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Tips for holding a garage sale?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm planning our first ever garage sale. We have tons of stuff to get rid of, and I tried doing it one thing at a time on ebay or the trading post, but all that shipping and whatnot is a pain in the neck.

So what are your suggestions for the perfect garage sale? How do I know what to price items? Organizational tips? What's the best way to price clothing (per item? bulk? all shirts same price or each different?) What do you do for price tags?

What tricks worked for you?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 10
I bought a sheet of tags, but you can also run some off on the computer if have a sheet around. Masking tape is good too.

I'd put a price on EVERYTHING just because it works that way. I also hate early birds - so I will put it in the newspaper with an area, but no address and put up signs the morning of the sale.

Make sure that you watch for theft.
post #3 of 10
If you really want to get rid of the stuff, don't price it over $5 ($10 max for specialty type items). Also, advertise in local papers and with signs.
post #4 of 10
I am planning one too. I would recommend doing a few,so you don't have a lot to put out/keep track off,unless ofcourse you have to pay for a permit each time you have a sale. Books seem to go for $1 or less,and cloths $1-$5,toys 5 cents to $15 for step 2/LT stuff. It all depends on your area. You could check out the resale shops to see what they are pricing at. People expect bargins at garage sales,but some just may pay a high price for an item they really want. You can always bring the price down.
post #5 of 10
Also, it is ALL in the display....after having worked merchandising for years, I will tell you that nicely displayed CRAP sells better than badly displayed good stuff....

I am not suggesting your stuff is crap! I am just saying that you can't just like throw out a box of stuff and put "everything 50 cents" in it...some people will dig through it, but most will be lazy and not bother...try to display everything as attractively as possible, within reason--you don't want to spend 15 hours getting ready for a garage sale!!

Think about it though, there is a reason most shops, stores are nauseatingly neat and orderly, with their things displayed perfectly. It is something psychological, people buy more that way...
post #6 of 10
Go to the bank the day before for change.

Have grocery bags on hand for your customers' purchases.

Have a DP or neighbor or friend with you. Helps with theft prevention, especially during the initial onslaught.

Don't bring anything that doesn't sell back in your house. Goodwill or garbage only!!!!

good luck. Hope you make a mint!
post #7 of 10
If I was there, I'd come over to help! I love having and going to garage sales. Thought about writing a book on it....ha...ha...ha!

1. Make sure your signs are large, sturdy, and visible. Use large black printing on a bright backround and make the arrow BOLD and large. I hate it when people just list the address because most people are not a walking atlas (I don't know where Maple street is....). Make sure you have at least one direct route to your house from a main highway--and a sign at every corner with a large, clear arrow. I can't even count the amount of garage sales that I have not been able to find because of poor signing.

2. Have everything priced waaaay ahead of time. It is amazing what you have to do last minute and you don't want to be pricing the day of your sale. Price everything clearly. Any sort of sticker works fine and small signs work if you want a blanket price (i.e. Any shirt 50 cents, Any pair of shoes $1.00, etc...)

3. Set up as much as possible a day or two ahead of time...makes life much easier. And having a friend or two there when you open can be a lifesaver--especially if you need a potty break ).

4. Have twice as many bags as you think you will ever need, beg, borrow, whatever to get tons! If you are going to have your sale more than one day you may even want to have a bag sale your last day and having extra bags on hand for that will be great.

5. When pricing, keep in mind one important thing: how much am I willing to let someone pay me to haul off my stuff? If it is something that you are going to pack, haul, or donate after the sale, selling more at a lower price may save you a lot of work in the end. On the other hand, setting prices ridiculously low, may send a message that your stuff isn't worth buying. So, I'd visit a few sales in your area to see what prices people set and how much people are buying at what price. (I'll be honest, I'm lazy and don't want the work of setting up for two days, so I set low prices and have the sale one day. Usually there isn't that much left over to worry about at the end of the day) A lot of people set higher prices for the first day or two of the sale and the last day they go 50% off or have a bag sale, etc... Just depends on how much you want to sit in your yard.

6. Don't keep a large amount of cash in your box. Have a good stash of various bills in the house in case someone decides to break a $50 or $100. Have someone make cash runs to put it in a safe spot in the house when you get a lot in your box--wads of cash in your box is just too much of a temptation.

7. Be willing to negotiate. That one person that offers $5 for something you had marked at $8 may be the only person willing to buy that item that day. Make deals.

8. Pricing some item at so many for a dollar is a great incentive for people to buy more. For instance, at my last garage sale I had shirts for 25 cents each or 5 for a dollar and jeans 50 cents each or 3 for a dollar. Well, almost everyone who bought clothes walked away with either 5 shirts or 3 pairs of jeans and they were not in my way anymore! You may want to work out a different pricing scale for your area as clothes are hard usually to sell here. Our movies were $2.00 a pice or 3 for $5.00. Cleaned out!

9. Organize by department, just like a store. Womens clothes, Men's clothes, childrens by size, toys, kitchen, tools, gardening, etc... Clothes by size is wonderful as well if you have a variety. Some people will look if you have a sign that lists their size. Fold or hang clothes, arrange everything as neatly as possible and plan to make frequent walk throughs to straiten as the day goes by. As a pp said, nice stuff that is disorganized doesn't sell well. See if any neighbors will let you borrow extra tables and tarps.

Ooooh! I better stop before my post gets any longer, sorry. Good luck on your sale!
post #8 of 10
[QUOTE=Apricot] I also hate early birds - so I will put it in the newspaper with an area, but no address and put up signs the morning of the sale.

Make sure that you watch for theft. [QUOTE]


Early bird here! : I will second the no address...people will be there waaay before you want them. It is much more fair to everyone involved to give a general location and put up your signs at the posted time.

For some theft protection, put smaller items near where you will be sitting. It's amazing, but people do steal at yard sales.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the great suggestions!
post #10 of 10

I do not label everything. I could never do it. I try to label/price as much as possible. But I like to negotiate. If I think I can get more from someone, I can. If it is priced, it is more fixed with less change. I like bargaining, and often I get more for something than I would have priced it. Either by someone offering more or by judging each sale.

Also, I do clothes for a set price $1 a piece or whatever the case may be. I also put things out on a table. Last time I had 5 HUGE boxes of clothes, not displayed nice, and I sold every single piece quickly. In fact, I sold out of it first.

Lots of grocery sacks for purchases.

I also start to lower prices as the day goes on. I always offer a discount for bulk. The last 3 times I did this, I had people return several times to get more stuff.

I sold the entire contents of my house to move cross country, and I sold clothes, appliances, kitchen items and baby gear more than anything else.

And after I was all done, I had someone from Freecycle come take all the extra stuff.
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