Garage Sale Tips

Garage Sale Tips

Garage Sale Tips

By Leon Carlson Founder of Mister Find IT

Garage sales are not looked at as a profit source for most people.  Shortly after we got started in reselling we got much of our merchandise from storage locker auctions.   Many times we purchased truckloads of stuff that had to be resold.  But even if you’re buying a few things here and there from thrift stores or from live auctions, anyone can set up a garage sale to resell items, and should make a profit.  As I lived in Minnesota at the time I only had a few garage sales a year, but also profited $1500 – $2000 per sale.   Your situation and location will have a lot to do with your garage sale success, but these how to have a successful garage sale tips will help increase your bottom dollar.

Garage Sale Tips for Success
Garage Sale Tips for Success

 

Garage Sale Preparation:  Whether you’re selling your excess around the house or if you’re buying things to resell at your garage sale, before you have your sell: CLEAN, PRICE & PACK, at least ten bins of items to sell.  Store these bins in a closet, the garage, the attic, your living room or where ever you can find room to do so, just DON’T RENT A STORAGE LOCKER.  Clothing may hang on rack or in the closet till sell day.  DON’T SCHEDULE YOUR SALE until you have at least ten bins of items, nobody wants to come to a small sell.

Let people know where to park
Let people know where to park

If you’re going to spend a day or a weekend of your life at a garage sale, you may as well make your time worth it. 

Show them your sell is worth stopping at.  If you have a lot of dirty items, people will see your items as trash.  While some people will ask about un-priced items, most won’t.  Even myself, I like to dicker, and if I have to ask your price, and then try to dicker it, we both feel insulted when I turn down your price.  Most of the time I’ll not purchase anything from a un-priced sale.  If you have it priced ahead of time, I know if I’m getting a deal, and where to go for my dickering price.  You can always pass on a deal, or say I’ll give you that price if you take XYZ (similar items) as well.  Now they may dicker on the first item, but feel they are getting a big bargain when they bundle, and you get rid of more items.

Have A Lot and Price Everything
Have A Lot and Price Everything

Garage Sale Pricing:  Pricing your garage sale items can always be changeling, but here are the guide lines I have used with much success.  These are general rules, and not written in stone, you know your area and items better than I do.  For non clothing items price the items at 1/3 or ½ of similar items selling at Wal-mart.  If you can’t price your items in this range, and still make a profit, you probably paid too much to began with.  Clothing should be priced, not as X for this pair, and Y for this pair, but rather ALL JEANS X$, ALL SHIRTS X$, ALL SHOES X$, etc.  Most if not all of your items in your garage should be $20.00 or less, exception would be for larger items, like nice furniture or appliances.  When I was in Minnesota very few people dickered my prices, now in Texas almost everyone wants to dicker.

If you’re in a high dicker area, raise these prices by about 25%, and then dicker down to where the price would be if you were not dickering. 

People come to a garage sale because they want to get a deal.  If you have a lot of designer items, antiques, or items you feel are worth a lot more, they should not be sold in a garage sale, you should do some research and then sell them online like on Bonanza or Craigslist.   Also many items will sell at the odd in between price.  Instead of .50 cents or $1.00 try .75 cents, or instead of $5 or $10 go $7.50.  This strategy works well, especially if it’s not abused.  People are used to start dickering at 50 percent of what an item is priced, with the thinking if I ask this, he’ll say a price in between that and I’m good.  When you price at the odd price, they have a hard time dividing it, because it don’t come out at a normal asking price.  It’s easy to say would you take $5 for a $10 item?, but not so easy to say would you take .38 cents for this .75 cent item or $3.75 for this $7.50 item, so if they want it, they just pay the asking price. During your sell keep notes as to how many people came to (or viewed your items), I use stroke counts on my notebook.    Then at the end of the sale if you have had say 50 -100 sets of eyeballs on your items, and it didn’t sell, as you’re packing up, re-tag the item with a reduced price.  And your next sale is already priced and ready to go.  I’ll go through three pricing cycles like that, and at the end I may throw away 1 bin out of 20 to be non sellable items, where as many people will throw out 1/3 of a sales total items, as they deem them un-sellable.

Garage Sale Pricing
Garage Sale Pricing

 

Garage Sale Arrangements: Many may feel the arrangement of garage sale items don’t matter but it does, and can have a major impact on your sale.  Many years ago, my brother in law was staying with me, and while I was gone on vacation, he had a garage sale in the same location as I, where I sold at least $1500 worth of stuff.  He had all the clothes bunched up on the tables, no prices, and stuff placed on the tables in the order it came out of the bins.  He did less than $30 dollars for the weekend and said there was no money in reselling.   First off I never sold clothing at my garage sales, any clothing I got out of a storage locker, went right to the Salvation Army (after my kids took what fit them).  But if I had sold clothing I would have arranged it first by color, then by size.  People don’t like to shift or move every piece of clothing, but if their favorite color jumps out at them, they will dig for their size.  You’re just making it easy for them to find what they want to buy.

