OK, so maybe it’s not a party, but who says you can’t have a great time and make money, all while hosting a garage sale? Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks from hosting a few garage sales over the years. Do you have some great tips you want added? We would love to hear them!
1. Mark Everything! I know, it’s a lot of work up front, but it is far worth the effort in my opinion. When I know I have a garage sale coming up, I have 2 areas in my house set aside. The first is for items I have found that I want to sell, the second is for items that are clearly marked with a price and are ready to be sold. When I am sitting watching TV, or just need to be still for a while, I grab a box from the ‘needs to be marked’ pile, along with my trusty price stickers and mark away. Make sure to mark everything ahead of time. It is one less thing you want to have to do the night before your garage sale.
2. Use Social Media! Social media is a great way to promote your garage sale. For the past few years the only ‘advertising’ I have done is on Craigslist and Facebook. Make a facebook ‘event’ about a week before you sale. Invite your local friends and family, and add pictures of what you are selling. List out the types of things you will be selling, and make sure big ticket items are listed. The week of your sale, make a craigslist add with days, times, and a list of general items. If you can take pictures of everything before-hand, it is great to add those in too. I cleared out my garage the week before and was setting up tables with items a few days before, so it was easy to take pictures.
3. Categorize! I always get lots of compliments that everything at our sales is so organized. I think people have an easier time shopping when all like things are grouped together, and they even buy more! Make 8×11 signs with general categories (cooking, kids toys, games, clothing, etc) and group all those items on a single table or blanket. It will not only help you keep track of where things are, but increase your sales as well!
4. Gather Supplies! Make sure you have everything you need for your garage sale a few days ahead of time. Go to the bank and get plenty of $5’s and $1’s and a roll of quarters. Have extra tape and price stickers, along with pens and paper. I made a ‘craft tool belt’ a while ago (I know, huge nerd right here) and it comes in handy all of the time. I used it at our sale for hold all of the money, pens, paper, and stickers so that they were always on me.
5. Have a ‘Sneak Peak’! This was something new that I tried this summer. Whenever I have a sale, I always have friends who want to stop by early to see what we have. I am always setting up everything the night before anyway, so this year I offered a ‘sneak peak’ the evening before for 2 hours from 5pm-7pm. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out, but it was a huge success! Our signs were already up for the next day, and we are off a main street so tons of people saw that people were there and stopped by on their way home from work. The two hours flew by and we got traffic that I don’t think we would have normally gotten had we only been open from 8am-2pm.
6. Refreshments Don’t be afraid to sell water or set up a lemonade stand. If you have kids, this is a great project to keep them busy and teach them about money management. If you decide to just sell water, mark it for $1 and think about donating all of the proceeds to a local charity. We sold freshly baked chocolate chip cookies which were a huge hit!
7. Use Cohesive Signage Your signs are what will get the most people to your sales. After a few sales, I now only mark signs with ‘SALE’, the hours, and an arrow. If they are all the same color and size, people will know they are all for the same sale. I found that not putting the house address is a helpful way to not have people show up an hour before the sale begins to sit outside and wait for the doors to open. If the garage door isn’t open yet, they don’t know which house it is.
8. Create Displays Most stores spend a lot of money on store displays because they help move product. Put some thought into how you display items. Tables are great, but don’t be afraid to use things like bookcases and ladders. I put plastic bins on a ping-pong table and covered them with a blanket to create a tiered display. It helped to break items up and not have everything squeezed together on one table.
9. Sell Your Creations Are you a crafter? Do you make jewelry, accessories, or have an etsy shop? Try selling some of your own stuff at your garage sale. Set up a separate table with info about what you do. I love when garage sales have new/unique items for sale, along with all of the normal garage sale stuff.
10. Have Fun! Your garage sale doesn’t have to be stressful. Have fun with it! Invite friends over to help with different shifts, play music, and get ready to barter! We had fun by placing little notes on different items like ‘I would look great in your house!’ and ‘Buy me!’.