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It’s garage sale season and we want you to check out some of our tips collected from Krrb staff as well as advice from garage sale pros.
Seasoned garage salers can tell if they want to stop at your sale within the first few moments of reading about it online or driving by. Make sure your messages are clear, your sale is enticing and the layout is inviting for people to stroll and stay awhile.
Begin gathering items well ahead of time. Any time you clean or organize, start putting aside those old odds and ends you can live without. Stash them in a box labeled “garage sale” and start adding items little by little. Then, a week before your sale, be ruthless. Get rid of anything you haven’t needed in a year and de-clutter your life.
Register and Advertise
Register your garage sale in your city. Some communities require garage sale registration and perhaps a small fee. Make sure you avoid fines by registering your sale. Be sure to list your sale on Krrb and other local community boards to let your neighbors know about your event.
Lean on Friends
Make it a family or neighborhood ordeal. Ask friends if they have anything they want to sell and if they can help on the day-of. We’ve found that keeping track of friends’ prices can be difficult and result in silly arguments, so we don’t recommend asking for pieces that your friends want to make a ton of money on. Ask them to come over and be part of the fun!
Make your signs huge, colorful and not too detailed. That’s right, don’t include tons of information of what items are for sale (that’s what your Krrb listing is for), and instead take up space with huge lettering and clear arrows. You don’t want people struggling to read your sign as they drive by.
Use one bright poster board color and plant signs every two blocks and at every turn. In their great marketing post, All Things Thrifty recommends putting balloons on signs and including words like HUGE, MULTI-FAMILY and BLOWOUT if they apply to your big sale. If you live in a city, chalk up the sidewalks a few hours before your sale and provide an address and sale times.
Vintage Revivals likes to have a little fun with promos by marking signs honestly: “Awesome crap this way!” and “Hoarder’s sale!”
The Beautiful Stuff
As you set up your sale, think like a store-owner. Arrange glassware into interesting settings and group like-items. But don’t stop there. Create engaging arrangements that show people how they could use the items. Put a great lamp on a desk and line up a few leather books on top. Create centerpieces to display the items. Remember that these are other people’s new treasures, and not your junk. BestGarageSaleTips has more ideas for arranging items.
Once you have your items laid out, walk away from your sale for a minute. View it from the street, as if you were a first-time visitor driving by. Does the shop look organized and appealing? Are big items like furniture and TVs easy to see and appealing? Are there a variety of items visible from the curb so that groups are more likely to stop?
The Cheap Stuff
Bag It, Move It
Just get excess out of your life. Without making the sale look junky, package a few cheaper items together and offer a wholesale price. Jewelry odds and ends? Pack a sandwich bag full and mark “Craft/Jewelry grab bag $2.” As your sale winds down, allow people to stuff a sack full of books or clothing for $5. Got mismatched cords or broken electronics? Be honest, mark it “for parts” and offload it for just a few dollars.
Have a Free Pile
Put stuff you don’t think will sell in an area marked with a huge “free” sign. People will stop by and see what you’re giving away. If they take something and have a conscience, they might feel bad and buy something else anyway. House of Hepworths has more killer organization tips for cheap items.
Organize by Size
This is especially helpful for parents shopping for hand-me-down kids clothes. Put paper signs down on tables and hang dividers on racks that indicate size.
Tie a string between two trees and hang up all your apparel. Avoid the lazy act of piling clothes on tarps. This looks dirty and uninviting. You want people to browse and dig around happily.
Organize by Outfit
Pair matching accessories with a great blouse and skirt. Help people imagine what they would do with your items and how they could wear them.
Make it Loud and Proud
This is the time to bust out that 1980s fanny pack. Having your money on hand means you can move around your sale and talk to people without worrying about cash. The last thing you want to worry about is someone walking off with bills from a money box.
Cash on Hand
Have twice the number of quarters and singles you think you’ll need. You never want to run out of change.
Donate, Donate, Donate
If your primary goal is to downsize, then get rid of all the leftovers. Take them to a salvage store or the local Goodwill. Dump all that excess off and take a deep breath. It’s out of your life!
Get Cash and a Hauler
If you want to squeeze a few more dollars out of your sale and have someone else take the stuff, create a classifieds ad that says how much you’re willing to take for someone to haul away everything. And we mean everything. Make your terms clear: “$50 for everything leftover from garage sale. Bring a truck. You pack and haul it all.” Surely someone out there wouldn’t refuse that offer.