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wishelly 08-28-2002 09:08 AM

Garage Sale Help
Hi all!

I'm getting ready to have a garage sale and I was wondering what your best tips for success are? Is it worth it to put and ad in the paper? How do you organize for the best results? What kind of signs do you make? Is it worth it to sell baked goods and soda? How do you decide to price items? I have a pretty good idea with the small stuff but what about a bedroom set or a full size fridge...what are fair prices for the big items? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks for you help and have a great day!


ajrsmom 08-28-2002 09:51 AM

Hi Shelly :)

Funny you should mention having a sale, Im having a moving sale this weekend. I have had very good sucess in the past with my sales.

I make sure that the items are clean first of all. I try to group all of the like items together.....I had a Christmas table, a kitchen table, an odd & end table, kids clothes are better if they are laid out by size & I hung all of the adlut clothes. I laid out all of the toys on a blanket so that the kids & parents coudl check them out. Bag similar items like coloring books, blocks, sm. kitchen items, kids socks...etc.... Make sure to price everything. I think that people feel more comfortable browsing by themselves and not having to keep asking for prices. Be flexible on your prices--Dont price it so low that you wont dicker with someone but not so high that its unreasonable. If its something that costs THAT much, it shouldnt be in a yard sale anyway.

It really pays for me to put an ad in our newspaper. It covers a wider area than I could ever advertise alone. I also buy neon colored poster board and make BIG signs. Make sure that you can read the signs from your many people make signs with the words printed so small that people just drive by and dont bother to stop. This is also where I spend the most money.....I put up a lot of signs !!

I find that if you put "eyecatching" stuff up front, you can draw people in. I also always have a "free" box that I fill with plastic cups, old toy cars, mismatched dishes, hats....etc. This occupies kids too and everyone loves digging through a box like that, LOL !! My son heads straight to those boxes at every sale. He has gotten an old metal truck, plastic cups for his sandbox and a giant stuffed toy catepillar that he loves !:rolleyes: !

I dont bother with food and drinks, I think they are just more time and energy than its worth but there are a lot of people around here who do sell stuff like that.

Be friendly !! Get out there and mingle. I hate to go to sales where I feel that Im wasting their time or Ive invaded a conversation because everyone just stops talking and stares at me. My Dh swears that I sell more stuff because I talk to people.

Last bit of advice......keep an eye on your stuff ! As much as you hate to think of this, people do steal from yard sales! Someone stole a Precious Moments locket from my last sale--the locket wasnt worth anything, I only had 75 cents on it ! If they really wanted it, all they had to do was say so and I wouldve given it to them. :mad: Also, make sure you have enough change in both bills and can bet people will hit you with $20 bills early on. Keep your money out of sight too, cant be too careful !!

Good Luck to You !!! Let me know how things go when you have it !!

Tami :daisy:

Shawn 08-28-2002 09:53 AM

How to have a Garage Sale
Advertising Your Sale

Advertise your sale in the local newspaper and at local grocery stores. Mention the date, time, place and any key items for sale, including what you're selling (i.e., gas grill, bike, kitchen table and chairs, etc.).

Making Signs

Place signs in your front yard (make them visible from the street), at street corners and at busy town intersections. Mark the sign with arrows pointing in direction of sale.

Purchase garage sale signs or make your own out of poster board (attach it to a wooden stake). Use stencil letters, stickers or print in permanent marker. Make letters large enough to be visible from the street. TIP: Hang helium balloons from the sign to attract more attention. And don't forget: Take signs down after the sale!

Displaying Your Items

Gather all your items you will be selling and set them up at least the day before the sale. It's always smart to be prepared for early birds who want first crack at your treasures. Another thing to remember, treat your sale like a store and make it easy for shoppers to sort through items.

Grouping Items

~Group items together (same as departments in a store)

~Set up tables or sawhorses with a plywood top to display items.

~Hang clothes, if possible, on racks or on a rope between two trees. Save dry cleaner hangers to display clothes. Mark sizes.

~Attach price label. Use plain or colored labels, hang tags or pre-priced stickers (save you time) to mark your items. Use different colored labels if you are having a multi-family sale (helps keep track of the sales).

~Have instructions and owner's manuals taped to items. Also, plug in electronics and have batteries in battery operated items so people know they work.

~Package small items that are alike (i.e., a bag of craft supplies; a bag of hair accessories). Then give the package a single price (i.e., each bag, $1).

~Put large ticket items, such as furniture, near the street to peak the interest of passersby.

~Take photos of large items and display on poster board (i.e. a bed or a mattress). This helps you from having to bring certain large items to the garage or the driveway. Of course you can physically show items to interested parties, but make sure to have a helper to oversee the sale when this is necessary.


~Have a cash box or fanny pack to keep money in one safe place. Also make sure to have small bills and lots of change on hand.
Be ready to negotiate! Shoppers are always looking for a better deal. Have help on day of the sale. Finally, donate leftover items to charity!

