7 Tips to Make Your Garage Sale a Success

Garage Sale

(Flickr, slgckgc)

A garage sale is a great way to get rid of some of your excess belongings and make a little extra money in the process. However, not every garage sale is a success. If you don’t follow these tips, you’re likely to end the day dragging everything back into the garage, instead of celebrating your hard work.

1. Promote your garage sale in advance

Yes, this means you’ll need to staple those “Garage Sale” signs to light poles. It also means that you need to make sure that everyone you know is aware of your upcoming garage sale. Consider making a Facebook event and inviting all of your friends. If you attend a book club or social group, announce the garage sale to the other members. It’s even appropriate to let your coworkers know about the garage sale; your old exercise bike or record collection may be exactly what they’re looking for

2. Arrange your items in a visually pleasing way

You’ve probably seen those garage sales where it looks like someone just threw a bunch of old clothes and books onto the yard. Don’t be that person. Stack your books neatly, hang your clothing on a rod, and display everything as attractively as possible. If you want, think like a grocery store; create “reduced price” sections, put your most attractive items at the corners of your display, and do everything you can to create a visually appealing setup that makes people want to stop and take a look.

3. Look like you want to talk to customers

Your appearance and attitude is everything. If a potential customer walks by and sees you absorbed in your phone or scowling at the ground, that person is probably not going to engage with you and start browsing your items. Look like you want to talk to customers. Smile when people walk by. Say hello. The more approachable you look, the more likely people are to approach you.

4. Be willing to negotiate

The most important part of your garage sale is getting rid of your stuff, not selling at the maximum price. Be willing to negotiate, and ready to make a deal. If someone wants to give you $100 for your used sofa, instead of the $200 you think the sofa deserves? Swallow your pride and make the sale. In the end, you’ll have $100 and you won’t have to drag your sofa back indoors, and that is a win-win.

5. Be ready to do math and make change

If somebody approaches you with a $3 item, a $5 item, and a $1.50 item, and hands you a ten dollar bill, how many nickels does that person get back? You have to be ready to count money and make change on the fly, without slowing down your checkout process. After all, if you take too long with one customer, another customer may get fed up and leave.

6. Have a way to process credit and debit cards

Lots of people don’t carry cash around with them, so make sure you have a way to process credit and debit cards. Square and PayPal both offer free card swipe attachments that turn your smartphone into a credit card reader. That way, anyone who stops by your garage sale can take advantage of your great deals, without having to hunt down the nearest ATM.

7. Know what you’re going to do at the end of the day

If you still have a lot of items left over at the end of the day, you have a few options. People are going to expect you to give steep discounts, and many people only visit garage sales during late afternoon specifically to take advantage of these deals. You can also decide to extend your garage sale for another weekend, and try to see what else you can sell. Or, you can take the drastic approach: everything still on the yard at 5 p.m. is free.

Having a garage sale is a great way to earn some extra cash and offload some old stuff. Use these tips to make sure your sale is a success — and don’t forget to have fun!