Throwing a Neighborhood Garage Sale

Organizing a neighborhood garage sale can be a fun and lucrative event. There are many things to coordinate to have a successful sale. This is a guide about throwing a neighborhood garage sale.

March 6, 2012 Flag
5 found this helpful

Here are several tips for a successful yard sale:

  1. Offer clean, usable items.
  2. Price your items - people do not like to have to keep asking.
  3. Have change ready to close the deal.
  4. Display items up off the ground on tables. Do not display stuff on blankets on the ground.
  5. Be willing to negotiate a bit.
  6. Create contrasting signs, using big, black, clearly written words on bright paper.
  7. Advertise ahead of time in free papers, bulletin boards, Craigslist, etc.
  8. Invite neighbors to host a garage sale too to increase traffic.
  9. Be pleasant, treat customers in a friendly fashion.
  10. Keep your change bag with you (don't leave it sitting at a checkout table).


By Joyous from Knoxville, TN

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March 7, 20120 found this helpful

Great tips! To add a few additional:

Your signs need only have the address written boldly. No need for the words "yard/garage/Sale/huge/giant" ...everyone knows what your advertising. As well, absolutely NO need to list any items. You will not have room to write them in a readable fashion on at least an 8x10 card stock. Plus the mystery will bring them to your sale.

If someone is looking for a specific item they will drive by, as long as they can easily read your address. Maybe use arrows if you have room; that helps when people are scanning the road ahead for signs. They have more time to change lanes if they need to. Believe me! I know. This is the way I do yard sales myself...not all sales are in the paper. The sign is very important.

If you must display items on the ground, let it be the bulk of the clothes, and consider pricing them by the bagful or 5/$1 so the adding is simple. If you have nicer clothing items, they can possibly be hung in a different area with their individual pricing.

Customer do want to know the prices without having to ask. If you choose to use signs instead of individual pricing, make your signs clear (use thick markers, not ballpoint pen) and display in the same area as the items,not behind the check out area...or at least do both.

Be prepared for folks to gather multiple items which they have added up for themselves, then come to you asking for a lower price. That is a good way to move a lot of items. Be willing to negotiate more on the multiple item purchases.

Hanging clothing is not as hard as it may seem. If you don't have a clothes line, trees or the garage door opening readily available, a broom laid across the back of 2 chairs will suffice for about 2-3 feet of hanging space for shirts/blouses/skirts/folded slacks. Use a ladder to hang longer items, or 2 ladders to create a longer, higher hanging space.

Shoplifting does happen at yard sales, unfortunately. It's not that you can't be charitable and give away your things, it's more of the principle. They are getting your nice items for reasonable prices (let's hope) so there's no need for anyone to be dishonest about acquiring them.

Keep jewelry on the check out table or at least near by where someone will be sitting at all times. Have a helper! or 2. Give them permission to negotiate or not; it's up to you.

Decide beforehand if you will negotiate on all/most/none of the items. It is not required that you do negotiate. Some people just will not pay what you have marked on an item no matter how's ok to say, "I think $.50 is reasonable." But if you fear taking it back into the house after the sale, then take a dime! Packing it all up afterwards to donate to a charity relieves some of that stress about having to sell no matter what. Decide beforehand what you will keep if it doesn't sell.

Have bags ready for the customers, but preferably bag their things only after they've paid for them. It is tempting to offer a bag to someone carrying multiple items in their arms. If you do this, also offer to hold the items in the bag but place it up close to your check out table; even put their name on it for them. They will thank you and you will have less stress keeping track of the people who've paid and those who have not; since the bagging would no longer be the indication.

If you're starting very early in the morning (even if you're not), consider having free coffee for your customers. It gives the sense of goodwill and encourages them to linger, and even buy something they might not normally because they are more relaxed and not hurrying on to the next sale.

This is making me want to have a yard sale!

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March 7, 20120 found this helpful

Another good yard sale tip I just heard was: Use a fanny pack for your money. That way your money is around your waist, not sitting on table and you're free to move around.

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March 8, 20120 found this helpful

Re pricing, please-please-please attach prices with something that will come off easily! Those super-adhesive price stickers are so hard to remove and sometimes using a liquid remover damages the item.

And oh boy! Please DO NOT mark the price directly on the item with a permanent marker!

For clothing, buy a box of cheap straight pins at the dollar store, and use scrap paper to write the price on a pinned tag.

