When I was a little kid, nothing filled me with such hope and excitement as a well-organized garage sale. The endless possibilities and unpassable bargains burned a hole through my allowance like they were candy and trading cards. The funny thing about yard/garage sales is that you can usually tell if they have good stuff just by a quick glance from the road, or by a short inspection of the advertisements. Sure, you may find something really cool at a less impressive sale, but the water-stained boxes and rusted chairs will probably make you second guess the entire affair. Fortunately, I’m here to help with some simple tips that will certainly distinguish your garage sale from those “please take” furniture set ups by the side of the road. If you are selling some items over a series of days, you may want to consider getting a portable storage unit to establish that cool factor. It will also show your patrons that you mean business. You can store loose items that you’ve collected during the decluttering process.
Advertising is important!
When it comes to advertising for garage sales, less is always more (in style, not in quantity). Post signs around the neighborhood or put up fliers at a local coffee shop, but don’t go overboard with images or decorations. The marketing world has soured advertising for a lot of people and an overhyped garage sale could leave a bad taste in their mouths. Simple, bold colors on a white (or neutral colored) background will do well. As far as content is concerned, put only the basic information like the street address and a contact number, if you so choose. One thing that seems to work well is a short listing on Craigslist. Put pictures of your more valuable items to entice potential buyers. The object they desire might be sold before they arrive, but you’ve gotten them in the door (or on the lawn, rather) for other purchases. Advertisement offers a great opportunity for the kids to participate as they can ride their bikes around the neighborhood, placing fliers in strategic locations.
The key is a nice layout!
Successful garage sales all follow the same basic layout formula, so why try to deviate? Use the tried and true method to make sure your items look neat and orderly for the car window shoppers. It goes without saying that you should group like items together and, if items are sold in a set, place them in bags together so that patrons know what’s up. If there are small, loose items, place them in clean containers that are clearly labeled (like kitchenware or baseball cards). You don’t know how many times I’ve been to a garage sale and had to rifle through disorganized boxes that contained items COMPLETELY unlike one another. Major downer for the whole experience. For the larger items, place the biggest in the front, maybe outside of the garage or container, so there is plenty of room for patrons to inspect them. It also has the added effect of making your entire garage sale look bigger and neater. When everything is out and in the open, go around placing price stickers on everything. It will save you the hassle of having to explain pricing if your garage sale becomes a hit.
Consider joining forces!
Your neighbor may be your eternal rival and friend when it comes to house parties, yard care, and even yard sales. Extend the olive branch and offer a nice union of the two garage sales. If you’re having a difficult time finding some extra items to really make your garage sale huge, it may be wise to ask some friends or neighbors to chip in. You can label the items with a different color so that sales can be tracked separately. The size of the sale may seem like a superficial quality, but it really plays on the psychology of potential customers. As a boy, the bigger garage sales always saw my patronage because it amplifies the sense of hope; the fleeting chance that something good will reveal itself deep within the antique furniture and piles of baby clothing.
Create a nice atmosphere!
This is when that southern hospitality is handy! You can create a welcoming atmosphere by offering refreshments, like cookies or lemonade, at your garage sale. By offering food and beverages for free, you are building customers’ which will, in turn, make them more likely to purchase an item. It’s also just a nice thing to do. The contentment on your patron’s faces will make you feel great! You can also go a long way by offering some free items that you know will not bring any money. Just a simple pile with a ‘free’ sign may bring customers to your sale. You may also want to play some of your favorite music to inject some of your personality into the experience. Just keep it to more neutral, family-friendly music so that you don’t turn away customers.