Simplify and make some extra cash with these top garage sale tips that will guide you in purging items, getting them to sell, and getting rid of what doesn’t. This is what you need for your next garage sale success!
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably know that we had what I’m calling our Big Purge Sale. I had been planning to really eliminate a lot of stuff during the last year, so I’ve been looking at everything in our house with an “if I don’t love it or use it, it’s out of here” mindset.
That includes furniture that we’ve had since we first got married – you know, the things you find on the side of the road and fix up because it’s free? Yeah, 25 years later we still had those! My style is simplifying and changing, but I hadn’t let go of all my ‘collections,’ and I wanted to earn some money to be able to buy some furniture and decor that I do love.
I’m thrilled to report the sale was a big success! We sold a ton and made more than we have at any of our other sales, which I’m putting in a special fund that I can start (carefully) spending for the things that I do love. Since it went so well, and it’s been wonderful to lighten up and be able to earn money at the same time, I thought I’d share with you my garage sale (yard sale, tag sale…whatever you call it) tips.
Many are probably tips you’ve heard before, but I’m giving my take on them – and with the idea that this is for a purge sale – you want these things gone, period. Believe me, that puts a different spin on things – you’re just not as attached to anything with that outlook.
Garage Sale Tips
1. Use Craigslist
Duh. The days of paying for a newspaper ad are over. You will get all the traffic you need with Craig. I had read that you needed to start advertising a week or more in advance, but we didn’t start until the Wednesday before our Friday sale and we had lots of calls and traffic.
My extra Craigslist tip is this: list any special things you may have separately in the sale section that is appropriate (furniture, kids, etc.). You’ll get the right people interested and sell for a bit more than garage sale prices. For example, I had 13 preschool book-activity bags I made when I was teaching and I wanted them to go to preschool teachers who would appreciate them. Someone called within a few hours of listing them and bought all of them!
2. Have Good Signs
Or maybe I should say great signs. Make them BIG. Make the letters BIG. Use black letters on white or white on black. Don’t try to fit in too much info – just use arrows to point in the right direction and use lots of them to guide cars to your sale.
This really works! We’ve used these sale signs many times now and people always tell us that we’ve got great signs.
3. Hang Clothing and Linens
We hung a long pvc pipe from the rafters of the garage with rope so we could hang linens on one end and clothing on the other end. If you have lots of clothes, do your best to get them off of tables – it’s much easier to go through clothing when it hung up. It worked well for my material and linens, too.
4. Use Tables
Beg, borrow or steal – okay, don’t actually steal tables, but ask your family and friends for tables for your sale if you don’t have enough. No one likes to bend over or kneel on the ground to look through items and all but the die-hards will just pass by small items on the ground.
5. Think Like a Shop
Think of your sale as a little shop and stage it as best you can in your space (and with all your tables…). People will feel free to spend time looking through things because they are easy to find and fun to look through.
Have music playing in the background – we’ve found that many people are uncomfortable with silence and a stranger looking at them as they look through things. Music helps them feel at ease so they’ll spend more time looking – and buying.
6. Price Everything – and Think LOW
Make sure everything is priced either individually or as a group (i.e., hardback books $1, softback .50). This takes the most time (ugh- so.much.time), but don’t skimp on it – I know I’ve been to many sales that I’ve just passed over things without prices that I might’ve been interested in, but didn’t want to take the time to ask.
And here’s my best tip if you’re looking to really purge and make money: price low.
Many people were surprised at my prices – but then they bought a lot! I didn’t send as many things to the thrift store and so I made more money. In the past when I’ve tried to get more out of items, they haven’t sold and I had to take a wash on them.
It might be contrary to what you think, but if you really want things to go and you’d like to get money for them, price them to sell.
7. The Free Box
Don’t forget the free box! I stuffed it with things that didn’t really fit anywhere or were not worth pricing (I actually ended up with 2 full boxes!). People loved it and a number came and bought something else because they felt bad about taking the free stuff, even though I assured them it was okay.
8. Pack it Up & Say Goodbye
Sometimes it’s hard to realize that something you loved at one time didn’t sell. I had a few things I knew were worth a few dollars, but my other mission was to clean out and simplify. I wasn’t using it or loving it anymore, so it was time to say goodbye.
And seeing the trailer full of stuff that was cluttering up our space? That was all good – just like the wad of cash in my money box!