7 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

Clean out your closets and make a little extra money with these easy garage-sale strategies.

Sign for yard saleThayer Allyson Gowdy

5. Advertise Each Item’s Value

Make sure all your items are clearly marked with price tags, which will discourage bargain-hunters from offering a bargain-basement price on items that aren’t marked. We recommend setting your kid up with masking tape or blue painter’s tape and letting him go to town once you’ve decided on the prices. After shoppers take their items home, they can remove the tape without the sticky residue that stickers usually leave.

For bigger items like furniture, make large price signs so shoppers aren’t searching for that small, elusive price tag. Try these tips to spruce up drab items:

  • Put (half used) batteries in that remote controlled car so shoppers can test it out.
  • Have an electric outlet available so customers can try plugging in their just-purchased blender or lamp.
  • Many of your items were probably once featured in catalogs or online. Clip out old ads of your camera or Amazon printouts of kids’ toys (with the original price, of course).


6. Don’t Overprice

The main thing to remember is not to overprice. Although it’s nice to make money, clearing out that excess clutter should be your ultimate goal. A good rule of thumb is to sell things for one-half to one-third their original price. Your kid might be very attached to that old stuffed animal, but even though it’s super cute, it’s still a secondhand product to a new owner.

Also, try to price things with round numbers–25 cents instead of 15, $2 instead of $1.80. This way, you’ll avoid juggling loose change and making math errors when calculating totals.

7. Be Thoughtful About Checkout

Instead of putting all your money in a tin, both you and your child can tie on your cutest aprons with pockets so you have cash on you all the time (assuming she’s old enough to handle the money, of course). Have lots of small bills to make change for customers, and when they’re ready to pay, tally up their items and keep a ledger of what you sold for how much. Once your customers have selected their treasures, have your kid help them wrap up breakables in newspaper and provide bags for easy transport. As the day winds down, don’t be afraid to lower prices or offer everything half off.

Stick with these rules of thumb and you and your child should have a successful garage sale on your hands.

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