7 tips for throwing a successful garage sale Image

7 tips for throwing a successful garage sale

By Sumiko Wilson on Jun 09, 2016

Whether you’re strapped for cash or needing space, hosting a successful garage sale is a fun and efficient way to earn extra money without venturing beyond your driveway.

Once spring cleaning is complete and summer is in full effect, many often feel compelled to purge their home of old belongings and make room for new ones.

Though donating to charity is always an option, by opting for a garage sale, you create the opportunity to put your profits towards summer activities with your family. Whatever doesn’t sell at the garage sale can then be donated!

Trading and selling online require less work but they lack the endearing face-to-face community appeal, plus it takes more time to get rid of a large amount of items. If you live in a condo though, getting rid of your possessions online is one of your only options.

Before your garage sale, consider the city’s bylaws, which only allow homeowners to host two garage sales per year lasting no more than two days each. Though homeowners don’t need a permit to host a garage sale, the bylaws call for the immediate removal of all promotional signs once it’s over. The city also discourages the sale of new, non-personal items, although this is not an official bylaw.

Throw a successful garage sale

Here are some tips for throwing a smooth, successful garage sale:

1) Smart advertising

The turnout at your garage sale has everything to do with the marketing leading up to the big day. A highway billboard isn’t necessary, but legible signs, eye-catching flyers and concise social media shoutouts can effectively get the word out to your neighbours and friends.

Consider timing as well; avoid announcing your garage sale too early because once there is a large window of time between the announcement and the date of the sale, people are more likely to forget about it. One week to five days notice will surely suffice.

2) Have a plan B (and C)

If it’s raining, nobody is going to come to your garage sale. Even if the forecast calls for clear skies and sunshine, there is always a chance of inclement weather, so be sure to have alternate days set aside just in case.

3) Anticipate lowballing

No matter the object, customers will try to negotiate prices, as they probably aren’t aware of the product’s history and won’t understand its sentimental value.

To avoid being caught off-guard by lowballers, establish your lowest price point for each product. On the day of the sale, once everything is in full swing and you are able to determine what is selling, this may change. Still, it is important that you are prepared for it beforehand. You may even find yourself more flexible towards the end of the sale because you just want to see everything go.

4) Have bags on hand

In the weeks leading up to the garage sale, save shopping bags from trips to the mall and the grocery store. These will be extremely useful on the day of the sale and your customers will appreciate it and maybe even buy more once they know they have something to carry their new goods.

5) Profit off of freebies

Garage sales are for making money, but there are benefits of giving things away for free. With a box of freebies, your neighbours will be more inclined to stop by and also feel like they’re getting a deal. Free baked goods is also a great way to stop passersby.

6) Carry more than enough change

On the day of the garage sale, be sure to have plenty of change on hand. Since people are paying in cash, insufficient change can deter sales.

You must also be careful with where you are keeping your cash. Avoid placing money in a cash box because it can easily go missing. Instead, consider wearing a fanny pack, as it is worn on your body and gives you more comfort and control with cash handling and storage.

7) Organization is key

Product display can make or break your yard sale. An organized, eye catching display will attract customers whereas a basic, uninviting set-up won’t entice passersby. Nicely displayed products can sway people to buy things even when they don’t need them (like in malls) so be sure to pay close attention to detail.

When you’re laying out products, consider the customers’ interests as well. For example, children’s clothing should probably be located close to toys, and books should be close to DVDs.

We hope that these suggestions help your garage sale go off without a hitch!

Sign-up for our Newsletter