Summer is the perfect time to have a garage sale. Everyone is more relaxed and they find more time in their weekends to spend time out of the house. These garage sale tips and tricks have been put to the test by Dan and I. We know that they work!
Of course, everyone’s results will be different because everyone has different stuff to sell. Neighborhoods and weather also come into play, but we’ll get to that later.
Garage Sale Tips and Tricks
#1 – Declutter Your WHOLE House
I personally don’t like having garage sales, but I know how to put a great one on. The biggest things that draws people in is the amount of items you have for sale.
I’m talking purging your whole house here. Clothes, toys, kitchenware, furniture, books… you name it – you need to declutter it.
I made the mistake of taking a long time (2 years) to really declutter our whole house. We ended up making countless trips to the charity shops and THREE garage sales.
Don’t be us. Declutter once – be brutal – and never have to do it again.
#2 – Pick a Weekend that Falls on a Pay Day
When people have money, they like to spend it. The more money they have, the more money they’ll spend. You know it’s true! Just think about when you grocery shop. Is it at the beginning of the month and the middle of the month?
The first weekend of the month is usually the best time to have a garage sale. The only exception is if it is also a holiday weekend (think 4th of July or Labor Day). You want the largest amount of people to still be in town.
#3 – Check the Weather
You’re planning a garage sale for the first weekend of the month and it all looks great until Wednesday when you look at the weather. Yikes – thunderstorms are likely that Saturday. Would you want to shop in the rain? Probably not.
Example of the difference sunshine makes:
In 2017 we had a garage sale on the most beautiful weekend of the summer. It was sunny with a slight breeze, so it wasn’t hot and muggy. In 6 hours, we made $1000.
In 2019, our garage sale was on a weekend that unfortunately was cooler and a little drizzly. We made $450.
Same amount of stuff to be sold but NO CUSTOMERS.
If the weather looks bad, reschedule to another weekend.
#4 – Arrange Your Stuff So It Is Easy to Shop
You don’t need anything fancy to set up your garage sale, but you need to have most things up off of the ground. My favorite way to do this is to line the driveway with the long, plastic banquet tables.
If you purchase one, they last for a very long time. We have the folding version and have used it for many things. I’m actually using it as my desk right now!
When I’m at a garage sale (because I love to shop secondhand), rarely will I crouch down to see what’s in a box or underneath something else unless I can clearly see what it is. I normally don’t dig for for things.
People are more likely to purchase a greater number of items from the same category (DVDs, books, kitchen gadgets, clothes) if they are all grouped together. It doesn’t make sense to have plates on one table and then silverware 20 feet away.
So when you are setting up the day before, make sure that like items go near each other.
#5 – Pricing
There are two ways to price things at a garage sale. The first is by using those sticker dots with prices on them. The second is pricing nothing and letting everyone ask you for the price. Both can be exhausting.
For pricing, we will categorize items (see above) and then price the category. For example, we lay all the clothes out on a table with a big sign above that says “$1 shirts, $3 pants, $5 jackets”. This way we don’t have to price everything individually. Same for DVDs and books.
Bigger items, like a large set of dishes or a TV I recommend pricing so that people know where they’re starting if they choose to negotiate with you.
Being flexible in price is also helpful. If you aren’t flexible on price and want top dollar for an item, you probably should list it elsewhere and not a garage sale. People want to pay pennies for your items.
#6 – Marketing Your Garage Sale
There are two ways to market your garage sale: online and with signs. Do both.
You need to purchase or make your own signs that say “Garage Sale – Saturday 7-2 – Your Address” and an arrow. You must have an arrow on your signs or shoppers will not be able to find you. Place signs at the entrance to your neighborhood and all the corners.
Marketing online is really what brings in a crowd. Take good pictures of your setup either the night before or the early morning of, and post it on Facebook Market Place. You can also choose to list your sale on Craigslist.
Those big ticket items (furniture, electronics) should have their own pictures in the listing. Make sure to describe a little bit of what you have, the days and hours you’ll be open, and what your address is or what neighborhood you’re in.
Here are the photos of our garage sale listing this year. The first is bright and early Saturday morning. The second is late in the afternoon. It’s the same listing, but I changed the title when we marked everything half off.
#7 – Listing Big Ticket Items
If you have items you don’t want to negotiate on to the point where you feel like you’re giving it away, list them on Facebook Market Place or eBay SEPARATE from your garage sale.
This is a BIG deal! I had a set of matching lamp in good shape and pretty stylish. If someone were to come to my garage sale, they would have wanted to pay $5 a piece. Instead, I listed them on FB Market Place for $40 and sold them for $35 the same day I made the listing.
Nice decor items, electronics, and baby items all sell really well on Market Place. Specialty items, like Cutco knives, do better on eBay as do collector items. You can make loads of extra cash this way without all of the garage sale haggling.
#8 – Be Prepared
The last garage sale tip and trick I have for you is be prepared.
Be able to negotiate prices with everyone. Have change ready – some people only bring $20s to garage sales when they know they only want to pay a dollar for something (why????).
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. You’ll be out in the sun.
Have your phone on you in the event someone messages you on Facebook with a question about one of your items.