This is part four of the garage sale series, and so far the first three parts have all been about planning. Planning a successful garage sale takes a lot of work, but the better prepared you are, the less time setting up your sale will take and the more items you’ll sell. Now it’s finally time to talk about the sale itself. If you missed parts one, two and three, be sure to read them here. Stay tuned for the final garage sale post coming soon.
Second only to advertising, attractively presenting your items is the best tactic for making the most profit and getting rid of the most stuff. You want to make shopping at your sale as easy and enjoyable as possible. Presentation is key in causing people to stop rather than drive by, and items presented well are more likely to garner a higher selling price.
Draw a Crowd
Sell drinks. Be cautious about selling food as there may be a city ordinance against it. Offering chilled canned soft drinks or bottled water is a safe bet and will make you a little extra money and also draw a crowd, especially on a hot day. I always love stopping at a garage sale lemonade stand, too, especially on a hot day. When our toddler, Anna, is a little older, I think helping her run a lemonade stand would be a great way to introduce her to some basics about money.
If city and neighborhood ordinances allow, use flags or balloons to draw attention to your sale. We always place a large sign in the front yard to confirm that we are having a sale and not just cleaning out the garage.
Put larger items closest to the road, and line the driveway with any furniture or colorful baby equipment you have for sale. Some people driving by will stop to look at one particular item that caught their eye and may end up buying more.
Arrange and Organize
Display all items so they can easily be seen by spreading them out, and consider making signs (eg. “Decor,” “Children’s Clothes” and “Books”) for a more polished look. Consider how department stores or mass merchandisers display their wares and follow their lead.Group similar items together. Kitchen utensils should be placed near bowls, plates and table linens. Display all toys in the same area. Children’s clothing should be hung according to size and labeled clearly. Clothing that cannot be hung should be neatly placed on tables or in bins according to size and gender.
People want to know they are buying a functional item, so provide an outlet or extension cord for customers to test electronics or appliances. Keep batteries handy for testing battery-powered toys. If you have the owner’s manual for an item you’re selling, make sure to keep it handy.
Avoid putting small items on the floor or ground. We create extra tables by stacking two towers of Tupperware boxes, placing a plywood board on top of them and covering them with a sheet. We like to take the work out of looking through our items by as many as possible at an easy to reach level.As items are removed throughout the sale, I rearrange to fill in the gaps. We always get at least one compliment about how well organized the sale is–I think our shoppers appreciate it and it works out well for us, too. The tables are always pretty cleared off by the end, making our hard work worth the effort. For more ideas, I encourage you to check out the site Best Garage Sale Tips that a reader pointed out to me in a comment on a previous post.