After taking my grandmother around to hundreds of garage sales when I was a teen, I began having sales when I was married. Here are some of my tips:
Great article. In addition to signs, it is a good idea to advertise the sale on Craigslist. Many buyers check craigslist before they leave the house to see where the garage sales will be that day. You can mention some of the better items that you have for sale in your ad. This will bring out buyers who are interested in that item.
I have a few more tips. The past couple of years I have noticed 3 trends @ sales. The first is what we refer to as "the ebayers" These are the folks who have professional signs, a dozen of each item, brand new clothes with tags (obviously an overstock lot), tons of beanie babies and Mcdonald's toys and high price tags!
These are the folks who hold quarterly sales (sometimes more) to get rid of the items they can't sell on ebay, the auction house, etc. The storage bidders fall into this category too. No disrespect to these guys but they need to understand that Garage Sales are for bargains! That's the whole purpose! Most will not budge on the prices because they will just try again on ebay.
I don't care if its brand new, used, 19th century, etc...if the price isn't reasonable I'm not buying it! We can usually tell these sellers as we drive by, and we just keep going. Either lower your prices to Garage Sale standards or sell elsewhere.
A word of advice when negotiating... don't think aloud, ask your partner, etc if you could make more $ selling the item on ebay or that its worth $_ on ebay. I stop all bargaining and walk when a seller says that. Why are you selling it @ a garage sale then?
Trend #2 dealers. She mentioned this in the article, but I think it needs to be stated again. Watch out for dealers. They will not only low ball you, but they also will wipe you out! I don't know how many times I've pulled up to sale as truck packed full is leaving, and the seller remarks that the man or woman just bought half of their lot! These ppl will turn around and ebay or retail for huge profits. I've seen a few ads specifically stating No Dealers/Re Sellers Please. Trend
#3 Selling for acCause. I don't want to sound cruel here, so please don't take this the wrong way. A lot of people have started to have sales to fund certain charities, causes, mission trips, etc. There's nothing wrong with that. Its a great way to raise money and awareness. My issue is with the pressure @ some of these sales.
As a buyer, sometimes I feel obligated into buying. Its an uncomfortable feeling. Perhaps tone it down a notch. Sell baked goods or handmade items for said cause. Have a giving jar. And unfortunately, in these times, how do you know the $ is really going to said cause? Its sad to even write that, but it's the truth.
My other tip would be to try to organize clothes. There is nothing worse than having to squat it in the summer heat, going through piles of clothes, checking sizes and then having to find out how much they cost. Well...the box full of random clothes is worse. I walk right by.
Hope this helps both sellers and buyers! Happy hunting!
I know with all the yard sales this time of year, many people are buying second hand and giving new life to their finds. When pricing items, many types of pricing elements are hard to remove and leave sticky residue. The best thing I have found for marking your price is painter's tape. It is designed to be easily removed without leaving any tell-tale sign it was placed there. And it's easy to write your price on and easy to tear. So that makes it time efficient not having to use scissors to cut. While preparing for a yard sale is time consuming, this will help make thing go a little bit quicker. I have bought things in the past at sales and some things were damaged just trying to remove all the sticky stuff.
By Tricia from VA
I have never noticed anyone doing that before. If someone wants an item bad enough, they usually just take it. I have noticed that happening at my yard sales and at flea markets. It seems you almost never notice and item being lifted until the traffic drops off or you are packing up. But that happens with almost everybody that holds a yard sale.
While this seems like a great idea, being a veteran garage sale hostess I find that if the tags are easily removed there tends to be more theft at the sale. Also it just takes a bit of mineral or vegetable oil to remove left over residue from a tag and this should not harm any item. Good luck at your sales ladies!
Here are some tips to have a great garage sale. Pick the right date, the first and fifteenth are when people receive their social security checks and/or pay checks.
When you are looking for something in particular at yard sales and don't see it, just ask. I have found that sellers are "motivated to sell" once they have started and will sometimes go into the house and bring out the item you are looking for. My mother even asked if a plant was for sale and the owner chose to sell it.
By DebraDee from Marion, NC
I have done this. I was looking for a computer chair at yard sales, looked around and didn't see any, so at the last one, I just asked. Her husband went in the house and sold me the one he had for $10.00. Sometimes it's something that they never thought of putting out.
I totally agree with you. We have done many garage sales and had many sales. You are right on.
Can I just add something that I don't think people really think about. I'm an avid yard/garage saler. I am out there every weekend looking for bargains and have been inside many garages, porches, basements...etc. One thing that puts me right off a sale is a stinky garage/basement or stinky clothing. I don't think people who are having the sale take notice to the odors around them and their things.
I entered a garage a few weekends ago and had to quickly exit as the entire garage smelled of dog urine. It was strong and uncomfortable to be in. I noticed others entering and leaving quickly too. So I wasn't the only one. This wasn't the first time. I've been in musty moldy basement sales too. It's very off putting and I often will not purchase anything from these sales for fear the smell may be absorbed into the items.
Clothing is often stored in boxes and trash bags leaving them smell strange too. I once got $10.00 worth of infant clothing home only to have to throw it all away due to a strange smell that wouldn't wash out, obviously from the container they were stored in.
So if your planning a sale, take notice of any foul smells your garage may have. Sniff your stored clothing too, don't just check for stains, check for odors as well.
