Time to Downsize: 12 Tips for Organizing a Garage Sale

Once or twice a year, people feel the need to clean out their homes and get rid of extraneous items. Perhaps they have received gifts for birthdays and holidays that they never used. Maybe they have purchased newer versions of common household items and now need to purge the old items. Whatever the reason, one of the best things they can do with the things they clean out is to have a garage sale. A sale provides an opportunity to earn money while gaining a clean house. For some people, a garage sale seems like a daunting undertaking. However, it does not have to be. There are 12 tips for organizing and holding a garage sale that can make the entire process manageable and even enjoyable.


1. Sort of Potential Items

The first thing to do when holding a garage sale is to sort through all of the potential sale items. It is a good idea to go from room to room, cleaning things out and placing all potential items in a bin or box. Then, gather all of the bins and boxes in a single room of the home or the garage. Take a second look at each item to make sure it is worthy of sale. It is not uncommon to dispose of some items instead. Trash items should be placed in the garbage can or in a dumpster rented online at trashking.ca. Items that make the garage sale cut should be placed in labeled bins so they are ready to be organized and priced.


2. Buddy Up

Another thing to consider when planning a garage sale is to involve other people. It can be very lucrative to hold a multi-family garage sale. Multi-family garage sales are appealing to customers because it gives them the chance to basically shop at several garage sales at one time. Their chances of finding something useful are greatly increased, so they have a much higher chance of stopping by and spending time browsing. The sales are appealing to sellers as well because they drive more traffic by word of mouth.


3. Pick a Location

A garage sale does not have to be held in a garage. In fact, it is often better to hold the sale in a different location, especially if multiple families are involved. Solo garage sale organizers should consider holding their sales in their driveway or yard. This makes the sale more inviting and visible from the road. If multiple sellers are involved, and they all live in the same neighborhood, consider having the sale at a neutral location, such as the community’s clubhouse. If the sellers are from the same family and spread out over the town, using a local community center may be a good idea. Other location ideas include a parking lot, a school, a church, and a flea market.


4. Know the Rules

Before dragging items to the designated location, it is important to check the rules regarding garage sales, both for neighborhoods and for cities. For those living in neighborhoods governed by homeowner’s associations, it is very likely there are regulations that must be followed. If using the clubhouse for the sale, there may be a fee involved that the seller will want to be sure to pay in advance. In addition, some cities require a permit to hold a garage sale. The seller will want to obtain this permit in advance to avoid running into trouble during the sale.


5. Advertise Well

In the past, advertising for a garage sale meant putting signs up in and around the seller’s neighborhood a few days before the sale. While this is still a great way to advertise and should still be done, there are many more ways to advertise today, and the seller should take advantage of everyone. One of the best ways to advertise is to put notices on social media and ask friends to share. This can drive up traffic to the sale significantly. Other ways to advertise include online classifieds, ads in local print newspapers and magazines, and door-to-door flyers.


6. Start Early

Though it is tempting to hold a garage sale only on a Saturday beginning at 8:00 am, every seller should consider starting their sale on a Friday at 7:00 am. It might give the seller one less day to prepare, but the benefit is that it opens them up to visits from serious garage sale shoppers. These shoppers make a list of sales to hit in various neighborhoods, and they don’t wait until Saturday to start. In fact, they are often completely done shopping by Saturday, so the seller who doesn’t open until then will really miss out.


7. Organize Items

Holding a garage sale is more than just throwing items willy-nilly on a few tables and letting shoppers pick through them. It is imperative that the seller organize their items by type and make it easy for shoppers to find specific things they may be looking for. For example, placing all kitchen items in one location, books in another, and clothing in yet another, makes it much more likely that all of the items are exposed for shoppers to see. It also lets the shopper know that the seller cares about their experience and wants them to find something useful.


8. Price Clearly

It has become common to take the approach of not putting prices on anything at a garage sale. Sellers think that, if shoppers are required to come to them and inquire about a price, they are more likely to make a sale. However, this is not the case. In fact, it may even drive some buyers away if they feel that the seller is too busy with other customers and cannot be of help at the moment. It is a much better idea to clearly price all items. Experienced buyers who want to haggle will still do so, and shoppers who just want to know the price without a long discussion are more likely to stay and buy.


9. Keep Change Handy

One of the worst things to happen to a seller at a garage sale is to be stuck with not enough change. A seller should expect every possible denomination of bill to be used at the sale and should plan for change accordingly. Sellers should have plenty of quarters, ones, and fives on hand, as well as a few tens and twenties. They should also consider accepting payment through payment apps and may even want to purchase a credit card reader that connects to their phone.


10. Allow Bulk Discounts

As the morning hours fade away, the seller should think about allowing discounts for bulk items. For example, allowing shoppers to purchase everything they can stuff into a bag for just $5 is a great way to get rid of some items that are not selling well and still making some money. In fact, shoppers who visited the garage sale early in the day might even come back later to take advantage of a bulk buy.


11. Have Power Cord Available

If the seller has any electronic or power items available for sale, it is necessary to have a power cord run from their house or garage. This will allow shoppers to test these items on the spot to make sure they work. If shoppers cannot test an item, they are less likely to purchase it. However, if they can test an item and see that it does work, they are much more likely to buy. In addition, the seller may be able to price these items slightly higher if they can prove the items work.


12. Donate Leftovers

It is very unlikely that a seller will move all of their merchandise at a single garage sale. By employing techniques such as bulk buys and half-price after a certain time, they may sell the majority of it, but chances are they will still have some things left at the end of the day. While it may be tempting to box up these items and store them for a future sale, the seller should consider donating them to a women’s shelter or other charity that gives items directly to needy people. This allows the seller to enjoy their clean, organized house by not having to store unsold items, and it allows those who are in need to get quality items.


Though it can seem like a daunting and unpleasant task, holding a garage sale can be easy and fun. By keeping 12 simple tips in mind, a person has the opportunity to clean out their home and earn extra cash. They can even have a great time while doing so by involving other people, such as neighbors, families, and friends. When all is said and done, they can choose to help others by giving unsold items to charity.