Garage Sale Tips: Host a Kick Ass Garage Sale and Make That Money


The blue skies are clear and the weather is pleasantly warm, garage sale season has returned! I love to spring clean and purge old merchandise while making some cash on the side. I thought I'd share some top tips for hosting a successful yard sale that I've learned over the years so you could have a nice purge, too!

1. Gather Your Merchandise Ahead of Time
 
Go from room-to-room with a box in hand and fill it up with items you're tired of looking at. If your home hosts the average thrifter's excess, you should fill several boxes in no time!

2. Make Sure you Have Enough to Sell
 
Yard sales are more successful when you have plenty of "merchandise". If you only a few items, consider selling individual items on PennysaverUSA.com or Craigslist.

3. Plan and Advertise Ahead of Time
 
Advertise your sale on Craigslist and/or PennySaverUSA’s Garage Sale classifieds three days to one week ahead of time. Be as descriptive as possible, listing individual items you'll be selling at the sale. Try posting on community boards and local publications as well.

4. Signs, Signs, Signs: Make Your Sale Easy to Find
 
Post plenty of clear, legible signs to help people find your sale. Include the date and arrows to guide potential customers to your sale. Try neon poster board to grab their attention, or be thrifty and creative by using whatever you have around the house.

5. Have Plenty of Change Ready to Go
 
You want at least $100 dollars in change organized and ready to go before the sale. Make sure you have plenty of ones, fives, and rolls of quarters.

6. Write a Check List of Supplies You’ll Need
 
inventory list , a box or apron to keep your cash organized, tables to set up wares and chairs to sit on, and materials for your signs at the least.

7. Don't Host More Than One Sale Per Month
 
Yard sales are exhausting; you won't have energy to host more than one per month. You don't want people to get tired of seeing the same wares week after week, either. I think seasonal garage sales work best.

8. Have Your Wares Locked and Loaded the Night Before
 
Have your tables, chairs, and supplies near the door and ready to go first thing in the morning. You'll be grateful you prepped in advance. Also, expect people to come at least 30 minutes early to get a head start on scouring your goods!

9. List the Big Juicy Items on PennysaverUSA or Craigslist Individually
 
Make individual ads for big, juicy items you'll have available at the sale. I did this for old, collectible video game systems that I was selling and it brought a lot of people to the sale. As a plus, I had people e-mailing me for months afterward asking to buy video games!

10. Check the Weather, But Don't Let it Deter You
 
Sometimes the rain will clear up. If you've put a lot of time and effort into your sale, I'd set up anyway.

PennysaverUSA has an awesome Garage Sale Tips Center with tons of information and videos on hosting your own successful yard sale. You should check it out! I also love The Non-Consumer Advocate's post on running a profitable garage sale.

Got any garage sale hosting tips to share? Spill in the comments!

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31 comments:

  1. FYI, the Pennysaver links are not working.

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    1. Thank you SO much for the heads-up Scott, links are fixed!

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  2. This is from experience holding 20+ yard sales over the years:

    I've never needed that much change. $20 should do it, because almost everyone comes equipped with lots of $1 bills and coins. Get 15 $1 bills and $3 in quarters and $1 each in dimes and nickels. I don't mess with pennies.

    Don't bother pricing stuff ahead of time unless it's very general, like "Books $1 each or 3/$2". Placing those little price stickers eats up HOURS of your time, and nobody pays much attention to them anyway. People will still ask how much you want for stuff.

    Keep an eye on your stuff. Put small or pricey items on a small table or cart near your chair, and have a helper to sit with them when you can't. People shoplift yard sales. Sad but true.

    Don't use a cash box. Wear a heavy-duty carpenter's apron and keep your cash in there. Regularly relieve yourself of all but what's necessary to make change. (Bring it inside and put it out of sight.)

    Offer coffee and/or snacks. If you have kids, this is a great place for them to set up a lemonade & cookie stand. If not, set up a cart with a coffee maker, disposable cups, sugar & creamer, plus a plate of cookies. Put a sign that says "Help Yourself - Donations Welcome" and leave a jar with a few coins in it. I made over $30 at one sale by doing this. Other sales, I made next to nothing. Either way, it's a nice gesture that costs you very little but reaps a lot of good will.

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    1. You're so lucky, I'm always getting cleaned out by people buying 1 dollar or fifty cent items with twenties or even fifties! Bad luck, I guess!

      I love the idea of having a donate cup next to the snacks. I haven't offered snack before, but I will next time!

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    2. Thanks again for the detailed helpful hints!

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    3. I wouldn't necessarily not have more than $20.00 in change. I've hosted yard sales as well and tend to get people who just came straight from the ATM with a load of $20 dollar bills. I know I tend to do this myself, as a buyer and I won't buy anything if the seller doesn't have any adequate change.

      I kind of differ on not pricing things. As a buyer I like to see things priced because I absolutely hate asking how much something is. When an item isn't priced I hate feeling like I'm negotiating blind for an item. Something worth $20 to me may only be worth $1 to the seller and I would hate to offer $10 on something the seller would have maybe taken 50 cents for! This is good for the seller but not for the buyer. When things aren't priced, I just assume the seller wants a lot for it and don't buy after all.

      Best advice, greet and smile to everyone who comes to your sale. It makes them more comfortable and more apt to spend more money when they see that you're a friendly seller!

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  3. Have a sale with a neighbour or two or a whole group of people. The more involved the more people will come out for the sale.

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    1. I LOVE group sales. I can't wait to get neighbors together and host another one!