Garage Sale Clothing
Garage Sale Clothing

As for the hard goods, try to arrange like items together, like toys on a table (near the front, kids have to pass it on the way in and out), office supplies, and kitchenware each have should have their area on the tables. And like wise with other items.  What would you buy from the grocery store if you found a few bottles of ketchup in with the eggs, and some meat among the cereal, and some more ketchup with the soda pop?  Probably not much.  People like to see things organized, they want a deal, but don’t want to dig through every item, or see clutter.    Don’t put things on the table so close, that if something is removed it’s going to knock over something else.   Put a finger space between all sides of small items, and a fist space between larger table items, and a leg or body space between items laid out along the driveway or larger items.

If you can, move your sale out of your garage, and perhaps even put up a canopy or two.  What sale are you going to stop at, the one that looks like it has a few tables in the garage, or the one that says

SOMETHING BIG IS GOING ON HERE”!

Morning of your garage sale post on Facebook in your local buy and sale board – give a brief description with your address and post only a few pictures, showing your sale from a distance so prices are not shown, and you’re not showing everything on the tables.  Don’t answer FB questions.  Why should I come to check out your sale if I can see everything from my phone.  You want them to be intrigued to get off the couch, come to your garage sale and spend some money on something they didn’t know they needed.

Garage Sale Sign With Address
Garage Sale Sign With Address

Garage Sale Advertising:  This is the area of garage sales that perhaps is my pet peeve, it drives me crazy!  I can be from out of town and going through your town or city, and I see a small garage sale sign on the corner that has your address and no arrow.  How the heck do I know where Jackson street is?  Besides that I’m probably going 30 – 50mph (the sign above was in a 60 mph zone),

What am I suppose to do SLAM ON MY BRAKES?  Stop and enter your address in my GPS, just to come to your sale with a few baby items? 

Big sign with an arrow
Big sign with an arrow

In most cases a large sign with an arrow and no address will do just fine,

BUT GIVE ME AN ARROW!

Now if you can, put the address inside the arrow. The above sign was also in a 60 mph zone, which sale do you think I stopped at?

THE BIGGER THE SIGN

THE BIGGER THE SALE!

When I lived in Minnesota I lived on a double lane highway with a 1,000 cars an hour going by.  My nearest neighbor was ½ mile away.  If I had only put a sign at the end of my driveway, most people would have been zooming by at 70 mph before they saw the sign.  Even though they saw a large sale, most likely they would not turn around to come to the sale.  I put a 3’ X 2 ½’ sign a ¼ mile before my driveway, with an arrow pointing into a corn field, they saw that sign, and may start slowing down.

 

Big Garage Sale Ahead
Big Garage Sale Ahead

As soon as they looked back up they were closer to my sale, to which I had a delivery truck at the edge of my yard with a sheet clothes-pined to the side of the truck – 4 foot lettering, and a table (on its side) at the end of the driveway saying – Parking with an arrow directing to an off the road parking spot.    I had nothing inside the barn, but I had stuff lined up all around the outside, both sides of the driveway, and two trails of items between the barn and the highway in the yard.  I also had two canopies set up, this had the people saying

“I’ve got to stop at that garage sale”. 

Put stuff in the yard - not inside
Put stuff in the yard – not inside

Now in Texas I don’t have that garage sale set up.  I live 12 – 15 miles from the nearest town and there are cows over the fence of my back yard.  I have to draw the people in.   My best results with this case was to make large signs (3’ x 2 1/2’ – about the size of a realtors sign) that were consistent in color (neon colors work well), had a large arrow (with address inside the arrow) and each sign told how many miles before the sale.  You also want to do something unique to your signs.  Mine say 7AM till 1PM or degrees .  It gets hot in Texas and most sales end by noon, sometimes it can be 85 degrees by 10 AM, I’m telling them you want to check my garage sale early.  I know some people that have great success having a garage sale in the evening, as that works for them after work (and nobody else is doing it, so people want to check it out).  Be creative!  Some garage sale sign ideas.

“I Threw Him Out!  Just Kidding Having A Yard Sale” 

“My Trash Is Your Treasure Sale”

“Man Cave Sale”

I don’t list the days of the garage sale on my signs, as something may come up and I can’t be open one of the planned days, and I re-use the signs.   So I put my signs out each day of the sale.  I have found Wednesday, Thursday (1st before all weekend sales), Saturday and Sunday to be great days.  Out of the $1500 I made, I would only do $50 on Friday, so I stopped being open on Friday (people are too busy, pay bills first, shopping, heading out of town, planning for the weekend, etc).  But on Sunday, noon till 3 or 4 in the evening they are heading back home, coming from church and are more than willing to take some of your garage sale stuff with them.  If you’re having a neighborhood garage sale, don’t just open your garage, put a sign in your yard.  I may be a block or two away, and if I don’t see a sign, I may turn at the next intersection, missing your sale altogether.

I’m going to end this article  by saying when your garage sale is OVER,

DOG GONE IT REMOVE THE DARN

GARAGE SALE SIGNS!

Next post I will cover different venues for reselling.  Until then have a Great Day!

(If you don’t think you’re having a great day, just try missing one.)

What’s your garage sale pet peeve?

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