For other items use that blue masking tape-no residue, even on painted wood surfaces:)

I know a garage/yard/car boot sale is not a 'business' where good customer service will help bring about repeat customers, but you do live in that neighbourhood, and people remember things like "...the way Ms Jones tagged her sale items made them useless!".

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May 14, 20150 found this helpful

Be honest about your products. When we had our one & ONLY moving yard sale in Arizona we had many items that had sat for a few years and even one television that was almost junk - good for someone to fix that wanted to work in electronics. We put a tag for $5 - needs repair. Many people looked at it and walked on with the comment "at least they're honest". We sold that piece of junk and $500 worth of more items because we were honest about that tv the people knew that if we said it works, it would be true. Much of our items were electrical/electronics.

The money we made paid for the gas in both vehicles to travel across country and 5 meals every day for all 5 people for 4 1/2 days. When I go to sales I almost never buy anything except cloth/notions/craft supplies.

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May 26, 2006 Flag
Catherine Forman0 found this helpful

If you have kids, they probably have toys. A lot of toys. Heaps and piles of toys they've forgotten they had, or lost interest in, or just don't use anymore because they grew out of them. A neighborhood yard sale for kids can help you and your kids clean out the closets!

If you have friends with children (and lots of toys) nearby, you can join forces for the yard sale. Hold the yard sale at the house that has the most foot traffic -- maybe someone lives close to downtown, or near a busy park? The kids can man the sale, and the parents can take turns supervising.

If your children complain that they're bored with their toys, you may want to set up a neighborhood kids' yard sale with a different set of rules. Instead of selling toys for money, make it more like a swap meet. Each child can bring five toys to the yard sale. Each child can leave with five new toys from the yard sale. It won't make any extra space in your closets, but it will solve the boredom problem... at least for a little while!

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May 30, 20060 found this helpful


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June 26, 20060 found this helpful

When i sell my stuff, i always spend my money fast(like $60 per day!!) So how could i do that??

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March 15, 20080 found this helpful

Hello my name is Tamara and I am going to throw a garage sale. This is excellent advice.

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June 8, 2010 Flag
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I am going to be taking part in a community yard sale that is going to be held in a church parking lot. Should I make my own signs? What can I do to make my booth stand out from the others?

By Karaoke Mama

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June 13, 20100 found this helpful

Make a sign that says: Great prices and deals.

Make a freebie box with a smaller sign near it that says if you buy one item, you get to choose something from the 'freebie' box.

Be sure to replenish it every hour with more freebie items. Also, towards the end of the day, start packing up things you cannot part with away or segregate it from things you are willing to part with cheaply.

Start telling people that they can fill up a bag for x amount of dollars. More people will flock to your table, maybe purchasing the items that you segregated as well, smile.

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June 14, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you! These are great ideas. I am going to use them. You Rock!

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July 5, 20101 found this helpful

Over the last 20 years we've had nearly 60 yard sales including huge benefit charity sales. In my experience in order of importance:

1. Signs (large and legible) any any other available free advertising.

2. Clean items in good repair (a bit of touch up paint or glue can make the sale) well displayed (avoid putting items on the ground or leaving in boxes as many people are not able or willing to stoop down or rummage through boxes). Not enough tables? A box of like items (no breakable or sharp items) is okay placed on a chair.

3. Price every item beforehand (I do not overprice as in our area when an item is fairly priced very few people haggle).

4. Have plenty of change, bags, and newspapers (to wrap breakables).

5. Relax - have fun and enjoy yourself. Welcome/greet each visitor. Play some happy music. Wear a silly hat (mine is a Crown complete with fake jewels and printed with "Her Royal Highness Queen of the Yard Sale" and hubbies is a huge wide brimmed Mariachi straw hat).

Have something to give away to all the kiddos (even just a sticker will bring a smile to a small child). When a customer asks me for info on an item I'm not familiar with I'll cup my hands around my mouth and call out to my husband "attention, attention...associate to electronics" (or hardware/automotive, etc.) We have repeat customers at all our sales and I often see folks when I'm out and about who stop me and tell me they just cant wait, when is the next sale?

Hope you have a great sale, it's hard work but can be profitable and great fun at the same time.

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August 18, 2011 Flag
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I used fluorescent dots from the office supply store. These work really well if you have large items to mark and they're really easy to spot by the shoppers.

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