chain across our garage to hang clothes on. It worked great! I put the hangers inside the links and it kept the clothes from bunching together in the middle. I kept a piece “on display” for the entire sale. It was a great way to get traffic looking through the clothes. Plus it helped that item sell faster!
Tips for pricing your Garage Sales
4 ~ Group your small stuff. But don’t always put them in bags. Let your customers decide which small toys they want. Put a generic price on them, but offer an incentive to buy more. I had a small box of books for $0.25 each or 5/$1.00. Nobody bought just one book. They all searched for the perfect 5 books.5 ~ Don’t forget about the everyday items. Did you know that people love to buy baby towels or old receiving blankets? I almost didn’t put out the receiving blankets. They weren’t stained, but they weren’t in “like new” condition anymore. But I put them out there at $0.25 each or 5/$1.00, and they sold like hotcakes! Quickest $5.00 of the whole garage sale! Fill a box with socks, bibs, hats, and bloomers. They will be gone in a flash!
6 ~ Find the price sweet spot. Pricing for garage sales is hard. You want to price it high enough that you make money, but low enough that people will buy it. This one varies with the area you live in. It might help to shop some local sales in the weeks leading up to your sale. I used to always mark my big stuff too high. You hear 30% of retail floating around and think it’s the best rule. But I find that it’s too high for a garage sale. People want cheap. If you want to make eBay money off of it, you should be selling it on eBay. If you want $5.00 for a pair of brand name jeans, put it in a consignment sale. If 5 people have picked up an item, with excitement, and put it back down…then it’s too high. I’ll lower the price by a dollar or two, and it usually sells! A little less money is still better than no sale at all!
7 ~ Overprice the attraction piece. I always have a nice piece that I may or may not want to sell. Like an old rocking chair or a nice curio cabinet. Put it towards the front and then put a tag on it that’s slightly too high. Unlike the rest of your stuff, you don’t want this piece to sell right away. It’s drawing in customers and getting them “in the door”. The rest of your prices will get them spending. Later in the sale, you can drop the price, or just sell it on Craigslist instead.
Tips for customers at your Garage Sales
8 ~ Greet your customers. Ask them if they are looking for anything in particular. It’s such a pain to look through a stack of clothes, only to realize there is nothing in your size. Help your customer out by letting them know what sizes you have.
9 ~ Be approachable. If you’re not the type to start chatting with your customers, at least put your phone to the side. You don’t want people to think that they are bothering you.
10 ~ Create a neighborhood sale. You don’t have to get the whole block involved, but if you have at least one other house you can quickly increase your traffic. Multi-house sales are a big draw and the more houses the better! Just put a flyer on everyone’s door and let them decide whether or not they want to join.