RUDE PEOPLE: Several years back we were moving to a much smaller home & had to sell everything we owned so we had 3 HUGE garage sales to do this. We lived in a middle to upper-middle class neighborhood & what surprised me the most were the totally rude people. Be careful not to get bullied by people like these. For example, I was selling a ruby-type glass tumbler & this gal asked me if I had another one, so I said I'd go & have a look. Well, unbeknownst to me she followed me into my house & into the kitchen & started going through my cupboards! I had the hardest time getting her to leave because she all of a sudden pretended to not speak very good English.
Another rude behavior was people getting mad & angry about prices (I'm an avid garage-saler & thrift-shopper so I know how to price...very low!). Some of my finer pieces of furniture were marked at $20 - $30 & even though they were marked people would get downright angry that I wouldn't sell them for five dollars. Just keep a happy attitude & realize that most people are super-friendly & wonderful. Just keep smiling!
Lastly, mark things up a tiny bit. People expect to haggle. If you want $1 for something then ask $1.50, if you want $20 for something then ask $25. If you want a dime for something then ask for a quarter (I disagree with #4, people love to buy things for a quarter!). Also have a box marked "FREE" for some of the things you just want to get rid off. You may add to it towards the end of the sale.
If you run an ad in your local paper or on Craig's List make sure you post "No sales before 9:AM (or whatever) or you'll have the early birds knocking on your door before you're ready. Usually these early birds are people who make their livings re-selling good deals they find.
Also try grouping like priced things on one table and putting a sign that says "All books $1" instead of marking each one, will help reduce your energy.
When having a garage sale, set out a few empty laundry baskets for your shoppers to grab and fill up. Makes it much easier for them to shop and also, they will more than likely buy more because they have an easy way of carrying around they items.
To make more money at your next yard sale, sell refreshments, too! Watch the sales for a few weeks before your event, and stock up on canned sodas at bargain prices. The day of the sale, put them in a cooler with ice and put up a big sign "cold drinks, .50" or whatever ...
I have been to and I have had many yard sales and I have noticed a few things that would affect how well a yard sale pans out.
When organizing I always find things to sell in my annual garage sale. I put these items in boxes labeled by price ($1, $5, etc.) This saves a lot of time later when I actually price the items just before the sale.
Any suggestions on how to price items that customers can't physically change by swapping stickers or move to another area with a lower designated price? I want to do this without marring the object.
By SuSu from Birmingham, AL
Have a 50 cent box, a $1.00 box or rack, etc. Put up a sign that says, Everything on this table is $1.00. People don't like to ask the price at yard sales and some people do like to bargain with you. You could put plastic shopping bags in an area of certain items and put up a sign that says, ex: Fill a bag of children's clothes for $5.00.
I really don't think that there is a way to stop someone from being dishonest. Since I'm the one who usually prices things at our yard sales, I know if someone has changed a tag or not. I usually tell them that someone must have changed the tag, what the real price is, and ask if they still want the item. If the person looks unusally needy, I sometimes just give it to them at the cheaper price. I figure "what goes around, comes around," and trust that when I need something, it will be there for me. There is one family in the neighborhood that routinely changes prices at yard sales to get things cheaper, that really isn't bad off. I let it go a couple of times, but no longer will. I'd rather give it to a needy person than be screwed by someone. I've also very politely asked dishonest people to leave when they've brought items with changed stickers to me. They act different when they are trying to get away with something, and they know that you know what they've been up to. Looking them in the eye and stating, "I've changed my mind and no longer choose to sell this," gets the point across.
Hi. I've had close to 60 yard sales over the last 20 years including some big charity fundraisers. I mark everything with 3/4 inch wide masking tape (cheapest one at Home Depot). You can just write what the item is, GF Grl $5 (George Foreman Grill), or GE PHN $2 (GE Phone). For items tape would obviously damage (ie. decorative paper storage boxes or a finely painted plaque), just pull off an extra long piece of tape and fold one third of it back on itself sticky sides together, that part is your label.
Attach remaining sticky part where it cant damage (on the inside edge of paper lid with label end hanging down to be seen). On a figurine attach to the bottom of the figure with price seen without picking up the item. I mark clothes for size and price but do not attach tape to the outside of the garment. Blouses, shirts, coats, jackets, vests and PJs are priced inside just below the collar. Slacks, shorts and skirts are taped on the rear inside of waistband. Use brand or color initials to ID item Fashion Bug (FB), LC (Liz C), RD PNT (Red Pant).
Keep your writing larger for size and dollar amount. The ID abbreviations are just an "aside" for you to know the price tag is on the correct garment. If you've been using pre-made tags this may seem like a lot of work, but for the average yard sale it's easy. I write mostly directly on the tape roll using a permanent non smear marker. I definitely would never recommend not pricing items as I know for a fact pricing items increases sales. For a 2006 AML Leukemia benefit I insisted on and personally marked every item that jam packed sixty (8' x 3') tables. This remains the most successful benefit with which I have been involved.
Good Luck with your sale.
I just had a yard sale this past weekend and tried several new things that I thought may be helpful to others looking for yard sale ideas.
Spring is the time when we all start thinking about Garage or Yard Sales again. It is a good way to make some extra money and get rid of extra items. Garage Sales can be fun but are time consuming and can be hard work. Good planning can help you have a successful sale.
When going to yardsales, bring some slightly colored sunglasses (amber). It will show all the stains on cloth that you can not see with the naked eye.