14 Yard and Garage Sale Tips for Success

14 Yard and Garage Sale Tips for Success

Hosting a garage sale isn’t as easy as throwing some old items out on your curb and hoping people show up and offer you loads of cash for your unwanted items. If you want to actually make money from a yard or garage sale, you’ll need to plan accordingly. Here are some garage sale tips you can use to make your next garage or yard sale a success.

Yard and Garage Sale Tips

Check the Weather

If you hold your sale on a cold or rainy day, you’re not likely to get a lot of foot traffic. So you’re not likely to sell a whole lot. While you can’t always know what the weather is going to be throughout the whole day, you can at least try to plan on holding your sale on a day when it’s supposed to be relatively warm and free of precipitation.

See if Your Neighbors Want to Participate

The bigger the sale, the more customers are likely to show up and make purchases. So if you have neighbors on your street who also have items to sell, you can make it into a larger sale or even a block sale to attract more potential buyers to the area.

Price Items Clearly

If you don’t put prices on things, your customers will be forced to come to you to ask what the price is every time they see something they like. Instead, you can save their time and your own by clearly marking the prices on each item. Or at least create signs that outline the price for each product variety.

Set Up Sturdy Display Tables and a Table for Purchases

You’ll need a variety of tables in order to hold a garage sale. You need tables to hold all of your merchandise, as well as tables for customers to lay down their items and for you to collect money from buyers. In addition, you need to make sure that those tables are sturdy enough to hold the weight of all your items, since you don’t want anything falling over while people are shopping.

Stock a Cash Box with Change and Small Dollar Bills

Garage sale shoppers pay in all different kinds of increments. You’ll have people handing you 20’s, 50’s and maybe even 100-dollar bills for items that cost just a dollar or two. So you need to be prepared with a variety of small bills and change in a cash box.

Provide Clearly Marked Parking

When shoppers show up to your garage sale, where should they park? If you don’t want them pulling up directly in front of your house or in your flower beds, make it clear where else they should go. If possible, put up or orange cones to indicate the parking spaces available to shoppers.

Set Up the Night Before

People show up to garage sales bright and early to get the best items. Even if you advertise that your sale starts at 8 AM, people are likely to show up at 7 AM. For that reason, it can be beneficial to get everything set up as early as possible. Get items organized and marked with prices the night before so you can just pull everything out in the morning.

Offer Beverages and/or Food for Sale

People are more likely to stick around and shop if they’re comfortable. So if they’re hot or thirsty, they might just leave before seeing that item that convinces them to buy. Providing bottled water for sale and even hot dogs can keep shoppers lingering longer, particularly if it’s a block or neighborhood sale, and can also boost your profits that day.

If It’s a Neighborhood/Block Yard Sale, Invite a Face Painter

Children tend to get bored quickly and yard sales and garage sales will not hold their attention for long. If you are able to, invite a college student or local art student to perform face painting for children. This enables their parents to shop while their children are having fun and the face painter gets to earn money too.

If a Face Painter Isn’t Available, Sell Balloons

Every child loves a balloon. If you can’t get a face painter to attend, consider selling balloons for a dollar each. This will keep children happy and engaged, freeing up their parents to browse longer. You can even go to the local dollar store and purchase mylar balloons for a dollar or two each. Then you can double the price on and sell them for $2 or $4 each.

Keep Items for Sale in Areas that are Easily Accessible

If people can’t get to your items for sale, then they’re not going to buy them. Don’t hide items up against the back wall of your garage or behind heavy barriers. Bring them out into the yard or driveway and place them front and center so that people can actually access the things they want to buy.

Advertise in Advance

To get more people to come to your yard sale, consider advertising it a during the week leading up to the sale. You can pay a few dollars to advertise it in the local paper, newspaper inserts, and online in social media and online boards as well. You can even get your yard sale included in various mobile apps that are sometimes included with newspaper ads.

Provide Clear Directions

You can also use signage around your home to direct people to your sale. Start at the main roads and then post clear signs with large text that’s readable from a moving vehicle at a glance and direct people right to your door, block or into the neighborhood where the sale is occurring.

Offer End of Day Specials

No list of yard sale tips would be complete without mentioning deals. Most yard sales and garage sales end between 2 and 4 PM. But you will get stragglers that arrive late for last minute deals. At 2pm, mark all of your items as 50 percent off, place a large sign out that advertises that, and watch all those items you do not wish to keep or haul back into your home vanish right before your eyes.

Garage sales don’t need to be complicated, but you do need to put a little effort into them if you want to see results. With these garage sale tips, you should be better suited to make your next sale both profitable and worth your time.

Garage Sale Photo via Shutterstock

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions
  1. Yes. It all starts with your neighbors. They are your main targfet market.