Is your heart dancing a brisk pitter patter at the thought of getting to shop some garage sales? If so, you’re definitely not alone. It’s that time of year when people are chomping at the bit to shop at garage sales once again. If you are thinking of having one of your own, remember that pulling off a successful sale is more than just tossing a few things on a card table and putting out a sign. There are actually some proven ways to get people to buy your stuff.
Organization is key. Whether you have much or little to liquidate, it is vital that your sale is easy to navigate. Some shoppers will look at everything you’ve got to sell, and others will have a single-minded agenda from their first approach. Separate your clothing, household items, books, and other objects. Having a little of this and a little of that on each table is a very annoying way to shop.
Arrange clothing items neatly. Make sure your clothing items are divided by type (children’s clothing should not be mixed in with adult items, boy clothes should be separated from girls, etc.), and make sure they are neatly folded. It is often easier if pants and shirts are all folded the same way, with the sizes being as obvious as possible. That will help people make less of a mess as they dig through the piles. Re-folding is a constant necessity, but how you fold in the first place can help a lot. No one wants to dig through a table full of thrown-together clothing. That is a sure-fire way to keep your items to yourself. Hang up dresses, skirts, and nicer shirts if you can. People won’t buy what they can’t see.
Set up your other tables in a logical order. Keep dishes near glassware, keep linens together, etc. This setup will help people who are in search of specific items find them more easily and possibly purchase coordinating items. Having a variety of items for sale will keep people shopping, and hopefully buying, longer.
Sometimes a little bit of elbow grease is worth it when you can collect a higher price for your efforts. It sounds simple, but clean up clothes, knick knacks, dishes, and other household items if they need it before you display them for sale. Customers will more readily buy a clean item than a dirty one. That applies to stained or torn clothing and broken items as well. Getting rid of those items before the sale starts will greatly enhance the value of the rest of your merchandise. You don’t want your sale to look like it’s a bunch of junk.
Clearly price your items. Often if people have to guess about a price, they will just walk away instead of asking. Use wisdom with this practice, however. Do not use masking tape on leather or wood. It is also good not to use tags that are not sticky enough – there really needs to be a balance. Remember that sticky things get stickier if they are left to sit in the hot sun. I have learned the hard way to make sure tags will not leave a mark before I buy something at a sale. Many times, I haven’t purchased something because the price tag ruined it.
Price things wisely. If an item cost you $5 to purchase new, you probably shouldn’t charge $3 for it unless it is barely-used or in exceptional shape. There is a balance needed in this area, as well. If your prices are too high, you won’t sell much. But if prices are too low, you won’t make enough money to justify your efforts. Check out other sales in your area to see what the going rates are for certain items.
Don’t forget the FREE box! It sounds kind of silly, but having a free box is always a good idea.
And finally, advertise! If your town has a local advertisement newspaper, seriously consider paying the $15-$20 fee. Definitely use Craig’s List – just be careful about what you advertise. You don’t want thieves to feel inclined to show up as well. Utilize great signs with large arrows on them. Put them at strategic corners where commuters will see them and be enticed to follow them to your sale. It’s also helpful to have plastic flags or a few balloons to hang out front. More people will come to your sale if you advertise well.
There you have it! Spending a little extra effort in planning, setup, and advertising can help your garage sale experience to be both a positive and lucrative adventure.