Many people's favourite weekend activities with the potential to make some quick cash, is the garage sale. But after you’ve cleaned out your garage and tagged everything but the cat, what’s next? If you want a lot of shoppers and a successful sale, follow these simple tips:
Schedule Your Sale Close to Pay Day
Most people don’t think about what day of the month or week to hold a garage sale, but you want to make it convenient for potential shoppers. It's pretty easy to guess that the best days of the week for sales are Saturday and Sunday. Consider that sales close to a major holiday like Mother’s Day might also draw a crowd, but don’t always count on long weekends when most would-be bargain hunters have their minds on the beach or family barbecues.
Don’t Just Rely on Word of Mouth, Advertise!
The most important task is to drive potential shoppers to your front door. While word of mouth can work, you want to reach avid garage sale groupies who scour the classifieds and plan their shopping routes – sometimes days before the sale.
Contact your local newspaper and place an ad for your sale to run at least one day in advance and especially on the actual day of the sale. A small space ad is well worth the investment if it’s going to drive shoppers directly to you. And don’t forget online advertising, even if it's just a post shared on Facebook. Make your ad short and sweet – announce the time, place, whether or not rain cancels, and a brief list of two or three items to lure the curious.
Guide Shoppers to Your Front Door
Beef up advertising efforts with some handmade directional signs placed around your neighbourhood. Use bright posters in neon orange, green, or yellow to grab attention and help guide motorists directly to your sale. A larger yard sign with festive balloons will let them know they’ve hit pay dirt.
Hint: Use a large thick black marker to make your signs. The easier the poster is to read, the easier it is to find your house. It might also help to have an attractive yard, so consider sprucing things up a bit before the big day – having the nicest yard on your street is sure to draw eyes.
Get Family and Friends to Help
Going solo to get ready for a garage sale can be tough, so solicit the help of friends, neighbours, and family. Make a list of things that need to be done – from cleaning out the garage and collecting items for sale, to making and hanging signs, setting up tables, and managing the cash box – and assign tasks so everything gets completed on time. Reward helpers with light refreshments like chips, cold drinks, hot dogs or burgers and they’ll work even harder to help make the sale a success.
Presort, Clean and Tag Items Well in Advance
A well-organized garage sale host won’t wait until the last minute. Set up inside your garage the night before your sale. The next morning, it will only take a few minutes to move everything out onto the driveway before early bird bargain hunters start to arrive.
Shoppers love well organized, clean items grouped on easily accessible tables or racks. Arrange tables according to what customers crave with popular merchandise up front near the street and less-desirables at the back. Group baby items, men’s suits and shoes, women’s clothing and shoes, books, kitchen utensils, and tools in separate areas. Buy small stick-on labels and place them on each item for pricing.
Make Sure the Price is Right
One of the biggest garage sale turn-off is overpriced merchandise. Folks are looking for cheap, grab-and-go items that can save big bucks over retail. Budget-conscious moms might want kids’ toys for a dollar or less, while guys hope to find tools or gadgets for a fiver. Prices for big-ticket items like electronics, video games, furniture, or flat panel televisions can always be negotiated.
Not sure how to price items? If you’ve ever shopped at a thrift shop or yard sale, you have a pretty good idea what people will pay for used merchandise. Be prepared to haggle and have a cash box on hand to make change.
Advanced Planning Makes Success Inevitable!
With proper planning, advanced advertising through local and online venues, yard signs to guide shoppers to your front door, and well-priced merchandise, your garage sale should be the talk of the town, drawing lots of bargain hunters and big bucks. Good luck!