Tips for Garage Sales

Real Estate

They go by many names. Garage sale. Yard sale. Moving sale. But the concept is always the same; take stuff you no longer need or want, put it outside your house, and see if you can find any interested buyers. While it is 2019 and there are other, more technoligcally advanced methods of selling your unwanted junk, the good old fashioned yard sale is still effective, and dare I say, fun. If you're looking to maximize your profits, here are a few tips I've learned throughout the years.

Firstly, let's take a second to think about what customers you might serve. Garage sales are more like Wal-Mart or Target than Best Buy or Dillard's. It's a variety store, on your lawn, and not a speciality retailer. If you've only got one item type you're trying to get rid of, like clothes, or cooking utinsels, my suggest is to hold off on a yard sale. Use some of my other techniques for selling outside of yard sales I list off at the end of this article.

The thing is, people who stop into garage sales are never looking for the same thing. Typically, you got your looky-loos, antique hunters, those looking for bargain toys, housewares or clothes, and of course, your art fanatics. If you're looking to host a successful yard sale, you're going to want to cover most, if not all, of these categories. Clothes can be anything from baby onesies to three piece suits, housewares stove-top pots to furniture, and art can be anything from old records, cds, cassettes to paintings, statues and more. Think of your yard sale the way a buffet manager thinks of his or her restaurant, the more variety the better.

If you plan on selling electronics, appliances, or tools, make sure they work before putting them up for sale. Nothing is more embarassing than someone trying something out in your yard and it not working. Actually, there are far more embarassing things which can happen, but that is besides the point. Also, don't forget that your garage sale won't just be frequented by people looking for themselves. Antique dealers, junk dealers, and online resellers using Ebay and other such services will be rummaging through your goods, looking for a deal. If you've got some high priced items you want to maximize profits with, consider keeping them off the shelf for your garage sale and attempt to sell them elsewhere. More on that later.

When setting up, you're going to want to put price tags on everything. Don't undersell your products, as haggling is about as normal at garage sales as sand is at Pensacola Beach. Feel free to be firm on your prices, but I advise giving yourself wiggle room on price. For some, getting a good deal is part of the fun of a garage sale, so give your customers the experience they are looking for. As far as how to price, it never hurts to see what these items are going for online, in both new and used forms. A good rule to remember is pricing items anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of retail.

The bigger the item you're trying to sell, the more attention it will bring your sale. The cleaner your items you're trying to sell, the longer folks will stay and browse. Hang your clothes from clotheslines as well, as not only does it make your garage sale appear larger, you will be able to charge more per item than if it was just folded into a box or placed on top of a table/blanket. Use signs and balloons not only to attract attention to your sale, but to direct traffic away from areas of your property where you aren't selling anything.

As far as advertising goes, take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Craigslist to let people in your community know about your sale. There are even some garage sale specific websites you can try using to get the word out to enthusiasts. It never hurts to paint or draw up some brightly colored signs to plaster about town, but if you choose this route, be sure to collect your signs after the fact. You don't want to contriubute to littering! You can also place ads in your local newspaper, and if you have a neighbor looking to unload some of their stuff as well, you two can coordinate your sales and split the cost of any local advertising.

You'll want to hold your garage sale sometime between Thursday and Saturday, as those are some of the heaviest days for retail shopping. Be sure to check the weather forecast for several days leading up to your sale. You don't want to get rained out, especially if you've worked hard organizing your sale and advertising for a nice weekend day. Even indoor sales should think about the weather, as it is often a determining factor in whether or not people even leave their house!

If you've got some stuff that just isn't selling, you can do the usual and lower the price, but sometimes, I like to recommend the opposite. Higher price tags can give value to items; worthless junk isn't as sought after as treasure, after all. If you just can't move some items, give them to charity, or just leave them out for a day with a sign that says free. Don't forget, if you've got space, hold onto certain things. You never know when retro ice buckets or VCR's are going to make a comeback. Retro merchandise swings in and out of popularity, so holding onto some of your more unique items is never a bad idea.

Speaking of unique items, we are living in 2019, so don't limit yourself just to a garage sale. Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace and even Instagram are all places where big business goes down on the daily. If you've got a plethora of clothes to get rid of, there are businesses who will buy them. Your old cds, dvds, video games and whatnot can be taken to music shops, video game shops, or even pawn shops to create more space in your home. And, if you want to make a day out of selling your stuff but want to get out of the house, try renting a table at a local swap meet.

I hope this article has been at least mildly helpful for you all out there. Feel free to reach out to me on social media and send me your yard sale tips and success stories!