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Are you overwhelmed by stuff you don’t need? Are your closets, basement, attic, garage, and storage sheds overflowing? Do you use everything you have tucked away in those spaces? If you’ve said yes to the first two questions and no to the third, then perhaps it’s time for you to organize your first garage sale. Not sure how to get started? The following guide will help you plan, organize, and publicize your sale so that you can get rid of your conglomeration of unused items and make a little extra money at the same time.
How Do You Price Items for a Garage Sale?
Before you even start planning your garage sale, you might be wondering if it’ll be worth all the time and effort it’ll take. Can you make enough money from all your old stuff? If you price it right, you probably can make a pretty good profit, at least as long as you don’t set your expectations too high.
First-time garage sale planners often make the mistake of pricing their items above what people expect to pay for garage sale finds. A good rule of thumb is to price each item between 10% and 20% of its current retail value. If, for example, an item costs about $30 on today’s market, then you should price it between $3 and $6, depending on its condition.
Condition always makes a difference, too. If an item is well-used and rather worn, mark it down to the range of 10% of the retail price or even a bit below. If the item is in good condition or nearly new, you can price it higher. Just be consistent with your pricing. You might even check out a few other garage sales in your area to learn the going rates.
Remember, too, that garage sale shoppers are looking for deals. They aren’t going to pay high prices for any item most of the time (unless they have particular collections or really want something). You might think that you’re cheating yourself if you price too low, but really, you’re going to do better in the long run because people will be more willing to buy.
When Is the Best Time To Have a Garage Sale?
The best time to have a garage sale will depend partly on your schedule and partly on the typical garage sale seasons and days in your area. Most people choose to have their sales in the spring, summer, or early autumn, especially if they live in areas with cold winters. Watch the weather forecast, and try to select a day with moderate temperatures and sunshine. Choose an alternate date, too, in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Garage sales usually go better on weekends when people are off of work and have time to browse. You might schedule a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday sale to catch a wide variety of people. Start as early in the morning as you can. Even 7 or 8 a.m. is not too early, and you may find people lined up waiting for you to open, especially if you’ve publicized your sale well.
How Do You Publicize a Garage Sale?
This brings up another important garage sale consideration: publicizing your sale. You need to catch people’s attention and let them know what you have to offer. Start on Facebook with a public post advertising your sale. Give the dates and times you’ll be open and highlight some of the items for sale. You can list categories like toys, books, or clothing in various sizes, but also mention specifics like appliances or collectibles. Then ask your friends to share the post and keep it moving so that more people see it.
You can also publicize your sale by posting it on Craigslist and Nextdoor. And don’t hesitate to check out the other new garage sale apps popping up. You might attract a wider audience using several of these.
You may turn to more traditional advertising methods, too. Take out an ad in your local newspaper, for instance. You’ll have to pay for it, but many people still do watch for garage sales in this way. Put up a few posters around town as well, and never neglect good, old-fashioned word of mouth.
How Do You Make Garage Sale Signs?
In the few days before your garage sale, you should make signs directing shoppers to your sale. Use cardboard or heavy poster board and wide-tipped markers to create your signs. They don’t have to be fancy, but they should be clear, easy to read, and eye-catching.
Write “Garage Sale” or “Yard Sale” in large letters. Put your address underneath. You may also want to add the days and time of the sale. Make sure all this is legible, and add arrows based on the location of your home in relation to the signs.
As for posting your signs, you can use convenient light poles or attach metal or wooden yard stakes to your signs. Make sure you place them where people will be able to see them easily. Don’t ever put a sign on private property unless you ask for permission. Also, make one or two large signs for your own yard so that shoppers will know they’re at the right place.
What Are the Best Types of Objects to Sell at a Garage Sale?
You can actually sell nearly anything at a garage sale if you can find a person willing to buy, but some items do sell better than others. People expect things like clothing, household items, books, toys, DVDs, and furniture. You might offer collectibles or even antiques if you advertise well ahead of time and price them right.
Don’t, however, try to sell broken items, especially electronics or appliances, and don’t offer used beauty products or underclothing. Simply dispose of these. They likely won’t sell, and people might be turned off even looking at them. Make sure other items are at least in reasonably good condition.
How Do You Organize Clothes for a Garage Sale?
If you have a lot of clothes for sale, make sure they are clean. Then organize them by size and type. Separate women’s clothing, men’s clothing, and children’s clothing, and lay them out according to their styles. Hang up blouses and shirts together, and neatly fold pants and shorts. Make sure shoppers can easily see each piece. You might even want to make signs listing sizes for added convenience.
What Is the Most Essential Garage Sale Equipment?
Finally, in the days leading up to your sale, gather the essential equipment you’ll need to make it a success. Have enough tables to properly display your items, and include a card table and a chair for you to collect money. You’ll need a cash box and change as well as plastic shopping bags and newspaper and/or bubble wrap to protect fragile items.
Mark your items with price stickers, using a black marker for legibility. You can also use poster board to create price signs for groups of items. Watch out for price stickers, however. Sometimes they stick too well, so if you’re in doubt about whether they’ll come off easily, try tie-on tags instead.
Will Your Garage Sale Be a Success?
Your garage sale can certainly be a success if you plan carefully, offer quality items at reasonable prices, and provide a friendly atmosphere so that shoppers feel comfortable. Remember that you may not make huge amounts of money, but you’ll at least have more than you started, and you’ll be able to clean out your home’s nooks and crannies and get rid of stuff you don’t need so you can better enjoy what you have.
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