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13 Tips for having a successful garage sale

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Jun 11, 2019 11:46:27 AM

Tips for a garage saleWhether you’re doing some spring cleaning, decluttering, or moving to a new home, having a garage sale can help you get rid of unwanted items. While you may not make a lot of money in the process, selling things you no longer need can benefit others.

Here are some tips to help you plan and organize for a successful garage sale.

1. Pick a date. Choose a date that’s far enough out so that the process isn’t overwhelming. You may not be aware of all the work that goes into holding a sale. If your city or town has a communal garage sale date, go with it. Otherwise starting on Friday and running through Saturday offers a greater potential for more shoppers.

2. Check on city ordinances. After selecting a date, check with your city or county clerk to see if they have any specific ordinances in place for holding a garage sale. If you live in a condominium (condo), and belong to the association, check the bylaws. You don’t want to get fined for violations.

3. Clean and organize your garage. If you keep your garage clean and organized, this won’t be a big project. If you’re cleaning your garage for the first time this season, give yourself plenty of time. While I understand it’s your garage, a nice clean appearance makes a difference. Don’t forget to clean or wash the items you sell.

4. Figure out what to sell. If you have kids, it’s easy to decide what to sell. Clothes they’ve outgrown or toys they no longer play with are good things to select. If you’re past that stage in your life and you’re decluttering your home, walk around the house, basement, and garage and write down the things you want to sell. If you’re unsure about selling something, create another list for those items.

5. Organize your garage by categories. Organizing your garage by categories can make it easier for your customers because they can pick the section(s) that interests them. Use boxes, coat racks, tables, or blankets on the floor to display your items.

6. Ask for help. If you want to have a garage sale, but can’t do it alone, ask for help. There may be kids in your neighborhood who can clean, do some heavy lifting, or even take items to a customer’s car on the day of the sale.

7. Extend the entrepreneurial spirit. If your kids want to help or be a part of the sale, let them. This can be a nice opportunity to teach them about what it means to be an entrepreneur. Let them be creative. They may want to bake items to sell or serve coffee.

8. Advertise. Advertise via signs on local, high-traffic roads a few days before your sale. Also check into online options likes Craigslist, your local Facebook community groups, or Nextdoor.com. Online advertising is great and an affordable way to expand your reach.

9. Visit the bank. Be sure to have lots of small change and petty cash.

10. Offer a “free” box. If there are items you simply don’t know what to charge for, consider a free box.

11. Pricing. Don’t intentionally overprice your items or you may be negotiating on every item you sell, or you won’t sell much. Also, make sure the prices are legible.

12. Be ready to negotiate. People always feel good when they think they got a good deal. If you have big-ticket items, in particular, think about your bottom line so you can negotiate more effectively. Or it may be better to sell these items online.

13. Be observant. While most of your customers are looking for a good deal, others could be using the sale to case your home. Never let anyone into your home, no matter how much they tell you they desperately need to use the bathroom. Even if you escort them inside, it could lead to an unwanted visit later. Direct them to the nearest convenience store or fast food restaurant instead.

Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.

Topics: Home Safety

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