Well, it's almost that time of year again when the garage sale signs will be popping up. Having a garage sale can be a great way to make a little extra cash. I usually have at least one garage sale every year and they have always been very profitable.
These are some of my suggestions for a successful garage sale.
1) First make sure that you know the laws in your area regarding garage sales. Sometimes you may be required to get a permit. Some housing developments may also have limitations on garage sales. So make sure you know the rules.
2) Decide on when you will have your sale. Check your local newspaper to see what days other garage sales are held. For example, in my area, Thursday is the average first day of sales. I hardly ever see sales on Monday's or Tuesday's. Check the forecast for the expected weather conditions the day of your sale. You want to avoid rain; too hot or too cold weather if at all possible. The best time's to have a garage sale are early in the spring when people are excited to get back to going to garage sales and again in the late fall when garage sale season is ready to wind down for the winter.
3) If possible get your neighbors together and have a block sale, you can draw an even bigger crowd of people to your sale.
4) Set up lots of tables and try to categorize like items together, similar to the way a store is set up with areas for clothes, house wares, toys, etc. Hang as much clothing as possible; it makes it easier for people to sort through than piles on a table. If you do have to put clothes in piles, make sure to sort them for men, woman & children and mark the tags with sizes. People are much more apt to look through the piles if they know the clothes are the sizes they are looking for. Keep things up where people can easily see things. Laying things on the ground, unless they are big items can get looked over easily. Put some tables and bigger items in the driveway to get more space.
5) Clean your items. Freshly launder clothes, Dust or wash anything dirty. Your garage should be clean and neat also. You want to make sure people are not turned off and want to stay and look for a while. Cover up or remove any items in the garage you don't want to sell.
6) Price items reasonable. If your having a garage sale, that means you want to get rid of things, you don't want to have to bring them back in the house after the sale because you priced things too high. If you have never been to a garage sale yourself. Take the time to go to some and get an idea of what things are priced at. You may have paid a lot of money for an item you are selling, but don't expect to get a lot out of that item at a garage sale. Telling the customer how much you paid for the item doesn't help either. They are out to get a bargain, not pay retail. The better you price your items the more you will sell. People tend to buy things they don't really need just because it's a good buy.
7) Make sure to mark things with a price. A lot of people won't stay long if you don't have your items marked, because they don't want to have to keep asking what the price is. You can either mark the price on a sticker or tag or use a color coded system where you use a different color sticker for each price, for instance red for $1, yellow for .50, etc. Then place several signs up to show what the colors stand for.
8) Advertise - you can put an ad in your local paper, list it on Craigslist, and put flyers up in your area at the grocery store, Laundromat or church. There is also a web site called Garagesalestracker.com that you can list your sale on. When you advertise the street address, also include the area, for instance (off Main between Central & South St.) this will help people find the location easier. Include in your ad the address, date, time and a short general list of the items you have for sale.
9) On the day of the sale put up signs near the busiest intersections near you, at the end of your street and in your yard. These signs can actually be one of your greatest assets when it comes to getting people to your sale. I see so many signs that are unreadable to cars passing at 35 to 50 MPH. People are not going to slow down to read your sign. Make sure your sign is large and simple. You only need to print Garage Sale Today and the address big enough to be seen easily with arrows pointing the way. I also use neon paper attached to cardboard to make my signs for a real eye catcher. Balloons are also a great way to catch attention. Make sure to put signs up that will point the way along the route to your sale.
10) On the day of the sale inevitably the first person will show up with a $20 for a $1 item, so make sure you are prepared with enough change. You will also probably get some early birds that will be standing in your driveway even before you open the doors, so you will want to make sure that you have everything ready before you open the door.
11) Make sure to keep the money close by. The best is to use something like an apron with pockets. There are people that target garage sales and work in teams to get you distracted while another person steals your cash box. So either have a person that sits with the cash box at all times, or keep it with you at all times. Also, I recommend you don't try selling expensive items like jewelry or valuable antiques, as they can also be stolen. You are better trying to sell them on craigslist or e-bay.
12) Once you start selling things, throughout the day, try to tidy up the tables and spread things out. I don't know why, but it seems that every time I move an item that might have been sitting there for hours it seems to sell within a very short time. So move things around, especially things you really want to sell.
13) Be prepared to bargain on the price. Buyers like to feel like they got a good deal, so if someone comes up to you with a bunch of items and asks you if you will take a certain amount for the lot, don't hesitate to make a deal with them. I rarely ever let someone put something back. If they want it, I'm going to make an offer they can't refuse.
14) And last, but not least, take down your signs at the end your sale!