I’m not sure what thrills me most about having a garage sale: making some cash or seeing all the crap I don’t want anymore exit my space. A few weekends ago, I purged my house of four—four!—area rugs left behind by my home’s prior inhabitants, loads of baby clothes and toys, books, and a smattering of other goods. Between the garage sale and a handful of items I sold on Facebook Marketplace that week, I cleared over $800. I learned a lot in the process, too. Here are my top garage sale tips.
Tip #1: Don’t Go It Alone
A garage sale can be downright boring if you host it all by yourself. It makes for a long, exhausting, miserable couple of days. But if you join forces with a couple of friends? Well, then it turns into a two-day gabfest complete with day drinking. Lemon Shandy, anyone?
Is there still an immense amount of sweating, setting up, tearing down, keeping track of things, and counting money? Of course. But with friends around, at least you have someone to commiserate with.
Tip #2: Post Early and Often
On Facebook, that is. Many of the people who turned up at our sale said they found us on Facebook, where we had each advertised the event on our personal pages, in local sales groups, and on Marketplace.
We posted pictures of our best stuff up close so potential shoppers knew precisely what they’d find when they pulled up to the driveway. I even sold a couple of items to someone who couldn’t make it over to shop—since she was hosting her own garage sale that weekend—and we met up a few days later to complete the sale.
We infused some humor in our posts to let shoppers know just how much fun we are. And we are a LOT of fun. Just ask us.
Tip #3: You’re Selling Used Stuff on Your Driveway; Price Accordingly
Have you ever wandered into the clearance aisle at Walmart? You know, the one with stale cake decorations next to marked-down bottles of engine oil? That’s kind of how your garage sale looks to other people, and you don’t even provide an air-conditioned shopping environment or a receipt!
Price your wares accordingly.
If you think that hot pink blouse that hasn’t fit you since 2012 is worth more than three bucks, you’re probably wrong.
Better make it two bucks, just to be safe.
Tip #4: Be Prepared for Early Birds
I hadn’t even schlepped the last bin of goodies from my car into my friend’s garage before the 70-something shoppers rolled up. They strutted across the pavement in their jean shorts and sensible shoes a good 15 minutes before we were set to open. I panicked.
Trust me—this is not how you want to kick off your garage sale. Be ready to go by the time you push the button on your garage door opener. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Tip #5: Be Friendly
I’m not big on garage sale shopping, but it’s always struck me as odd when the host ignores me, opting instead to slouch silently in a lawn chair behind an old card table at the back of the garage. Where’s the customer service?!
We made it a point to welcome everyone as they entered and see whether they were looking for anything in particular so we could point them in the right direction. I think they appreciated the gesture and were more inclined to make a purchase. People like to buy from nice people—that’s just a fact. Embrace it.
Tip #6: Offer Multiple Payment Options
Cash is still king at garage sales, so make sure you have enough small bills and coins to make change.
But guess what? People don’t like to carry much cash around anymore, which means that even if one of your patrons falls in love with that antique lamp you’re selling, she might not have the paper to complete the transaction.
Fortunately, there is a slew of apps to solve that problem. PayPal and Venmo are a must, and CashApp would be nice to have. They’re free to use and easy to navigate.
Have you hosted a garage sale recently? What tips and tricks would you add to my list?