Hold a Money-Making Garage Sale

A successful garage or yard sale doesn't just happen. Following these steps will make your sale painless and profitable.


Give yourself time to prepare:

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  • Select a sale date at least two to three weeks from when you need to prepare.
  • Weekends are best, but avoid dates that conflict with holidays or special events.
  • Consider holding a joint sale with friends, neighbors or relatives to attract more customers and sell more items.

Choose what to sell:

  • Scan your attic, garage, basement, closets, and other storage areas for items.
  • Practical items such as appliances, furniture, dishes, books, plants, kitchen utensils, antiques, toys, and clothes sell best.
  • Don't sell things that are broken, cracked, badly stained, etc. That makes buyers wonder whether your other items are also of similar quality.
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  • Visit other garage sales to get a feel for prices and be realistic when pricing your items.
  • Purchase self-adhesive tags at an office supply store and affix a tag to each item.
  • For joint sales, keep a log of items sold or mark price tags with seller's initials.
  • Be prepared to reduce your price to get rid of an item.
  • Sweep and wash out the garage until it looks and smells clean.
  • Arrange display tables for easy access and viewing. Rent or borrow more tables if needed.
  • Display items that are clean and in good shape. Group them in the categories found in stores.
  • Set up temporary racks to sell clothing. Hang the clean clothes by size.
  • Polish the wood and clean the upholstery of sale furniture.
  • Remove lingering odors with air freshener.
  • Provide an electrical outlet for customers to see the appliances work properly.
  • Display books, videos, record albums, and CDs spine-up for best readability.
  • Display odds and ends and mark them all at 25 cents, or set up a few free items to stimulate buyer interest.
  • Encourage return shoppers with a two-day sale. Post a sign saying prices will be reduced the next day.
  • Take bids on expensive items. Ask customers to fill out a card with their names, phone numbers and bid, then sell the item to the top bidder.
  • For best results, don't skimp on advertising. Flag your best items to attract the most buyers.
  • Advertise "cash only," if that's your preference, then post a "cash only" sign at the sale.
  • Advertise in shopper newspapers. Post notices on bulletin boards in grocery stores or laundromats. Post signs in visible places on the day of your sale to attract customers. (Check local ordinances regarding signposting first.)
  • Keep plenty of change available -- $1 and $5 bills, and $5 in small change should cover everything.
  • Ask neighbors in advance not to park in front of your house on sale day.
  • Keep your own driveway clear for extra parking.
  • Ask a friend or relative to help you collect money, wait on customers, or stand in for you.
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