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Front Page - Friday, September 18, 2015

Successful garage sales

Do It Yourself

April Sherrill

I have held many garage sales over the last ten years, but none of them were as successful as the last three. I am usually gathering items throughout the year as I replace something; therefore, I always have plenty of items for next year’s sale.

Personally, I love garage sales. I love talking to people, making money from things I no longer want or need, and honestly, I enjoy the prep work as well! Garage sales are either a love-them or hate-them situation, but either way there is no denying it as a sure fire way to make extra cash, often upwards of $100. 

Here are some tips that I always follow before and during the sale. I feel that these are why they are always so successful.

Throughout the year as I organize and de-clutter, I fill boxes that are labeled “garage sale” or “keep.” This way I know exactly what to pull out of my attic when it’s time to have the sale.

Always remember to start saving plastic bags about a month or two before the sale for people who buy multiple items. In my case, we use plastic bags daily in our home so I start a second pile to use for the garage sale.

Remember, the better centrally located the sale, the better the traffic will be. If you do not live in a centrally located neighborhood, talk to a family or friend and see if they would like to join in or just allow you to take up their driveway space for a couple of days. 

Garage sales are best held on a sunny weekend, in either late spring/early summer or late summer/early fall. Many people do not want to garage sale shop in the heat of the summer, or when it is cold outside.

I figured out last year that Friday seems to be a far better day of the week for sales than Saturday in our area; therefore, I try to hold my sale when the kids have a three-day weekend from school so the moms are active on that Friday. 

Gather as many tables as possible; beg, borrow, and steal as many as you can! Okay, don’t actually steal any, but get as many as possible. A great layout makes a big difference. People do not want to dig thru items or piles to see what is for sale, so having plenty of space is a necessity.

Designate a table for each category: kitchen, décor, toys, tools, etc.

Hang up all clothing, or at least as much as possible. Any leftover items should be spread out on a blanket so it can clearly be seen.

All small items need to be near the checkout area so you can keep a closer eye on them.

Make sure everything you are selling is clean and in working condition. If for some reason an item does not work, it needs to be clearly labeled and obviously marked down to compensate. 

Always take the time to clean all items that will be in the sale. Most people prefer to shop for clean items than things that are dusty and dirty.

Place all the large items on the curb, it will encourage people to stop and see what else you have.

Gather all the cheap toys and anything else that you don’t think are worth a quarter or more and put it into a box labeled “FREE.” Looking through this box always keeps the kids busy while the moms shop.

Price EVERYTHING! People do not want to have to ask the price on items. Make it simple by rounding to the whole dollar, and not going below 50 cents. 

It is better to sell it for half price than to have to haul it away to Goodwill the next day.

Use many brightly colored signs, but keep them the same color so they are easy to follow.

Advertise two to three days before the sale in multiple places. 

Make use of free advertising such as: Craigslist.org, Facebook, Garage Sale Finder, Yard Sale Search, and Yard Sale Treasure Map App. These websites and apps are all completely free to use.

A great way to earn even more cash and give the children an opportunity to learn a little bit about being an entrepreneur is to set up lemonade or baked goods stands. Other items that could be sold include: coffee, hot chocolate, donuts, bottled water, canned drinks, and popcorn bags.

These are the tips that I always implement when having a garage sale, which is a yearly event for me. Remember, clearing out your storage areas is a great way to make money and even have fun! 

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.