MASTER THE ART OF ORGANIZING AND HOLDING A PROFITABLE GARAGE SALE ANY TIME OF YEAR WITH THESE PROVEN TACTICS TO HELP YOU GET ORGANIZED, DECLUTTER, AND CRUSH YOUR GARAGE SALE GOALS.
Organizing a profitable garage sale isn’t for the faint of heart. It means dedicating oodles of hours and cherished energy to guarantee a successful outcome.
Reflecting back, I can clearly remember days of garage sales past. And I bet the reason I remember them so well is because the planning process and execution was quite the ordeal. Admittingly, it didn’t help that we lived out in the country, basically compelling our family of five to load and transport an RV chock-full of goods to make the sales at our school or church parking lot.
Don’t worry—even if you don’t own a ton of items you’re anxious to part with, it’s still absolutely possible to hold a profitable garage sale. Simply follow these eight proven tactics to rehome your goods, make some coin, and have some fun in the meantime.
The sooner you know you’re going to hold a garage sale, the better. And as soon you know, start preparing!
I’m not suggesting to clutter your guest room or garage with boxes of belongings six months in advance. That’s too soon! Rather, begin preparations up to a few weeks prior to the event.
Dedicate a centralized location in your home to temporarily store the items you’ll be selling. As you go, organize each item by price or category. For example, if you plan on selling a box of odds and ends for $1 each, store those items together. Or place your utensils and coffee mugs in a container dedicated for kitchen supplies.
Most importantly, price your items as you go! Keep color coding labels (like these for sale on Amazon) nearby and every time you drop off an item, price it! Applying this technique to your garage sale prep will save you time (and headache) in the long run.
Price accordingly and clearly
Your upcoming garage sale is an awesome way to declutter and earn some cash. But if you’ve ever been to or organized one, you know it’s not reasonable to expect top dollar. Even if you’re selling that name brand purse in excellent condition.
With this in mind, there’s a fine line between pricing accordingly and giving stuff away.
Take the following into consideration when pricing your garage sale items:
- Age and condition
- Supply and demand for your area
- Negotiation wiggle room (shoppers will haggle)
- Listed prices on Etsy or eBay for valuable belongings
Typically, I find I can make more than expected on electronics, furniture, and lawn equipment. Including broken lawn equipment. Remembering this helps me to price these items right each time I hold a sale.
Additionally, to streamline your event and avoid unnecessary confusion, price your items ahead of time. Pricing each item individually or all items you display in one location during the garage sale (like on a table or in a box), can drastically reduce potential chaos. It eliminates the need to produce a reasonable price on the spot and frees up your availability since shoppers won’t need to ask.
I love these labels when pricing my items. They’re vibrant (read: eye-catching) and you can write any price your heart desires versus the pretty, yet limiting, pre-priced labels.
Invite a friend
Have you ever driven creepishly slow by a garage sale, carefully inspecting the seller’s inventory from the comfort of your cozy little seat? But you don’t want to actually stop because from the looks of it, they don’t have all that much to offer. So you assume you won’t find anything of value?
Yeah, me either. 😉
Actually, I witness this quite often at my semi-annual community garage sale. Meaning, I’m the one sitting in my driveway watching potential sales coast by. The culprit? A sad display of mish-mash goods. Mainly because I felt compelled to participate to take advantage of the uptick in traffic, despite not really having much to sell.
So if you find yourself organizing a garage sale with minimal inventory, invite a friend or nearby family member. Their addition will attract more shoppers, plus give you facetime with your friend or loved one (and help them declutter, too!).
Spread the word
Technology and social media make advertising your garage sale a cinch. Craigslist is a garage sale advertising go-to, but you can also promote your sale on Gsalr.com, YardSales.net, and GarageSaleFinder.com.
Most definitely advertise with a garage sale sign (or two or three) down the street and at your neighborhood entrance. Place your signs the morning of the big day to attract drive-by shoppers, and follow these suggestions to create a readable sign that commands attention:
- Use neon-colored poster board large enough to ensure your details are readable from a distance
- Write up your information clearly using a large-sized permanent marker
- Include the word “Sale” (Garage Sale or Yard Sale) and your street address, along with the day of the week and time frame you’ll be selling
- Draw up an arrow to guide the way
Ramp up for the big day
Unless you have coins and cash stashed away, plan for a trip to your bank or financial institution. You’ll need to withdraw money in order to make change. Typically, I withdraw $40. To make things garage sale-friendly, my withdraw looks like this:
- (2) $5
- (20) $1
- (40) 25¢ (aka $10 in quarters, please!)
You never know what your first sales will bring, so it’s best to be prepared from the start.
Next, it’s time to move your items as close to your driveway as possible (or into your RV if your garage sales resemble my childhood experiences!).
At our house, garage sale items are typically stored in the shed. However, we move everything into our garage the day prior. This helps us save time and energy the morning of our sale because we can simply move our goods from the garage straight to the driveway.
Be the early bird
Typically, I make it a point to set up my garage sale early. This means I usually like to have everything ready to go by 7:00 am.
This isn’t early enough for my neighborhood.
Early risers show up around 6:30 am. But at that time, I don’t have half of what I want to sell ready to go. And I’ve found that the early shoppers are (more often than not) ready to purchase pricier items—furniture, electronics, and tools or lawn equipment. How do I know? Because they’re asking for these types of goods specifically.
If you want to make the most out of your day, I highly suggest being completely ready to make your first sale when you know shoppers will start arriving. This time can vary depending on your location. If you’re not sure what time this is for your area, I recommend asking your friendly neighbors for insight!
Bring on the homemade breakfast goods (or any other tasty noms)
To keep things legal, please check your city’s regulations before selling homemade food at your garage sale.
Despite extra preparation (and perhaps waking up a tad earlier), selling homemade goods can be a huge success. Alternatively, if you would rather steer clear of the kitchen, consider purchasing tasty baked goods or bottled beverages in advance.
Where I’m from, tacos are a staple. As in, it’s considered perfectly normal to eat tacos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—within the course of one day.
So for us, making breakfast tacos (specifically, sausage and egg) is a no-brainer. They’re relatively easy and cheap to make, taste delicious, plus earn us at least double what we spent on ingredients and supplies. Did I mention they’re a hit? Texas folk love tacos, but for the sake of making a profit, it’s best to consider what type of treat would appeal to those in your area.
Stick it out
Most likely, you’ll experience a traffic lull here and there. So when you’ve had a long, exhausting morning, it’s 11:00 am and you haven’t seen any cars in the last 30 minutes, it’s tempting to close up shop.
Hold the phone!
Trust me, I’ve been in the same boat. However, every time I’ve decided to stick it out, sales follow. And for some reason, things pick up again once 12:00 pm strikes.
Now each time I hold a garage sale, I’ll at least wait until noon rolls around. This increases my odds of making those final sales, thus ensuring a more profitable garage sale. In my mind, I’ve dedicated treasured time and energy to arrange a successful event, I might as well make the most of it!
What are you top tactics to ensuring a profitable garage sale you can be proud of?