11. TRY MORE LUCRATIVE MARKETPLACES FIRST
There are many places besides garage sales to sell used items. If you think you can get more for an item or you think something has real value, try a used bookstore, consignment shop, Craigslist, eBay, or an antiques dealer first. If they sell there, you’ll get a higher price for them. If they can’t sell there, you’ll feel better about letting them go for cheap at your garage sale.
12. ADVERTISE BEFORE AND DURING!
I cannot stress this enough. I know it was THE key to my success (I had one woman drive from an hour away to “pre-shop” my stuff and then come again on the day of the sale)! List your garage sale on Craigslist a few days in advance with as much detail as possible. (Other garage sale sites pull from CL so you don’t need to re-list it. You can, but it isn’t absolutely necessary).
Your listing should include:
-Date and start time of sale (don’t bother posting an end-time—you’ll know when to shut it down).
-An itemized list of merchandise WITH prices
-As many photos as possible.
-Any other information you want to convey (“prices negotiable,” “please no early birds,” “all proceeds go toward adopting our puppy,” etc.)
You also need to advertise the day of your sale with neighborhood signs. Put up as many of these as your township or association will allow. Make them large, sturdy, and legible, and place them at prominent intersections as well as along the path to your house from those intersections.
13. USE RETAIL TRICKS FOR PRESENTATION AND SALES TECHNIQUES
Put big-ticket items closer to the curb, so passing cars can see them. Like pretty window displays in a store, this draws people in.
Group categories of like items together. Furniture goes in one spot, kids’ stuff in another. Think about how department stores are organized into zones.
Make it easy to shop. For instance, have tables next to clothes bins for people to lay them out as they look through them.
Give customers laundry baskets as they do their shopping. This is a classic retail trick: When their arms begin to fill up, hand them the basket and say, “Here, you can use this to help you carry your things.” They’ll feel like you’re being helpful (which you are!) and they’ll usually end up buying more.
As things sell, rearrange. Fill in gaps on the driveway and knick-knack tables. You want your sale to look full so more people will stop their cars. This also really helps you look busy and active. If you’re just sitting in a lounge chair, it seems like all the action, and all the good stuff, is gone.
14. TAKE ANY OFFER
This was my own personal motto, and I was ok with it because I reminded myself each time that my end-goal was getting rid of stuff. I decided in advance that, other than for my “non-negotiable” list, (and one obviously ridiculous early offer) I was going to say yes to any offer. I learned this lesson trying to sell a picnic basket at a friend’s garage sale a few years ago. I had it priced for $4 and a lady offered $2. I said no, and then sent it to charity at the end of the day. Did I really haggle over $2? That wouldn’t have even bought me a sandwich at McDonald’s! You can see what I mean about the value of money taking on new meaning in garage sale world.
15. PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES, SMALL ITEMS AND CASH
I was warned about this and blew it off. And someone stole every last piece of jewelry at my garage sale. Thankfully, none of it was valuable, and thankfully I did listen to the advice I read to keep my cash in a fanny pack (yes, swallow your pride and do it), so it wasn’t too much of a loss.
16. EXPLOIT YOUR KIDS' CUTENESS
I never thought I would do this, but I reluctantly let my kids run a lemonade stand at our sale (I’ve never liked being guilted out of my quarters by other people’s too-adorable offspring). But they really wanted to be involved. So they made a big sign with our puppy’s picture on it and sold cookies, brownies, and soda, and gave away free lemonade. I just made sure to warn people in my ad on Craigslist. I wrote “Fair warning: Cute kids will be selling cookies to raise money for their puppy adoption.” People were really sweet about it, and when the sun got hot, those sodas were lifesavers! And guess what? They made $50. I thought that was a shocking total! I’m now a big fan of kids’ lemonade stands.
17. WEAR SUNSCREEN.
I was so busy the day of my sale, this never occurred to me. And I was burnt as a lobster afterwards. On a related note, make provisions ahead of time for your basic physical needs: Someone to take over so you can have a bathroom break, a ready-made sandwich for lunch, and a supply of bottled water close at hand. I had not anticipated the steady stream of customers and meeting those basic needs ended up adding even more chaos to the day.
18. ANTICIPATE YOUR SUPPLY NEEDS
Have a Sharpie, extra price stickers and shopping bags within reach. Pretend you are a retail store and stock supplies accordingly.
19. BE FRIENDLY
This is another retail trick: Greet your customers. Say hello to everyone (this helps them know who to ask questions of, who to pay, and that someone is watching in case they have thieving intent). I say, “Hi, welcome! Let me know if there’s anything in particular I can help you find.” And then leave them alone to browse.
20. UPDATE YOUR LISTING AFTER DAY ONE
Remove sold items from your Craigslist post and update the date of your sale. (If it said Thursday/ Friday, just change it to Friday). This will make your sale feel fresh and new, and will avoid disappointing anyone coming on the second day who wanted an item that was already sold.
I hope this list has been helpful! My final advice is this: Pray. It may feel silly, but it’s perfectly ok to pray about a garage sale. God cares about everything in your life, big and small. I invited Him to be at my house that day, to bless my efforts and to bless the people who would shop there.