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How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale

Knowing how to hold a successful garage sale can help you make some extra cash during the expensive moving process. Although it seems like an easy task, holding a garage sale can be a total waste of time if you don’t properly plan and prepare. From permits to pricing, there are certain details you simply cannot miss if you want to turn a profit. To help you reap rewards from your odds and ends, we’ve put together some easy tips to show you how to hold a successful garage sale. Follow along to ensure your efforts (and unwanted belongings) don’t go to waste!

Plan for Your Successful Garage Sale

Check for permits

You can’t hold a successful garage sale if there are laws that prevent you from doing so in the first place. In many cities, it’s illegal to hold a garage sale without a permit. Check with your city clerk or town hall to avoid getting fined or shut down. Most cities have this information available online, so be sure to do your research before you set up shop!

Pick a date

Once you get the green light from your locality, it’s time to block off your calendar for the big day. Just as there are better times to plan your move, there are better times to plan your garage sale. The key to picking a date for your garage sale is to ensure it doesn’t interfere with customers’ schedules. For this reason, the weekend is the optimal time to hold your garage sale. It’s also a good idea to plan for a multi-day sale. The more options buyers have, the more likely they are to come around.

It’s also critical that you take weather into consideration when picking your hours of operation. In other words, if your garage sale is in the middle of August, you shouldn’t be opening and closing between the hours of noon and five o’clock when the sun is at its peak. Knowing how to hold a successful garage sale means knowing your customers’ needs.

Pack, sell or donate

Now it’s time to organize your inventory. As you pack up each room, be sure you’re separating the items you want to sell or donate from the rest. Label boxes and group together items based on their purposes. For example, your old china and toaster will go into “kitchen” and your old speaker and headphones will go into “tech.” It will save you from any confusion down the line and will keep displays organized when setting up for your garage sale.

Gather supplies

Knowing how to hold a successful garage sale means knowing the value of preparation. Just as you would create a moving checklist, create a garage sale checklist! Start gathering the supplies you’ll need in advance so you’re not scrambling the night before. It’s easy to do this without breaking the bank as you probably already have a lot of the things you’ll need. Folding tables, chairs, shelves, or even crates and a piece of plywood will suffice as displays. Grab some tablecloths for nice presentation, and open up an umbrella to cool down in the outdoor heat. Bright posters, price tags, permanent markers, bubble wrap, and a cash box (or a manila envelope) are just a few supplies you’ll need.

Promote Your Garage Sale

There’s no way to hold a successful garage sale if no one knows about it! Start advertising your garage sale by posting in the local paper, community bulletins, and on social media. Hang up some bright eye-catching signs around town (you may need a permit for this too!) and get the word out. Include enticing taglines like, “New and barely-used condition” and “Prices on valuables that can’t be beat!” Half the battle of holding a garage sale is getting people to come. Make it happen!

Prep for the Garage Sale

Recruit friends or family for help

Try to talk a couple friends into coming to hang at your garage sale for the day. It’s nice to have some backup in the event that you draw a bit of a crowd and need some help with transactions. Folks may need some assistance carrying larger items to their car or someone might have a question about an item. Not to mention, what happens if you need a drink of water or a bathroom break?

It’s smart to have at least one other person there with you to hold down the fort. Garage sales can also be a big threat to home security if you’re preoccupied and don’t have enough eyes and ears looking out for you. Bottom line, having a sidekick is how to hold a successful garage sale 101.

 Set prices

Before you open for business, make sure you have your prices set straight. Take into consideration the true value of each individual item and don’t set them at outlandish prices. Most people come to garage sales on the hunt for a good bargain, so it’s important to understand where they’re coming from and be realistic. Whip out some price tags and a permanent marker and get to work!

Map out displays

Instead of fumbling around the day of, map out how you’re going to display your items for your garage sale beforehand. To give your customers a clear view of what’s available, section off each display based on the item’s category. Be mindful of fragile items like good china or vases and ensure that they’re safe. Maybe you need to invest in some bubble wrap or dig through the basement for a bigger box. Take inventory and make sure every item for sale has a place.

Get cash

Having change available is an absolute must when holding a successful garage sale. Don’t be caught off guard when your first customer of the day hands you a 20 dollar bill and you now have to give them change. Make a stop at your bank and set aside at least 20 dollars in quarters and a bunch of ones and fives for good measure.

Have an inclimate weather alternative

Once again, knowing how to hold a successful garage sale means knowing the value of preparation. Be ready for a rainy day and figure out how the display of your sale will change. Perhaps you have an old tent that you can pitch up over some tables, or you’re able to clear out a section of the garage for cover. Bad weather doesn’t have to be a damper on your garage sale.

Sell, sell, sell

Feel out pricing strategy

As your customers start to roll through, it’s a good idea to feel out their sensitivity to pricing. Is that a reasonable price for a pair of oven mitts? Would lowering it a bit more help you lock in a sale? Sometimes we are a tad biased towards belongings of our own, so it’s important to be conscious of this. There is no harm in bargaining a little. When in doubt, talk your belongings up and try to convey why they’re worth the original price.

Donate leftovers

No matter how successful you are at selling, you’re bound to have a couple of items leftover. What’s the second best thing to knowing how to throw a successful garage sale? Knowing how to donate unwanted items. Not only will donating relieve you of unwanted clutter, but it also contributes to a good cause, and can even earn you some tax deductions! When it’s time to close up shop, pack up those leftovers and donate accordingly.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be an expert at knowing how to hold a successful garage sale in no time! If you’re going to do it, make sure you’re doing it right.

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