It’s a mystery how they figured this out, but did you know that Americans hold 6.5 million to 9 million garage sales each year? According to Encyclopedia.com, the practice dates back to at least the 1950s.
If you’re considering removing unused household items, the garage sale is the ideal way to do it, provided you take the time to plan and prepare.
A good garage sale starts with a good plan
The first step in the planning process is to choose a date for the sale. Sounds easy, right?
You may be sorry if you just pull a date out of a hat. Instead, consider that there may be competition for your event. Check to ensure no significant sporting events are happening, live or televised.
Also, check to ensure there won’t be any popular local events, such as fairs, festivals, etc. Although there are a lot of die-hard garage sale fans, even they will skip a sale if there’s something else competing for their attention.
Another way to ensure your sale is a success is to plan it for when it’s more likely your customers will have money to spend.
The Yard Sale Queen offers a brilliant suggestion: find out when employees of some of the larger businesses in your area get paid and hold your sale the weekend after payday.
Typically, folks get paid on the first and 15th of each month.
Consider the following as well:
- Make a sketch of the garage or yard, noting where the tables and racks will be located. Ensure there is room to walk between these items and that you can see all items from wherever you plan to be stationed.
- This one is tedious, but you’ll be so glad you took the time to do it. Create a list of everything that will be up for sale and how much you want.
- As something sells, cross it off the list and note how much you received for it.
- Price items clearly.
- Enlist help from family and friends.
- Round up an extension cord so that folks can test out electronics and small appliances.
- Save all of your grocery bags, Amazon boxes, and packing material. They will come in handy for fragile items.
- Selling clothing? The Yard Sale Queen suggests that you go through all the pants pockets, and compartments in purses, and fan out books to ensure no money or other valuables are hidden within.
The Day before the Sale
Now you must let everyone know about your super-fantastic garage or yard sale. Advertise it on Facebook, NextDoor, and other social media platforms you use frequently.
- Create signs that can direct customers to the home. Start placing them on the busy streets first.
- Get some change and small bills from the bank to make the change.
- Determine how you will hold the cash during the sale. A cashbox isn’t a good idea as it’s too easy for someone to walk away with it. A “fanny sack” that you wear around your waist or a wallet in your pocket is a much safer way to hold your cash.
Additional considerations for a winning yard sale
If you live in a gated community, getting people into the sale is more challenging. Contact your homeowners association (HOA) first to determine what rules they have about yard sales and if there are any restrictions.
Check local regulations to ensure your street signs aren’t violating any city or municipal codes.
Be aware of some of the more common scams:
- When making change, don’t immediately pocket the bill the customer gives you. Hold it in your hand or place it under a paperweight while you make change. This way, the customer can’t claim to have given you a larger bill.
- Large groups of customers arriving at once or rowdy children can be distracting. Have someone help you monitor folks when they may be deliberately trying to distract you.
- The Yard Sale Queen suggests that you always look inside any large items you sell before allowing the customer to leave to ensure something else isn’t hidden within.