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7 Tips for a Profitable Garage Sale

There are now more ways than ever to get cash for your unwanted stuff. You can take things to consignment stores, sell on eBay or Craigslist or use any number of direct selling apps on your phone. But when you want to sell a lot of diverse items quickly, you still can’t beat a good old-fashioned garage or yard sale. And if you’re going to go through the work of putting it together, you want to come out richer at the end. Here are 7 tips to help make your next garage sale or yard sale as profitable as possible.

Offer Plenty to Sell—A sparse garage sale doesn’t have much curb appeal. Treasure hunters are looking for a good reason to stop, so give them many! When considering items to sell, just about anything goes. Along with clothing and household goods you’ve grown tired of, include things like leftover craft supplies, cans of paint, spare auto parts, tools, books & magazines, kids’ toys & games, and sports equipment. You never know what someone might be looking for and be thrilled to find. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.    

Spruce Things Up—Obviously, customers won’t be expecting items to be in like-new condition, but they should be clean and presentable. Once you’ve decided what you’re selling, spend some time preparing it for sale. Clothing and shoes should be clean and fresh-smelling, small appliances should be free of spots and spills, and furniture should be dusted and ideally, polished. The more appealing your items are, the more you will sell. Don’t put anything out for sale that you wouldn’t want to purchase yourself.

Make it Easy to Shop—Group items together in a logical way to make shopping easier. Clothing, shoes and accessories together in one area. Books, magazines, DVDs and CDs in another, tools and DIY supplies in another, and so on. Garage sale fans love the thrill of the hunt, but you can make their search easier by creating common-sense groupings of similar products.

Don’t Price Too High…or Too Low—Pricing garage sale items can be tricky. Price items too high, and you’ll lose casual browsers. Price them too low, and you take away the opportunity for die-hard bargain hunters to haggle. While there’s no set rule for pricing, think about what you realistically would be willing to pay for the same item in its current condition. And speaking of pricing, be sure prices are clearly marked on items. If you just can’t take the time to price each item individually, create large, clear signs with prices for each type of product, i.e. ‘All Books, $1.00,’ ‘All Clothing $2.00’ etc.

Remember that Time is Money—It might seem counterintuitive, but you’ll get more bang for your buck if you limit your sale to a day or, at most, a day-and-a-half. You’ll be busiest and make the majority of your sales on the first day when inventory is highest. Dragging it out over multiple days just creates a lot of work with little chance for real profit past the first day.

Draw Customers with Freebies—Nothing sparks interest like the word ‘FREE.’ Keep a box clearly marked ‘free’ about halfway up the driveway and fill it with odds n’ ends you don’t mind giving away for nothing. Think random items like extra ear buds, old cell phone chargers, broken costume jewelry, or cracked dishes. Crafters and DIY enthusiasts can find a use for just about anything, and once they’re drawn in to check out the free stuff, they’ll likely make a purchase.

Offer Profitable Extras—Whether you make them yourself or pick them up from Costco or Sam’s Club, selling snacks and drinks during your garage or yard sale can take your final total over-the-top. It doesn’t have to be complicated, cookies, snack bags of chips and bottled water will sell really well. Hungry shoppers won’t think twice about shelling out a few dollars for a snack and drink to keep them going.