From Beverly DeJulio, Handy Ma'am

dawny75 08-30-2002 06:14 AM

I have to agree. A little prep work goes a long way with a garage sale. Our homeowners association sponsors an annual one so we won't have so many others during the year. About 100 houses participate on the same day. It's horrendous. Fun, but VERY CROWDED. The competition is fierce. The houses with the biggest crowds have a couple things in common.

Don't have it in the garage! Put it closer to the road. We have front garages, so everyone puts stuff in their driveways, and it spills over into the lawn.

Put the BIG STUFF where it's very visible.

If you have lots of something, like kids clothes, make a sign that says so and stick it in your yard.

Just like at the store, put the stuff kids want in the most visible place so they ask their parents to stop the car!

If you have helpers at the sale, have them mill around instead of ya'll sitting together. Business begets business. If people driving by think you've already got shoppers, they are more likely to stop by to see what they are missing. I personally HATE going to a GS and having the owner watch me every minute because I'm the only one there.

I don't do the newspaper ad, but I live in a heavily shopped area, so a sign on a couple main streets is all I need to bring traffic in.

preacherswife 09-02-2002 11:13 AM

If you live on or near a major road, you might have a successful sale without investing in a newspaper ad. However, I recommend that you put one in, because you are doing a lot of work to have that sale. If the "right person" who wants what you have to offer doesn't happen by, you might not sell as much. An ad could raise your profits, especially if you have some special items.

Foxylady559 09-02-2002 02:32 PM

Garage Sales
Wow! Some wonderful ideas here.

I woud like to add that the date of your sale could make a big difference. A lot of people receive checks: SS, etc around the first and/or fifteenth of the month. So, more successful sales are listed around this time frame.

Rule of thumb: most garage/yard sales are to get rid of junk! If you don't love it, or have a place for it, put it in the sale. Keep prices low; do you REALLY want to rebox that item, or carry it back inside? How bad do you want to get rid of it?

Big items such as Refrigerators, stoves, heaters, washer & dryers, etc, may do better with a separate listing in the paper. Although many couches and other furniture items have been sold at yard sales, most of the people shopping there are looking for smaller items. Keep prices LOW....after all, this is bargain day. Your trash becomes someone else's treasure.

The last sale we had, my husband was considering turning Sunday into the "FREE" day. Anything left over could be had just by picking it up and carting it off. However, our prices were so low that we had nothing left over to give away!

Good luck,



nmygarden2001 09-03-2002 10:07 AM

I totally agree, mark everything.......I always feel more comfortable when things are marked. I hate to ask " how much is this?" You could mark certain tables for a certain price too. That helps sometimes, but people will walk around and lay them down anywhere too. :-P::
If more than yourself is having it, use different colored stickers, when marking items.
And if they don't help you, then charge them a small fee of 20% to make up for your time and energy doing so. :.
I think the cooler with soda is a great idea too. I am not sure about the baked goods though.
I am thinking of having one in about 2 weeks also.......8-) I like the idea of "free day ", usually if it doesn't sell, then I take it to Goodwill, Thrift Stores or even the local homeless shelter, if it is something they can use.

I wish you with best of luck with your sale, Karen :daisy:

janet 09-07-2002 05:20 AM

I find that pricing each item is too time consuming...what I do is make a sign for each table and put it in the center of the table. I make my sign holder from a scrap piece of wood...and drill a hole in it to put a small dowel rod in it...I attach a heavyweight paper sign to the dowel rod, with the price for the whole table..I have $1.00 tables, $2.00 tables, and so on. Big furniture I price individually and put those items out front to draw people in. I also put up a free table...usually all the stuff goes.

I keep my prices low because...I don't want this stuff! I always is not coming back into the house! Some of the shoppers have even paid us more than we asked...they are always saying to keep the change.

We got rid of alot of stuff at this years sale...We usually make between $300-$500. Anything that is left after the sale I donate to Good Will.

We live off of a busy street, so I usually have a sign on the busy street and find I do not have to advertise...I have found for us that a sale on Friday&Saturday works best.

I never worry about people stealing from my is stuff I don't want anyway and maybe they don't even have the $1.00 for the item. I find most people are honest...but one thing we do, is use a fanny pouch belt for our money, and empty it in the house when it gets too full.

My son always helps with the sale and we split the money. He loves having the sale because he always says "we meet the nicest people at our sale!" In our area of the country we are fortunate to live with hard-working, honest, people!


ajrsmom 09-07-2002 05:38 PM

Janet, I like your idea of the $1.00, $2.00...etc. tables. I decided to do this for my moving sale but unfortunetly, I did it on Sunday and didnt have very many people show up. The next time I think I will have the regular sale for the first day and 1/2 the second day and then mark everything WAY down on tables like that just to get rid of stuff.

I agree with you too to mark stuff low enough to sell. I mark them just a little above what I thinK I would pay so that you have some "dickering" room --no matter what prices that you have marked, they will always try for a lower price to feel like they got a bargain. ;-) :p

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