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  4. I had a yard sale recently and didn't have a ton of stuff, but what I did have was quality. Instead of crowding everything up close to the garage, I spread it out down the driveway, giving the illusion of lots of stuff and then I re-fluffed as items were purchased.
    I posted my sale on Craigslist the day before and the morning of.
    I have a huge neon pink double sided sign that I stake at the corner.
    I didn't spend much time putting the sale together and it was hot as hell out on the day of the sale. I set my stuff out at 9 and wrapped up at 4. Unless there was a customer I helped my hubby in the yard or read my Vogue and had a beer.
    For not a whole lot of work, I made $100! Some spending money for a trip we are going on soon.

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    1. Awesome tips! I love the idea of giving an illusion of more!

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  5. Love all of your tips Vanessa, and everyone's comments. Great post!

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  6. How funny!! Right now I'm enjoying the a/c after being out in my garage all morning....I'm having a sale tomorrow!!! Ha!! I've been collecting for over two weeks, and this morning I made a trip up to the garage attic....very hot up there! But I know I will be rewarded with some fast cash tomorrow morning. We host a multi-family sale twice a year, but this is an "extra" sale I decided to throw in a few weeks ago. Unloading some vintage surplus along with some household stuff we no longer need. I hope it's a good one!

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    1. I'm sure it will be! Actually, woops, should have got your address so I could attend...

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  7. Feel free to post about your garage sale on PennySaverUSA.com and shout about it on our Facebook page. Have an awesome sale! http://www.facebook.com/MogasaNet

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  8. I agree with Christine...there can definitely be shoplifters and you need to keep you cash on your person at all times. It really helps to have another person with you, too...another pair of eyes, you know? Make yourself some snacks and sandwiches the night before, and don't forget to eat and drink during the sale! Low blood sugar will make you grumpy :-)
    Another good tip is to call Salvation Army or your charity of choice and set up a pick-up for the next morning, and let them have anything that didn't sell.
    Consider listing your sale in the local newspaper...some older folks don't "do" Craiglist.
    Oh, and one last random tip...never let anyone inside your house to use the bathroom!

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    1. Dina, I agree with everything. I always host a sale with a friend and I'd never let strangers in to use my bathroom! You never know...

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  9. Great list of tips. We hosted our own 2 weekends ago, so fun! Not sure what was better... clearing out stuff or making $ to go buy new stuff?

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    1. Me-thinks clearing out the stuff. I need to host another yard sale very soon myself!

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  10. Great post! I'm having a huge garage sale in a couple weeks. So the timing on this is perfect!

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    1. Ah ha! I'll have to swing by and check it, you're sure to have excellent wares available :D

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  11. Thanks Van, that reminds me today is Friday and I need to check Craigslist for yard sales in my area. I then search for vintage, looking for great clothing for my Etsy shop. Thanks again and good luck with your sale. It's raining here today, it may have even snowed up in the mountains.

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    1. Yes indeed, I need to get in the habit of doing that, too! You can't be yard sale prices for vintage.

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  12. THANK YOU for posting this - I'm planning on having a yard (took me 4 tries to stop typing "tard", btw) sale next month and always end up forgetting SOMETHING. *pinning*

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    1. Teehee, tard sale ;) I can't wait to host another yard sale too. It feels so good to clear out!

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  13. Hi Van
    We are having our first sale of the summer Sunday!
    Another tip I would add is to leave some flyers at your local group shops in the area. Mention that the sale is "dealer friendly", if you don't mind selling to other dealers. I also emailed some photos of big ticket items like furniture to a few dealers just to let them know what we would be offering.
    Have a great weekend.

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    1. Also excellent tips, thank you. I never thought of the "dealer friendly" hint.

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  14. Good tips! I stopped having Yard Sales...I take it all to my booths at the Antique Mall or just give it away to family and friends...

    Like others mentioned, I like it when items are tagged with a price. I HATE chasing down the Homeowner to ask the price and sometimes, they will even tell me a long history about the item...{usually this seems to happen when I am in power-shopping mode and not in the mood for chit-chat...just want to know the price...}

    I always bring lots of small bills...better for paying with exact change. {When I used to have yard sales...I always seemed to get buyers buying something for $1 with a twenty}...Can you believe one time some person asked if I accepted credit cards???? Yes, at MY yard sale in my driveway...UGH!

    In summary, I like going to Yard Sales, but I don't like having them anymore...no more yard sale drama! {wink!}

    -pamela ;)

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    1. I get people paying with twenties and fifties all the time, too. Really cleans out your change!

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  15. I would suggest to check with your city/town/village whatever and read up on what kind of laws and regulations they have on the books regarding lawn/garage sales.

    The town I live in super strict in regards to signs. You are only allowed to post them in your own yard!! Or in others' yards with their permission. None on the parkways or posts, and they will fine, fine, fine you if you post illegal signs. One way around this law that a lot of people have discovered is to park your car, your family's and friends cars etc., on the streets surrounding your sale and post big, bright signs in the windshields and rear windows.

    My same, totally non-sale friendly town has a rule that if you hold more than THREE sales per year you have to register yourself as a BUSINESS!! Crazy stuff. I guess small governments will try to eke money out of you any way they can. :( Or someone important thinks yard sales are tacky and wants to discourage them. That's the scuttlebutt anyway...

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  16. Thanks for all the great advice. I need to go through all my things and have a yard sell this summer. I don't know how I have so much stuff. Thanks for all the tips, I'm definitely going to try them out.

    http://www.international-auction-gallery.com

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