How to Prepare for Your Garage Sale
Garage sales are a lot of work and require preparation. It can seem like a daunting task at first, but if you start early and get organized, you can help the process run smoothly and earn some extra cash in the process. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Pick a Date
Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to have garage sales for obvious reasons. Make sure to give yourself at least a couple of weeks to prepare for the big day as well. It will take time to go around the house and sort through things.
Collect and Categorize
Pick a collection area in your house where you will gather the items you are going to sell such as an extra bedroom. This would also be a great time to spring clean and get rid of items that aren’t in good enough condition to sell and you know they need to be thrown out. This is another advantage of garage sales, it helps you get some much-needed purging done. Honey, you know you haven’t worn that skirt in 10 years, get rid of it!
Garage Sales need to be advertised like anything thing else and you want people to show up. Now that you know when and what you are going to sell, it’s time to get the word out. Telling your friends and family on Facebook and text message is a good start, but you can cast a wider net by posting it on a free local website such as TheGreensheet.com which has a designated garage sale section. Make sure your ad lists the key items that you will be selling, which will get people interested in your garage sale.
There are several items you need when setting up garage sales.
- Price stickers – Make your own price stickers by using blue painter’s tape. It’s also available in other fun colors (if you want to label by category). You could also use pre-printed price stickers and blank removable stickers.
- Display signs and balloons – Label the fronts of all my tables to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. Print out 8-1/2 x 11 paper signs, put them in clear see-thru page protectors, then tape them to the front edge of the table so people can quickly scan what’s for sale.
- Black Sharpie markers – Use the Sharpie king size markers for yard sale signs and the fine point Sharpies for pricing items.
- Tables – here are all the things that can be used to make “tables” at your yard sale: card tables, TV trays, cardboard boxes turned upside down, Rubbermaid tubs or crates turned upside down, or 2 of anything with a board placed between ‘em (chairs, stools, buckets, etc.)
- Clear packing tape and stapler – Use these items to hang signs around your yard and through the neighborhood to direct people to your sale.
- Extension cord – so customers can try out electronics.
- Cleaning supplies – You can quickly wipe down items that are dirty & dusty and magic erasers to clean more deeply.
- Tarps, sheets, blankets, beach towels – Use them for any items you choose to display on your lawn.
- Scissors – you never know when you’re going to need a pair!
- Hangers – if you’re like me, you’ve probably collected a few uniquely-shaped items through the years that could be used to hang items like scarves, ties, belts, coats, etc.
- Notepad, pen & calculator – to take names & numbers of people interested in items that have technically sold, but you’re “holding” until they come back with the money. In case the people don’t come back, you’ll want to contact the others who’ve said they are interested in those items. It is also a good idea to keep track of what you sold and how much you sold it for, and the calculator is to help you do some quick math of course.
- Chairs – for you and your helper to occasionally take a seat.
- Water or Lemonade – Encourage people to stay a while and be comfortable. Offering a cool beverage is a nice touch that can set you apart from the rest.
- Trash – after your garage sale shoppers drink their beverages or eat their snacks, they will need to free up their hands, so please have somewhere for them to throw away their trash.
Prepare for Change
The first couple of sales you make will probably require you to give change to someone, so be prepared and get about 50 dollars worth of small bills and coins to be ready for that moment. The worst thing that could happen is you standing there scratching your head when someone needs change and you don’t have it, resulting in losing that sale or having to wait for someone with small bills to come along.
Set up and Organize
Garage Sales require time to set up and organize properly, so schedule the prep-time. Treat it as if it is a real store and people are going in to spend some time to shop.
Dealing with what’s left
Concluding garage sales leaves you with choices. At the end of the garage sale, you need to ask yourself if you are satisfied with your sales or if you want to give it another try. If you are satisfied then you need to decide what to do with the leftover items. There are several things you could do but the smartest is to donate to Goodwill or a similar organization and get a receipt for a tax write-off! If you have large items that didn’t sell, consider selling them online through craigslist or TheGreensheet.com.