Tips and Tricks for a Successful Garage Sale

  1. Be clear on the purpose of your sale. Are you selling things to make money or to get rid of them? This question affects everything you do, from how you price things to how willing you are be to negotiate. Surprisingly, you can often make more money (and get rid of more junk) by pricing things low. If your goal is to get top dollar, you may want to consider directly selling on eBay or Craigslist.
  2. Get cash. Get a roll of quarters, a stack of twenty-five $1 bills, and a few $5 bills. Plan to do this at least two days before the sale. 
  3. Prepare your staging area. People will be more inclined to stop if you set up shop in your yard or driveway. Make your sale inviting and easy to browse. You can lure customers by placing highly-desirable items near the road.
  4. Go over ground rules. Make sure that everybody working the sale is in agreement. Be clear on your bargaining policy. Make sure your cash/change is secured at all times. Agree that nobody will bad-mouth the merchandise.
  5. Think like a customer. As soon as you’ve opened and fielded the initial flood of shoppers, walk through your sale as if you were there to buy something. How does it feel? Are things clearly marked? Is it easy to move around? Or are they placed neatly on shelves or tables? Would you pay $10 for that porcelain cat?
  6. Display items to their advantage. Are folding chairs leaned up against something? Unfold lawn chairs to them look inviting and comfortable.  Are your books on the ground in boxes? Display books on shelves if you can. Open grill lids, and show off the inside and the controls, etc.
  7. Promote expensive items. Big-ticket items can be tough to sell, but you can do it with a little extra effort.  Display big ticket items with owner’s manuals and other documentation, available like an Amazon printout with pictures of accessories, if your displaying a camera for example, etc.
  8. Play background music. It can be a little uncomfortable to visit a garage sale (or to host one) when there is complete silence in the yard or driveway. But don’t play offensive music either — play something appropriate for your audience (and your neighbors!).
  9. Make it easy for shoppers to test electronic items. If you’re selling electrical/electronic items, make sure you have an extension cord handy so that people can test them. No smart person is going to just take your word that your television “works great”. They’re going to want to see it in operation. Also, have some batteries on hand so that a prospective buyer can test the game player, etc.