Planning A Garage Sale

Garage Sale

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Every year our neighborhood holds a huge community garage sale. Though we had garage sales when I was a kid, in the ten years we have been in this house, we have never participated in the community sale.

I have sold a few things on Ebay and craigslist, and a Facebook yard sale page, but my success has been hit or miss. I don’t have a lot of time right now to make weekly trips to the post office or to meet in a parking lot to make an exchange. We have years worth of baby clothes, and though I have been able to pass on our girl clothes to someone who needed them, I haven’t had much luck selling our boy clothes or the baby equipment we have left, never mind the skis my husband and his sister used in the 80s, endless boxes of books I KonMari‘d this past year, and wedding gifts from ten years ago we never really wanted and have been storing in the basement.

Since I don’t have a lot of experience, I reached out to members of a frugal Facebook group and asked for their best tips. I’ve devised a plan using their advice and I thought I would share it with my readers. The sale is on April 30th, and I will check back in and let everyone know how it went.

The Plan:

  1. Create a “garage sale” pile in the basement. I know it’s a big job to gather everything together, so I am making a corner of the basement to pile things over the next month.
  2. Price everything- but price things using “batch” prices if you can. The skis will be listed for $40, but the books will be $1 each for paperback and $3 each for hardback.
  3. Offer a “bulk discount” if possible. I am going to do this with books by selling 4 for $3 for paperback and 4 for $10 for hardback.
  4. Price a little higher than you want so you can haggle down- but not too much higher.
  5. Hang up clothes or lay out on a table rather than jumbled in a box.
  6. Stack books in boxes with spine facing out for easy reading.
  7. Have lots of change ready.
  8. Put the most interesting pieces out by the edge of the driveway to pull people in.
  9. Have bags available for buyers (we have a huge stockpile in the basement).
  10. If it’s going to be hot, keep a cooler full of water bottles and soda on ice and sell for $1 a bottle.
  11. If you expect a crowd, think of selling food. (I am considering my homemade cinnamon rolls recipe, which costs me $0.50 for 14 and are easy to make ahead, freeze, and bake the morning of the sale. Maybe hot dogs for lunch?)
  12. Get up early and be set up by 6:30 to take advantage of early birds.
  13. Plan to be exhausted by the end of the day and anticipate you won’t want to cook. (I think it will be a pizza night).
  14. Put an extra sign up in simple clear lettering with your most interesting pieces listed. (I think I will have one that says “Cold Water! Fresh Cinnamon Buns! CDs! Boys Clothes! Books!”)
  15. Have something to keep little kids occupied. (I think I will put the water table and bubble machine in the front yard.)

What do you think? Any tips from seasoned garage salers?



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2 thoughts on “Planning A Garage Sale

  • I know you already had your sale and learned some things, but here’s some of my 2 cents from experience. Every other garage sale has kids selling food and lemonade or water so you aren’t likely to get a lot of those sales and kids are often disappointed. (Although, something different that smells really good (like cinnamon rolls) might do a little better. Hang up all the clothes you can and make sure you pull all items out of boxes. Try to put as much as you can on tables. Older people can’t bend down to look at items. You didn’t mention how you advertised but I would make sure you put an ad on craigslist as well as posting LARGE signs with arrows from the main road to your street. The signs can list one or two items/categories on them but people are driving and really just need the basics (date, time, address.) Don’t even bother listing food or drinks on a sign as most garage sales have those and no garage salers are going to come for that reason. If it is bad weather and you plan to hold your garage sale regardless I would note “rain or shine.”

    • Good tips! Ours is a huge community sale that is heavily advertised by our HOA, so there was no need for advertising other than hanging a sign on our mailbox.

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