It’s no wonder National Garage Sale Day is coming up on August 12… It’s the perfect time of year to purge your unneeded belongings! You can clean house before your upcoming move, or just to make your home feel more spacious as the kids start to need their study spaces back. Unfortunately, garage sales often add up to a LOT of prep work with minimal pay off. Here are our top tips to hosting a profitable garage sale:
Time is Money
It’s easy to get bogged down by all the things you COULD do before your sale, such as individually pricing every single item with price stickers or hand making dozens of giant neon signs for the roadways. But some of these planning activities just aren’t worth your time!
When it comes to labeling items, consider the option of only pricing a few big ticket items and leaving the rest without tags. Usually, you have an idea of what each item is worth to you anyway…but you don’t really know what it will be worth to shoppers. If you don’t put a price on anything, you allow the buyer to come to you with a price that may be even higher than what you would have asked. It also gives you room to negotiate. And for small trinkets that will take forever to organize, you can set up a designated “Everything is $1” table at the corner of your sale.
Also, don’t waste your time before and during the sale trying to keep your clothing neatly folded as shoppers paw through the piles. Instead, invest in an inexpensive single clothing rack, or tie up some clothing line between two trees in your yard. This system also helps your customers peruse clothing more quickly and feel as if they’re in a store-like atmosphere.
Finally, you can also save some time by purchasing smaller neon posters as opposed to the big ones that require you to fill several square feet of space. Not only are the small posters just as eye-catching, but the larger posters are more difficult to secure and can flap around in the wind so drivers are unable to read them as they pass by.
Have a Party
One way to draw a larger crowd to your sale is by creating a larger sale. Invite your friends to join in your sale with their goods as well, and you’ll look twice as impressive to passersby! Drivers will be more likely to stop when they know they’ll have a wider selection to browse.
You should also keep some upbeat background music on to eliminate the awkward silence that sometimes comes with garage sales. The music will let your shoppers know they’re welcome to browse at a leisurely pace, which gives them more time to fall in love with more of your stuff.
It also helps to pull out any leftover party supplies you have from the kids’ last birthdays. Hang some balloons from your mailbox and porch rail to catch attention, and even hang some streamers around in a festive way. Cover your sales tables with those $1 disposable table cloths to help items stand out from the tables and look more approachable.
Run Your Sale Like a Store
As you set up your sale, think with the mind of a customer. When you go shopping, do you want to dig through piles of random items, or would you rather see items spread across the table neatly? Would you have the patience to kneel down and dig through a box on the ground, or would you prefer to see the contents laid out on a table top?
Try to set up your sales tables in aisles, like you would find at a thrift store. Have each table dedicated to specific categories of items, and order the aisles based on similar categories. For example, if your first table is full of kitchen items, it would make most sense to put bathroom or bedroom items next to it, rather than yard tools and auto parts.
In fact, you may want to set the yard tools, auto parts, and electronics of your sale closer to the sidewalk than everything else. Most boyfriends and husbands like to linger in the car or at the sidewalk as their significant others shop. But if you can catch their attention with items they enjoy shopping for, you may be able to double your clientele!
You should also set aside some time to clearly label the sizes of the clothing you sell, and then organize it in order by size and season on your rack. Customers may give up easily if they have to search through clothing that isn’t organized in any fashion, but if they know your system, they can skip to the section they need. If you’re selling accessories and jewelry, set these items up at a table next to the clothing and make sure each piece is easy to see. A pile of mismatched jewelry can be intimidating, but you can use jewelry stands, drawer organizers, or a foam board with pins to create a more visually appealing sales station.
Encourage People to Take, Take, Take
The point of your garage sale is not just to make money, but also to get rid of this stuff you don’t need anymore! There are plenty of ways you can silently push people toward buying more than they originally planned.
First, make sure you have bags on hand. If someone walking their dog stops by your sale, they’re limited in what they can buy without a bag to hold their purchases in. So for a few weeks leading up to your sale, save up your grocery and convenience store bags to re-use with your customers.
You may even want to have a “bag deal,” especially near the end of your sale. Tell your customers that when they pay $5 or $10 for a bag, they can take as many items as they can fit inside of it. This way, your customers feel like they’re getting an awesome deal while you continue to unload the junk.
Next, remember your big ticket items can make the most money, but only if you can convince someone to go through the hassle of making space in their car to take them off your hands. (Pro Tip: Give us a call to move those belongings for them!) Before the sale begins, make sure you clean those bigger pieces of furniture up nicely so people can picture them in their home without having to mentally peel back the dust and cobwebs first. You can make those items even more enticing by offering to “throw in” something free if a buyer purchases them. For example, if someone agrees to buy your couch, throw in that cozy-looking blanket you’re selling at the home goods table. Or if they want to buy your son’s old bedroom desk, go ahead and throw in the pen organizer for free.
Also, don’t forget to have plenty of every form of change you may need. You don’t want to lose a sale because you ran out of one dollar bills too early! Keep your change in a fanny pack or apron so it’s close to you at all times and easy to access.
Finally, when you only have an hour left in the sale, put up some “50% off EVERYTHING!” signs to really encourage people to take the items they were possibly on the fence about. You may not love the idea of cutting your potential revenue in half, but think about it this way… You won’t make any money if you put those items back in your garage, and you’ll be saving a trip to the thrift store.
When the Sale is Over
When everything has ended and you’re trying to figure out what to do with the remaining merchandise on your lawn, check out our list of local non-profit organizations who pick up donations for free! This way, you don’t have to figure out a time and way to get to the other side of town during operating hours of a non-profit who may not even be able to take the items you want to donate.
Is there a specific non-profit you would like to help who isn’t on our list? Give us a call or text at 615-248-6288, and we can give you a free quote to let you know how much it would cost to transport those items with professional movers. No heavy lifting for you!