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Top Ten Things to Know When Having a Garage Sale

I’m having a garage sale this weekend, so I thought it would be a great time to share some garage sale wisdom I’ve learned over the years. Below are my top ten things I keep in mind when having a sale. I hope you find them helpful.

  1. Opening by 7:00 a.m. will save you some headaches. Most buyers will wait until 7 o’clock to visit. Of course, I’ve had people waiting for me when I opened my garage door at 5:30 a.m. before. I hate that, but I’m not about to chase anyone away. I have known people who would not allow anyone to look around until they were completely set up. That’s a bad idea. If someone runs me off, I won’t return. That’s the best way to lose a sale and cause hard feelings.

  2. Have more than a couple of tables with your wares. Many people won’t bother stopping if they don’t think your sale isn’t worth their time. Especially at a city-wide where there’s a lot of competition, you need to entice people to come and look at your offerings.

  3. Price everything clearly. Individual price stickers are best. Mine are bright pink and easily read. If you want to sell like items for the same price without using individual stickers, please make sure you put up a clear sign explaining your pricing.

  4. Make sure your items are clean. One sale I attended last weekend had sticky dishes in a box on the ground. No one wants to buy filthy items.

  5. Make your merchandise easy to reach. Display things on tables, shelves, and racks. Don’t just throw boxes out on the driveway and expect people to dig through them. If you want to put books in a large tote that’s organized like an old-fashioned record store, that’s one thing, but no one wants to dig through a box of miscellaneous that’s just tossed together.

  6. Put hot ticket items in clear view of the road. I’m selling some baby items, so I will be placing the infant rocker in a well-chosen location that can be seen from the street.

  7. Hang clothing if at all possible. I personally hate trying to find something on a table that’s piled high with clothing. If you must display clothes on a table, please keep the items folded neatly and organized by size. Put a sign with each size on the table, so people will know where to look for different sizes. This will reduce the mess caused by and frustration felt by your customers.  

  8. If your sale is part of a city-wide, like the one I’m having, try to get your location put on the official sale map. It’s free in many cities. I paid $5.00 to have my sale listed on the official map and in the Webb City Sentinel, our local online newspaper.  

  9. Put up at least a couple of signs. I will be putting a sign at the mouth of my neighborhood where the entrance meets D Highway and another at the corner of my street.

  10. Let’s talk money safety. Don’t leave your money box unattended. Keep your money organized, and put large bills out of sight. I use a lockable cash box, which I carry into the house with me if I need to pop inside for a moment.

I’ll be trying something a little different this year in addition to the above. I will be having a table my book, Moonbeams and Ashes, for sale. My customers will be able to purchase a signed copy of my book, which makes a great Mother’s Day gift. We’ll see how things go.

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