It’s amazing the things we can collect over the years, and it can feel pretty liberating to go through it and get rid of it. After all, one person’s junk can often can be another person’s treasure—especially at bargain yard sale prices. While virtual yard or garage sales on sites like Craigslist and Facebook have proliferated in recent years, there’s nothing quite like digging through a garage sale and finding some stuff you need, and some stuff you don’t—but want to buy anyway. To set yourself up for success, and to clear your garage, basement, and house out, here are some tips for when it comes time to plan your end of summer neighborhood yard sale.
Start by checking with your city to see if they have any rules or regulations regarding yard or garage sales. The last thing you want to do is lose any of your profits because you’ve been fined! Some cities may have a small fee associated with having a permit, this is where you can get your neighbors together to all chip in on the fee.
Well before the start of your garage sale, get ready for what you’re planning to sell. This means going through closets, clothes, and toy bins to pick out things that you’d like to get rid of, and that you think people may want to buy. Doing this early will alleviate any stress with the big event, and by putting it in boxes to sell, you’ll be a bit more prepared. Another way to get organized is by asking your neighbors if they want to join (that is if you haven’t already talked to them about permits). A larger yard sale can be a bigger draw to people, and with more people involved it can be easier to spread the word.
After you’ve put everything to the side, decide how you want to price each item. A general rule of thumb is to price everything about 1/3 of its original value (depending on how well used its been too, of course). Books and clothes though can be a harder sell, so you might want to price them quite low, like .25 per book, or $1 for 5, for example; or $1 per each piece of clothing. Depending on how much time you have, put a price sticker on everything. This way you won’t waste too much time on the day of answering people’s questions on how much a particular item is. If you don’t have a sticker on everything, clearly mark the box with how much everything is on the table/box.
Spread The Word
How else will people know to come? You’ll need signs on nearby street corners, for starters. Free advertising too can be done on sites like Craigslist. If you’re part of a virtual garage sale group on Facebook, you could also post that you’ll be having a live garage sale as well; this works quite well since these groups are often targeted to a specific neighborhood.
Before the big garage sale day, go to the bank and get some change. As long as you don’t have too many big ticket items, you don’t need too much change, but you should be able to break a $20 or $50 bill, and have plenty of quarters on hand — especially if things are low priced. Also make sure you have a way to easily store the money safely.
Setup Is Key
On the day of, it’s time to get setup and ready. Organize everything according to price, and put some of the more coveted items — especially bigger, more visible items — towards the back, which will encourage people to walk through the whole garage sale. The only exception to this: put the power tools and handyman tools up front. The reasoning for this: if guys see it, they’ll be more inclined to stop with their wives to do some shopping.
Bonus… Food & Drinks
If you expect it to be a hot day, consider also offering some lemonade or soda for a small fee too. This way even your kids can help in the garage sale too. And certainly last but not least: have fun! Not only will you end the day with your place cleaned out of stuff you no longer need, but you’ll be making some money too!
Liz SanFilippo Hall is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.