If you’ve got a lot of extra stuff lying around, now is the time to host a garage sale to help you liquidate.
But as with anything, the amount of effort you put into your garage sale can make the difference between raking in the dough, or being left with a pile of stuff to donate.
An average of 690,000 people buy at garage sales every week, with weekly revenue from garage sales totaling about $4.2 million, according to a poll by Signs.com.
How can you make your sale stand out from the crowd and ensure a successful one? We asked some experts on wheeling-and-dealing to weigh in.
Call It a Yard Sale Instead.
“Don’t call it a garage sale,” said Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert.“For whatever reason, yard or moving sale sounds better and will attract more shoppers, perhaps bigger payers, too.”
Time It Right.
Saturday is your best bet for attracting the most buyers, and you’ll want to lure in those early birds by opening at 7 a.m., according to Signs.com. If you want to be even more strategic, Woroch advises to time your sale around the average payday, near the 15th or 30th of each month.
Be sure to be specific in your advertising about what you’re selling.
“Post an ad on Craigslist, in your local newspaper and place signs around your neighborhood at busy intersections to attract a bigger crowd to your sale. You can also post the garage sale in the Facebook marketplace or simply in your status update to let friends and family know of your sale,” said Woroch.
“Don’t be lazy,” said Woroch. “You may have a garage full of items to sell, but if you just throw them on your driveway or front lawn in a cluttered mess, you will turn off people.”
Instead, put some time into your display, make sure everything is clean and dust-free, organized by category and looks attractive.
“The more organized, the more appealing your sale will be and the more likely people will come and spend more,” she said.
Add to Your Inventory.
If your bottom line is to make money rather than clear out your clutter, ask friends to pass on any items they are no longer using. Make it easy by picking up the items yourself, says Lane Fournerat, who along with his wife paid off $70,000 in debt in less than three years, in part by hosting five garage sales.
Offer to take any unsold items from neighbors who are hosting garage sales. You can even find items like old discarded lawn equipment by the side of the road and sell it.
“It sells for about $5 apiece,” said Fournerat.
Get your neighbors together to do a community sale.
Also, have someone else helping you at the sale — it’s really hard for one person to do it alone.
Price Your Items Right.
Most shoppers want to see items with a clearly marked price, and 43 percent of Signs.com respondents said overpriced items were one of the top turnoffs at a garage sale.
“However, pricing items too low will cause you to lose out on money, since most garage sale shoppers will try to haggle with you even more,” said Woroch.
You can use Goodwill’s valuation guide to help you price your items.
Stage Your Space.
“Transform your yard into a high-end store by staging your items,” said Jamie Novak, author of Keep This Toss That.
“For example, group a dress and a handbag with a necklace, and include a sign that says, ‘Perfect for an evening out!’ Place a picnic basket with a fishing pole and make a sign that says, ‘Gone fishin.’’ Wrap two board games together with a ribbon and include a sign that reads, ‘Family game night!’” Novak said.
Think Like a Customer.
Novak recommends putting typical “guy stuff” like golf clubs and tools near the curb.
“More people will stop since guys will see something for them to look at while their wives shop,” Novak said.
Also, since most garage sale shoppers bring children with them, add a children’s activity table, like a coloring station to keep the kiddos busy.
Small Touches Go a Long Way.
Little extras like newspaper, plastic grocery bags or extra gift bags can add a nice touch of “customer service” to your garage sale, says Lillard. Serve complimentary coffee or cookies — it’s a cheap way to keep people at your sale a bit longer.
Free Gift With Purchase.
A lot of people put out a “free box” to entice customers. Novak suggests doing a “gift with purchase” for an added marketing boost.
“For every $25 spent, let the buyer pick an item or you can wrap some up as a ‘surprise gift’ with purchase and let the buyer choose,” Novak said.