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Garage Sale Do’s and Don’ts

Consider these tips when hosting your next tag sale.

It’s garage sale season! How does getting paid to have people take the items you don’t want any more off your property sound?

Garage sales are a great way to get rid of things you don’t use any more — from your old children’s toys to the multiple sets of dishes boxed in the garage collecting dust. Maybe you’re moving and need to downsize. Or maybe you’re just fed up with the clutter in your home. Whatever the reason, if you can make a few bucks while getting rid of unwanted possessions, it seems like a no-brainer.

But before you simply drag all your items onto your front lawn, know that there are a few strategies to holding a successful yard sale. Consider these do’s and don’ts:


Be realistic with prices - As a general rule of thumb, garage sale prices should be between 25 and 30 percent of the item’s original price, and even less if your true motive is to get rid of things. However, it’s also important to note that most people will bargain you down even more (all the fun of a tag sale!), even if you do start at a low price, so be sure to keep that in mind when pricing.

Present special offers - If you’re trying to get rid of one specific genre of items that you have multiple of (think books, clothing, stuffed animals, etc.), proclaim that if someone buys, say, $10 worth of items, they get a book of their choice for free. Or, price those kinds of items with some kind of deal attached to it (i.e.: Books are 25 cents each or five for a dollar, or if you buy one stuffed animal, get one free, etc.).

Advertise your sale - Spread the word by placing an ad in your local paper in the garage sale section. Typically, this section is also posted online. You can list when your garage sale is happening, your address, and the types of items you’ll be selling. Also, try hanging signs around your neighborhood, especially at busy intersections. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy: a piece of paper written with black ink, announcing the garage sale, with your address and a large arrow that people can see from their cars.

Label as many items as you can - Depending on how many items you have for sale, it may be difficult to mark every single item. But price tags let people know exactly what something costs without having to ask you — and if you’re busy helping another customer and someone is waiting to ask you about price, they may decide they don’t want the item and you’ll lose the sale. Tip: Label items that you want to get rid of most with “Make an offer.” This will intrigue your customers, even if they weren’t necessarily interested in the item in the first place.

Organize your items -  Make sure your objects are arranged in an organized manner. Invest in a few fold-out tables and arrange items in ways you see fit. Have a lot of golf items? Make a golf table. A wealth of electronics? Keep them together. Also, think about what types of things people might be searching for. For example, is Father’s Day fast approaching and are you selling gifts a Dad might like? Create a “Father’s Day” table with those items. The same items people might not have thought of as gifts are suddenly very desirable to those who forgot about Father’s Day.



Keep money out in the open -
Some garage sale hosts may think that a shoebox or even a cashbox is a good spot for their cash, but if you walk away from it, someone could easily access it. Instead, invest in a fanny pack to wear during the day and keep your earnings in it.

Follow your customers around - While you may be vastly interested in what kinds of items they’re browsing and picking up, chances are the customer is going to find you more off-putting than helpful. They might even think you’re suspecting them of stealing, and could get offended and leave. Instead, let them know that you’re there if they have any questions, but then keep to yourself.

Let haggling get to you - More often than not, garage sale goers are going to bargain you down — that’s just part of the fun! Don’t let it get to you. If it’s an item of sentimental value that you simply can’t bear to sell for even less than your original offer, simply explain that in a calm manner. The customer is sure to understand. 

Do it alone - Some of the most successful yard sales are when multiple families join in at once. Before the sale, see if you can get neighbors or friends on board to sell some of their own knick knacks. Not only are you bound to sell more items, but there’s someone to talk to when lulls occur (which typically happen around lunch time or towards the end of the sale).

Choose just any day - It may sound obvious, but the best times to host a garage sale are weekends from May through September. Also, try to avoid holiday weekends, as most people are on vacation or doing something other than garage sale trolling. If you’re able to hold a two-day sale, that’s great, but if you can just do one, Saturdays usually attract more visitors.

A garage sale is a great way to declutter and make some quick cash at the same time so get out there and get it done.


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