Six Steps to the Best Garage Sale Ever

Getting ready for your garage sale is as much about finding the right state of mind as it is about finding things to sell.

 

In order to get in the garage sale mindset, one might first watch a few minutes of Marie Kondo or Clean House, and perhaps an episode or two of Hoarders.

 

You know who you don’t want to be!

 

Once you are serious about getting rid of what you no longer need, you are ready to follow these simple steps to prepare for your garage sale or perhaps plan a neighborhood yard sale.

 

Just follow these 6 simple steps to the best garage sale

 

  1. Thoroughly clean in unusual places. Your living room might not have a lot of excess junk in it, or the dining room either. You live in those spaces and regularly tidy up and get rid of useless items. This is a time to tackle the back of the garage, a basement closet, or those boxes you never unpacked from the move.
  2. Don’t throw anything out – yet. Some people suggest doing an early cull and throwing away the “junk” before setting it out. But for most homes, your collection of unwanted items is relatively small. Lots of garage sale visitors work from a list of addresses and drive by the site before deciding whether to stop. Having lots of stuff entices people to stop by and browse.
  3. Set a date and advertise as your budget allows. Local paper? Social media? Printed fliers on the library bulletin board and neighborhood telephone poles? It’s all about your budget and time. Usually ads are relatively cheap. Some local papers offer a coupon for one free ad a month to their subscribers – take advantage of it!
  4. Label your prices – but be prepared to lose a haggle. The fun of a garage sale is getting money – any amount of money – for something you were about to throw away. Too many people end up throwing out or donating items after having asked too high a price during the sale. Now you not only don’t have the money, but you have one more thing to haul away. Everyone loses in that scenario.
  5. Combined garage sale? Use colored labels and keep a sheet at checkout with the actual negotiated price, to make dividing up the money at the end relatively easy. And don’t quibble over a few dollars here or there. Money left over and unaccounted for? Split it? A small dispute over the remaining $5? Hand it over. You have already won by cleaning out your space.
  6. Resolve to never let those items re-enter your house. After the garage sale, look at what’s left. The broken phonograph, the bike parts, the clothing. Some of these items can NOW be labeled junk and thrown in a curbside rental garbage bag, or perhaps into your own trash. The rest can go to a charity where they will find a new home. You’ve already thrown them away once. No sense taking them back in the house and having to throw them away again later.

Create a Neighborhood Yard Sale

There are many problems with garage and yard sales. There is gathering stuff together, deciding on prices, putting it out on display that morning, and lots of other logistics. This includes advertising.

 

You could advertise in the local paper, Craigslist, Facebook, with neighborhood fliers, and other social media. Few people have the resources to advertise in any broader way.

 

So the real problem is, you are unlikely to draw a big enough crowd to sell everything you hoped to sell.

 

That’s if you do it alone. You don’t have to do it alone. By doing a little extra prep work, you can divide the effort and multiply the crowd you get for your neighborhood yard sale.

 

Create a neighborhood yard sale:

 

Here’s a quick overview of how to create a neighborhood yard sale.

 

  1. Pick three dates that work for you, the further in advance the better. It would be ideal to be six months in advance, but even two months might be enough.
  2. Give these dates to your neighbors in a flier (put it in their door handle, not their mailbox!) Or just talk with three or four of them.
  3. Then pick the consensus date.
  4. Ask for one volunteer to do each of the following:
    1. Design fliers that provide the date, times, and location of the neighborhood sale
    2. Post those fliers in visible spaces around your community
    3. Create a .jpeg image with this information that multiple families can share on their own social media account
    4. Plan for removing unwanted items at the end of the day – some to a dumpster rented for that purpose and some to a local charity
  5. If feasible, add the following fun tweaks, assigning one per person:
    1. Get the street blocked off
    2. Invite a food truck
    3. Add a face painting booth
    4. Allow other neighbors from outside of your neighborhood to sell from your space
  6. Send a reminder two weeks before to all your neighbors – it’s time to clean and prep items for sale, including marking them with tags and setting prices.
  7. Clearly mark the price on items and, if more than one family is selling from a particular garage or yard, use different color tags to help divide the money at the end of the day
  8. Buy something from a neighbor!
  9. Help your neighbors clean up

 

Hosting a neighborhood yard sale can draw a larger crowd than an individual garage sale. More importantly, if done well, it can build a sense of community.

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