Spring cleaning, decluttering and having a garage sale go together like peanut butter and jelly. With just a little bit of planning, selling your good junk can turn out to be a profitable endeavor. Here are a few tips from a veteran of garage sales.
I love garage sales. Years ago, every time I would visit my mom and dad, my dad and I would enjoy a morning of dad and daughter time by shopping the local garage sales. He would have the newspaper want ads with the best locations already circled and numbered. The numbers helped us to stay on course and get to the sales early. That’s important when shopping garage sales.
But this post NOT about shopping at garage sales. It’s about selling.
How to Make Money With a Garage Sale
You need a little bit of a plan: when, where, and what you will need. I have a FREE checklist for you a little further down.
We are going to start with assuming that you already have in mind the junk or good stuff that you want to sell.
I have a garage sale once a year. I would say, “whether I need to or not”. But the truth is I always need to have a garage sale at least once a year. As I have been cleaning, decluttering and purging, I price as I go. I keep a garage sale box or boxes.
1. Decide When to Have Your Garage Sale?
Pick a date and time. Be sure to check the weather.
The weekend is best. Pick a weekend close to the 1st or 15th of the month. That is close to most folks paydays. You could have one just on a Saturday morning but I have found that a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning work well. By starting on Friday you catch buyers as they are getting off work and those that don’t like to get up early on Saturday morning. Friday for us started at about 2:00 pm and finished at 6:00 pm. Saturday morning, the advertised time was 8:00 am. But we were ready a little after 7 for those early bird shoppers.
2. Decide Where You Will Have Your Garage Sale.
This sounds like a pretty easy choice. Just open the garage doors and set stuff out, right? Not exactly. Some neighborhoods do better than others. Will you have it at your place? Inside the garage? On the driveway? In the backyard? On the front lawn? If there are several friends or a group that wants to have a sale, then you might need to have your sale on a parking lot or at a community center.
If I have a lot of my own junk it is easier for me to have a sale in my driveway. But this year because I didn’t have as much stuff as in years past, I teamed up with a friend and we had our annual garage sale at her house. An added plus was that she has a large, cleaned out garage. That was important for our Friday/Saturday sale. At the end of the first day, we moved what had not sold into the garage so that it was safe for the night. We didn’t want anyone to steal our good junk!!!
3. Decide What You Will Sell and What You Will Need.
You will need a good assortment of items. Household items, vintage items, and well-priced furniture pieces are almost always profitable. Gather your items as you do your spring cleaning or decluttering. As I clean out a closet or drawer and find items too good for the trash but are things that I no longer have a use for, it goes into the box. Put a price sticker on everything. It makes it so much easier the day of the sale.
Man stuff is always good for resale. Tools, CD’s, DVD’s, yard equipment.
FREE CHECKLIST A TIMELINE AND THE SUPPLIES WILL NEED
There are lots of tips, ideas, and suggestion on the internet but here is my timeline and supply list. Head over to my FREE GOOD STUFF LIBRARY to download and print. Subscribers get access to all my FREEBIES!!!
4. One month before:
Gather, price, and say good-bye. Make sure you know about city ordinances or license requirements. Our town does not require those.
Determine that you are the boss of your junk and stuff and it has to go! It is not coming back into your home.
Instead of marking individual small items at 25¢, put several similar items in a Ziplock bag and mark the price with a Sharpie. Sheet sets can be folded and placed inside the pillowcase and a piece of masking tape to tell what size sheets, how many pillowcases and the price.
I really try hard not to write a price on the item itself especially if it is vintage and might reduce the value. About those vintage items – they might bring a higher price on eBay or in an Etsy store. That takes a bit more effort but sometimes can be really worth the time. I sell at vintage market so my vintage items go to those shows first before going to the garage sale.
Don’t set your prices too high. Remember you want to get rid of it.
Don’t set your prices too low. You are doing this to turn a little cash. Make it worth your time.
This is a good idea, too. As you are pricing, go ahead and put your initial or initials on the price tag. That is just in case you and a friend or two go in together then you can keep the sales separate.
5. Two weeks before:
Round up plenty of tables. You will also need a table and chairs for a checkout area. Do you need a garment rack? Collect some plastic grocery bags.
2 saw horses and an old door or piece of plywood make a great table in a pinch.
6. One week before:
Check the weather. Put an ad in the newspaper. Make your signs or buy them.
Decide where you can post or mount your signs. Pinterest has a ton of cool garage sale sign ideas. Simple is better – Day, date, address and time.
Ask some friends or family members to help. It’s always more fun and easier when you have a few helpers.
Go to the bank and get plenty of change.
You will need 20’s, 10’s, 5’s, lots of 1’s and a roll or two of quarters. 25 cents is the cheapest items I sell so there is no need for other coins. Some of those early birds shoppers are notorious for coming to the sale with large bills. Get a bank bag, money box or an apron with good pockets. Do not leave your money unattended.
7. One Day Before:
Make sure you have your money. Have plenty of bottles of water. Warm weather sales can be a little rough. Gather up some snacks depending on the hours you will be having the sale.
If you have room in an enclosed area you can load your tables ahead of time but I usually just load them the day of the sale.
8. THE DAY OF THE SALE:
Set up your items for the garage sale. Get a helper to put out the signs. NOTE: More often than not, as soon as you put the signs out, the buyers will come.
Group similar items together.
Craft supplies go together, artificial flowers, sports stuff, books, baby items, clothing, kitchen goodies, and anything else you can think of.
Rearrange your goodies:
As you begin to see empty spaces, rearrange so that it doesn’t look picked over.
Record the sales:
If you have friends that are selling also then be sure to record the sales on a piece of paper or in a notebook. Use one column for you and another column for your garage sale partner.
My friend and her hubby had some large ticket items – a featherweight sewing machine, the collection of cast iron, several paintings, and some vintage ironing boards. She took photos and posted them on Facebook in some of the Trading Posts groups in our area. That proved to be very profitable for them.
If you have kiddos, let them price and sell their toys or stuffed animals. Or consider letting them set up a lemonade stand.
Don’t be afraid to deal, negotiate, or bundle:
At the end of the sale be willing to make some really good deals. You could offer “Fill a bag for $1.00” or 1/2 price 2 hours before the end and maybe even FREE stuff at the very end of the sale.
9. At the end of your big day:
Look at what is left. Be realistic.
Is it trash or can it be donated? DO NOT take your trash items to the donation drop off. Just go ahead and put the trash in the dumpster. Don’t take the things that you have decided to donate back home thinking you will save it until next year when you have another garage sale. Donate them!
10. And whatever you do, don’t pay for a storage building to store clutter. Get rid of it.
Take a deep breath. Count your earnings. Reward yourself for a job well done!!!
***AND REMEMBER TO TAKE DOWN ALL THE SIGNS YOU POSTED!!!***
With these few tips, you just might be able to have a profitable garage sale and clear out some clutter. I would love to hear if these tips helped you with your sale.
“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. Proverbs 31:17-18 NIV
“til next time,