Spring is here: 10 Tips for Garage Sale Prep

By on April 16, 2013

With spring in the air you can be sure that garage sales won't be far behind.  You will start to see signs and advertisements for these bargain hunting events as early as Easter, but they will continue to multiply and grow as Memorial Day comes and will continue throughout the summer until Labor Day ends the summer holiday's for another year.

Spring is here - 10 Tips for Garage Sale Prep While I personally am not a huge fan of garage sales or yard sales (at least on the selling end), my wife considers them a better way to spend a day than a carnival.  She even goes as far as purchasing bargain items throughout the year specifically for resale during the garage sale season.  Of course I get pulled into the festivities as well since qualified garage sale attendants are in short supply.

This forced service has led to my participation in many a yard sale over the years and I have noticed several factors that can improve your sales and profits when implemented properly.  If you are going to hold a yard sale you might as well do it right and these 10 tips will help you maximize the success of your garage sale.

  1. Get prepared.  Do not wait until the last minute to organize, price items and determine where everything will be placed.  My wife begins as much as a month in advance.  While that might be a bit much, there's nothing wrong with getting ready a week in advance if you have lots of stuff to sell or larger high ticket items that might require a bit more preparation and information.
  2. Design the layout of your yard sale with your customers in mind.  Put items you want to sell quickly in the most prominent positions.  Put items that might be considered as add ons to other products right next to each other.  If you have a central area for wrapping or bagging items put small impulse purchase items there (books, cd's/dvds, jewelry, etc).
  3. Labels are your friend.  Minimize questions by labeling everything clearly.  Indicate any special features of the item, if it can be combined with other items for a discount, and anything else that might be important.  Don't forget to include the price!
  4. While you are labeling remember to consider the prices of your items carefully.  You can always discount during negotiations, but you can't increase the price.  Conversely, if your initial price is too high you run the risk of scaring potential customers away.  If necessary, research current used prices for your items.
  5. Try to include your garage sale as part of a larger group sale rather than going it alone.  Many communities have garage sales and these are the best way to approach this type of sale as a large group sale attracts far more people.  If there are no community yard sales in your neighborhood, find out if any friends or relatives have community yard sales and see if you can bring your stuff to sell there.
  6. Be friendly and greet people as they arrive.  You don't have to carry on a conversation (unless the customer initiates one), a simple "Hi, how are you?" is sufficient.
  7. Keep all of your cash on your person, not in a cash box.  It is too easy to get distracted while selling your stuff and next thing you know the cash box is gone.  Don't take that chance.
  8. Never say anything negative about your stuff.  Sure it may be used and even well worn, but there's never a good reason to bad mouth any of it.  Focus on the positives and you'll find that it becomes much easier to sell anything and everything.
  9. Always be willing to negotiate and bargain.  This takes a bit of skill and in some ways is an art form, but one of the attractive features or a yard sale for many people is the price negotiations.  Be flexible in your pricing, especially as the day wears on.
  10. Keep a journal with all your items, what the initial price was, and what you eventually sold the items for.  This is especially helpful if you plan on making the yard sale a yearly (or more frequent) event.
  11. BONUS TIP:  Play soothing background music.  Have you ever noticed that all shopping malls and department stores have soft music in the background?  This is because it relaxes people and makes them more likely to spend money.  Plus it creates a more pleasant environment.

If you've had mediocre success with your garage sale in the past try implementing the 10 11 tips above and supercharge your sales!

Steve Walters
Steve Walters
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
Steve blogs about personal finance at his site Money Infant. After paying off over $40,000 in debt in less than 3 years, he and his wife sold all their stuff and moved across the world to Thailand with their 1 year old in tow. Needless to say it's been an adventure. He is also available for freelance writing assignments and can be contacted here
Steve Walters

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