We recently mocked up our June budget and realized we were only $250 away from being able to pay off our next debt on our debt snowball. Seeing that we had our weekend wide open we decided – why not have a garage sale!
I was raised in the country so we rarely participated in any kind of yard or garage sale because we didn’t have the traffic for it to make sense. I was excited to host my first on my own in our fairly new-to-us neighborhood.
JR and I have been known to hustle a bit on Craigslist and the now super convenient Facebook Marketplace. One day we made $500 in a few short hours selling furniture and finding items for free and reselling for a bit more. When it came to marketing my garage sale, I knew this would come in handy to get people to our tiny cul-de-sac corner.
1. Marie Kondo Your House – the first thing I did was start at one corner of my house and work my way to the other end creating a huge pile of items that “no longer brought us joy!” 😉 I didn’t worry about organizing it or anything. Clearing through every space in your house first and organizing later will help you focus on creating a high amount of inventory.
2. Sell For A Friend – the next thing I did was text our close friends and see if they had anything to sell. They had recently gotten married and she had quite a few great wedding items she brought over. As you’ll see in #3 it helped bring in more traffic and helped me sell some of my items. Just be sure to keep the sticker tag so you can keep track of their earnings. She made $70+ without a drop of sweat!
3. Post Single Items on Facebook Marketplace – definitely take some good photos of your sale and post a clear concise message with the times and location of your sale on your Facebook as well as your community swap shop groups. But don’t overlook posting specific items on Facebook Marketplace as well. This helped bring in tons of traffic of people looking to pick up a specific item and realizing they liked a few other things as well. This is by far my top tip. In your item description be sure to mark that it is available at a garage sale and there are “no holds” in case another shopper beats them to the punch. Also be sure to mark items sold once they sell so people aren’t driving a ways for an item that is no longer there.
Description Example: Do not need to arrange pick up! Will be available at garage sale today until 5pm and Saturday from 9-3pm. Come pick up! First come, first served!
Friday, May 31 – Noon to 5pm
Saturday, June 1 – 9am-3pm
4. Furniture Brings People to the Yard – I posted the picture above as my first photo in my general garage sale post and I cannot even count how many people showed up asking about the purple chair. Now you may not have a vast collection of vintage chairs in your basement like I no longer do, but don’t discount some good photos of large items – especially furniture. Sure your small items will sell, but visually when people search through listings they are mostly looking at the large items.
5. Keep Your Tables Full – once your sale has started make sure to walk around and keep your tables full and organized. We had the wedding items scattered around and after a while I decided to group them all together. Within a short while a lady came by and slowly picked up one item, then the next, and ended up buying the whole lot.
6. Customer Service Is Key – this is true in business and now that is what you are in for the weekend! Never discount giving people a kind Hello! or How are you doing? Not everyone is going to enjoy talking with you but it will open the door for us extroverts. Once you get to chatting you may realize some items work for them they may have missed. One lady was talking to me about planting some flowers and how she was looking for a terra-cotta flower pot, so I went into our garage and sold her one of mine that I had planned on keeping for $4!
7. Offer Things For Free – if you have a cooler of bottled water or a child picks up a small keychain, offer to give it away for free. Be careful to not have too much expectation surrounding this but sometimes this makes people feel more obligated to purchase something. My brother did this when he sold produce at farmer’s markets. He’d give the small children the $.25 tiny pumpkins for free and their grandparents would end up giving him $5/10/20! Talk about a mark up on the quarter pumpkins! It was super hot the day of our sale and we had $.50 bottles of water and would tell people to help themselves!
8. Market in High Traffic Intersections – this should be a bit of common sense but be sure to post very clear signs in high traffic intersections. Especially where the traffic is already headed in your direction. Make sure it is visible for 3-5 cars back if they light is red. And always be sure to have clear signage all the way up to the house.
9. Go For 50% In The Last Two Hours – while you are making up your signs, make some 50% off everything signs as well. Go post them during the last two hours of your sale and see if you can wrangle some last minute sales. I took all the items that were $.25 or less and put them on a FREE table with a “FREE” sign facing the street to get people to stop as well instead of driving by my mostly picked over sale.
10. Sell Your Clothes Before!!! (Or After) – it’s a fact that clothes just don’t sell as well at garage sales. One of the best ways to have them sell better is to have them on hangers for people to sift through rather than have them folded on a table. We took all the clothes that didn’t sell to a resale shop (Plato’s Closet) after our sale and they gave us $30! We probably would have made much more if we took them in before the sale rather than after!
We met our goal very quickly and made a lot more than we were planning on! Good luck!