Presentation is a key to garage sales. Make sure you have plenty of tables and display racks to show your merchandise. You can probably rent or borrow tables if you need more.
Clothing: A clothing display rack can usually be rented or borrowed if you have a lot of clothes to sell. Folded on a table is fine for baby clothes, but adult clothes get lost piled on a table and require constant straightening; hung on a hanger is the better way.
If you have a carport or garage doors, you can use the rails or framing for hanging. Don't just bring out boxes or trash bags full of clothes and set them on the ground. You will have a tremendous mess to pick up and sell very little for your trouble.
Media: Books, CDs, and DVDs display best with the spines facing up so people can see what you have. Small stacks of CDs and such can be put in piles of 8-10, but more than that they need to be properly displayed. People going to garage sales are usually impulse buyers. If they have to dig very much, they will just move on to another sale.
Small Items: Tools, knick-knacks, dishes, and such can be displayed easily on tables. Group like things together, and don't crowd them too much. Men usually look at tools and inspect them carefully and don't like to be crowded.
Sets of dishes should be all together so a buyer can see what he is getting. Knick-knacks seem to appeal to all, but everyone wants to inspect for damage. Leave room.
Large Or Valuable Items:
If you have large items like furniture or exercise equipment, it should be out in the driveway so people can see it coming to your sale. Keep the smaller and/or more valuable stuff up closer to the cashier where it doesn't wander off.
Genuine antiques should be close to the cashier table so they can be watched, the same with costume jewelry. Fine jewelry should either be shown privately or in a low glass display case.
Make sure your signage is superior. A local shopper ad is great, but don't overspend on it. Use the suggested meat trays on a stake or brightly coloured poster board. Very little detail is needed on your signs. The letters should be large and bold to be seen by people driving by. Consider the speed of the street where your sign will be displayed. Something as simple as "G.S. - 1234 5th Street - Friday 8 to 4" is sufficient.
Don't try to write your offerings on the sign unless it is on a local bulletin board and then it should be typed or carefully hand-written. If needed for clarity, you could put an arrow of direction on your sign. Heavy black Marks-a-lot on a light colour background works best. If your signage is addressing a busy street, put the sign at least half a block back from where the turn off is to the street. Face the sign to oncoming traffic and put it before the turnoff, not after. If you place your signs on property other than your own, get permission.
You should enlist enough help to properly run your sale. You would need a minimum of two people. One person can't properly run a sale of any size. If you only have 10-20 items, you might consider just donating them rather than going to the trouble of baby-sitting them all day; or run an ad on Craigslist.
Have a cash box of some sort and keep it close to the action, but not too close. Make sure there is plenty of room around it, so your lookers can look while your buyers are paying. Have writing materials and a calculator there.
Make sure you have plenty of change when you open up. Later in the day, people who started out with large bills will have smaller bills, and you will too. For a medium sized sale, $100.00 in change is not too much. Have ones, fives, nothing larger. You needn't keep all of it in the change box, but have it in a nearby secure location. Pricing things in 25 cent increments means all you have to have is quarters for coin change.
I like to see prices on all merchandise. You will too, or you will spend most of your time pricing things on the spot. Be prepared to bargain. If you are too firm on pricing, you will not sell very much. No price stickers means you will miss sales when you are busy.
Have some of your helpers either cashier or work the crowd. Engage your lookers, but don't hover. Let them look around and check back occasionally. Most of them are used to a self service atmosphere and some don't like to be bothered at all.
Open a little earlier than you advertised. Set up the night before if at all possible. Store your tables in the garage and move them out the day of the sale. Don't watch the clock on opening or closing.
If you still have customers buying at closing time, stay open until you have no one buying, if possible. This is your big chance to sell your stuff. Don't rush the buyers. If you are on a tight schedule, consider re-scheduling.
By Dan M. from Lubbock, TX
You really don't need the house number until the signs are closer to home. You might just need the street name, or subdivision name with arrows to get people in the general vicinity. Then, be sure to put a sign at the end of the driveway, or streamers on the garage, something so that people know that you aren't just cleaning out your garage. It's embarrassing to look through the garage stuff at the wrong house!
Key places to put signage are: at grocery store exits, freeway exits, health club exits, and main intersections in your area.
The last few years, I've noticed fewer people come because of an advertisement in the paper. Take advantage of the free online advertising: Craigslist, eBay classifieds, TV news station websites (that have rummage trackers), local Bokoo sites. Mention that you're having a rummage sale on Facebook or Twitter or other social media.
Because you don't have to pay by line for the ad, you can include more information about your large ticket items. You can also post a separate ad for a specific item (such as a sofa) and say that it is at your rummage sale. Sometimes people who come to look at something specific will end up purchasing other items as well.
All in all, you can advertise as much as you want, but if you don't have good signage, they won't be able to find your rummage. So, get out your super-huge Sharpie marker, or use black electrical tape and make your arrows REALLY BIG and then get ready for your really big turnout!
By C. B. from Milwaukee burbs, WI
By Rachel's Mom from Wilkesboro, NC
By Karin from Benbrook, TX
It's amazing what balloons will do to a rummage sale sign to get attention! Get FREE ones at the bank and save a couple especially for your sale sign!
I make signs made with coat hangers (from the cleaners which multiply in dark closets), with a neon sheet of paper with "garage sale" and an arrow drawn on it.
Starting as far away from my house as possible, I start taping the coat hangers to sign posts so that the arrows point to my house, and lead the cars into the subdivision. I almost always have plenty of cars following me home!
Please remember to always retrieve your signs and you can use them the next time.
By Lindajean from Houston, TX
By Karen from Charleston, SC
I put fliers up in the local store, library, and laundromat. If you have help on the day of your sale, have your help go to a few yard sales around and drop of fliers. Tell them you will mention their sale to people that come to yours. It is the neighborly thing to do.
By Mell from Traverse City, MI
Use plastic bags for your customer's purchases. It's much easier for them, if they are buying several items. Be willing to make deals. Make sure you have a table set up with a cash box, plenty of change, a calculator, and a tablet to write on. Take excess cash inside from time to time, and don't leave your cash box unattended.
Post large and legible signs around your neighborhood, and add some colorful balloons. If you have enough helpers, take plenty of breaks to go inside, and cool off if your garage sale is in the summer. It's a nice gesture to take your helpers out to lunch afterward, if possible, to show your appreciation.
By Darla from Grand Prairie, TX
How do I advertise for a garage sale?
Save money and time: list your yard/garage sale on craigslist.org. I used to post signs early and a friend put an advert in the local paper. We did better when we just put the listing on craigslist with minimal signage on major streets. My daughter and I have a list of major intersections; we post on all 4 corners going each way at eye level from a car's view. We post the signs at 6 am and go to get coffee. Then we start hauling things out to the yard. We put a big sign on the back of the car and park in front of the house. Put on your apron, the one with a pocket in front so you can keep your sales cash safe. Let the early birds start buying, good luck