As the weather warms up and spring fever hits, you might feel more inspired than ever to spring clean your home. Why not refresh your home and refill your wallet with a neighborhood garage sale?
These tips will help you get garage sale ready.
1. Get Organized
Sure, we all want to declutter, but that’s easier said than done. However, a yard sale is the perfect way to get organized. Walk through your home with a box or bin and open every cabinet, closet, and drawer, collecting anything you haven’t used in the last few months or no longer want. Don’t neglect forgotten areas like garages, basements, attics, sheds, or anywhere else where your stuff hides.
Organize your items into three categories: keep, sell, and toss.
- What to keep: Most of your possessions will fall under the “keep” category. Use the six-month rule to stay on track: If you haven’t used it in the last six months, get rid of it. You’ll probably come across things that have sentimental value, like childhood mementos or old photo albums. It’s OK to keep these things – just find a better way to keep them organized.
- What to sell: If you’ve identified the things you’re willing to part with, then by all means, sell them! If something doesn’t sell at your yard sale, you can always donate it, toss it, or try to sell it online or through a garage sale app.
- What to toss: Broken furniture, torn or stained clothing, user manuals, old receipts, magazines, old electronics – some things aren’t worth keeping or trying to sell. Just make sure you properly dispose of electronics. Best Buy has an appliance and electronic recycling program that can give you gift cards for your trade-ins. Your community might offer a similar electronic recycling program too.
2. Get the Word Out
If your community has a neighborhood-wide annual yard sale, you’re in luck! But if you’re hosting your yard sale on your own, you’ll want to get the word out. Ask your neighbors if they’d like to participate to make the sale a bigger draw. You could also hang clearly marked garage sale signs throughout your community and post to your local Facebook, Nextdoor, or Craigslist pages. Don’t forget to include pictures of unique or big-ticket items to encourage more foot traffic.
3. Have Cash and Coins Ready
Don’t miss out on making a big sale because you can’t make change! Stock up on some smaller bills and coins. You could even accept mobile payments through apps like PayPal, Venmo or Zelle to give customers more options.
4. Follow the Garage Sale Pricing Guide
When it comes to selling your stuff, the price has to be right. Price your items too high, and they won’t sell. Price them too low, and you’re losing out on an opportunity to make more money. It’s simple: if you want your stuff to sell, you have to price it to sell.
Don’t forget that you’re selling all of your unwanted items because you no longer want them. Try not to attach too much sentimental value to things as you price them, and don’t jack up prices assuming everyone likes to negotiate. Not everyone comes to a yard sale prepared to haggle, and you might lose a sale if the price is too high.
You could add room for negotiation by pricing bigger items 15-20% above your minimum. Mark price tags as “firm” on the items you aren’t willing to negotiate on.
If you’re not sure how to price your items, this garage sale pricing guide should help:
- Baby clothes: $1 to $3 for gently worn clothing, or fewer than $1 for well-worn items. Name-brand clothing with original tags can be priced higher.
- Adult clothing: $3 to $5 for gently worn clothing, or more if tags are still attached.
- Shoes: $5 to $7
- Coats: $10 to $15
- Jewelry: 50 cents to $2. If you have nice jewelry, you may want to have it appraised first.
- Books: $1 for hardcover books, 25 to 50 cents for paperbacks
- DVDs, CDs, records: $3 to $5. If you have rare records in good condition, you may be able to make a little extra cash by trading them in at a record store.
- Electronics: No more than 1/3 of the retail price. New items in original packaging can be sold at half the original price.
- Toys and games: $1 to $3
- Home décor: $3 to $5
- Furniture: $10 to $30 for low quality or well-worn pieces; no more than 1/3 of the original price for gently used, well-made pieces
- Antiques: $100 or more. Antiques may be more valuable than you realize, so have them appraised first.
Make sure everything has a price before the sale starts. Use neon stickers or blank labels from the dollar store to tag your stuff. Just don’t put stickers on anything that adhesive could damage, like a nice wooden chest. Low-tack painters tape is a good alternative.
It also helps to keep things organized by pricing items individually, but there is an exception for groups of similar items, like books and DVDs. Encourage bulk buys by posting signs that read “books 50¢ each” or “DVDs 2 for $5.” While adult clothing is usually a tough sell at garage sales, children’s and baby clothing tend to move quickly. You could offer a “fill a bag for $5” deal to really get things rolling.
5. Merchandise, Merchandise, Merchandise!
Shoppers will feel more inclined to make a purchase if your items are neatly displayed, so put in the extra effort to make your merchandise look more appealing. You don’t need to go crazy – it’s a garage sale, after all – but a little prep work can go a long way.
Group similar items together, like a table full of dishes, kitchen appliances, or books. Inflate bike tires, basketballs, and soccer balls with air. Scrape the mud out of your kid’s old cleats. Sort clothing by size or type. Wipe scuff marks off of dress shoes with a little shoe polish. If something needs batteries to run, pop in some half-used batteries so shoppers know the item works.
Keep an extension cord handy so shoppers can test anything that needs an outlet. Place a mirror near clothing and accessories. Move some of your big-ticket, eye-catching items toward the curb to attract shoppers. Play a little music – just make sure it’s appropriate and something everyone can listen to.
Set up a check out station, complete with bags and newspaper to wrap up items. You could even put your “junk” in a free box. If it’s still there at the end of the day, either donate it or throw it away.
It may seem a little excessive to pay this much attention to merchandising, but putting effort into your presentation could help make your yard sale even more successful.
6. Keep an Eye on the Clock
Price your items to sell at the beginning of the day, but keep an eye on the clock and be flexible. If stuff still isn’t selling come early afternoon, you may want to lower your prices.
7. Get Rid of Your Leftovers
No matter how much effort you put into merchandising your garage sale, you’re bound to have some leftovers at the end of the day. Instead of putting your castoffs out on the curb with a giant “free” sign, why not try to make a little more cash?
Post something on your community’s Facebook page, Nextdoor group, or local Facebook Marketplace, or use a garage sale app like LetGo, OfferUp or VarageSale. Craigslist is always a trusty standby for selling big-ticket items, like TVs, couches and furniture.
Garage sales are a ton of work, but follow these tips and put in a little elbow grease, and your preparation should pay off! Just don’t let your profits go to waste.
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