The Tannehill Homestead
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My Tips and Tricks to a Successful Garage Sale

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What are you going to do with all those boxes full of STUFF that have been neglected for who knows how long? Have you thought about having a garage sale? It is a quick way to earn some extra cash, while taking things off your hands you no longer need/want. Sure it takes some work, but I can help!

My grandmother used to have garage sales on a regular basis when I was a child. My sister and I loved to help and see the things we no longer wanted turn into cash! She knew of a lot of things that would intrigue people to stop and have a look around, but she especially knew how to haggle!

By the time I decluttered my things, I knew a garage sale was the perfect thing to help me get rid of my cutter once and for all! What was left over from the garage sale would go to a local charity, but you may be surprised to see how much I managed to sell! [That information is at the bottom of this post.]

Needless to say, I have a good bit of experience decluttering and hosting garage sales! So if you are not quite excited about donating everything and would like to make some extra money on the things you no longer want, this post is definitely your ticket to success!

What are you going to do with all those boxes full of STUFF that have been neglected for who knows how long? Have you thought about having a garage sale? It is a quick way to earn some extra cash, while taking things off your hands you no longer need/want. Sure it takes some work, but I can help!

My Tips & Tricks for a Successful Garage Sale

1. Getting ready

Price as you declutter // This will save you so much time! You will not touch everything twice, and it gives you less opportunity to bring it back inside your home. The point of decluttering is to rid your home of the excess; not to second guess your decision of letting go of something.

Also, if it is a multi-family garage sale, be sure to initial everything. This will help whomever is keeping up with who has made what.

Organize according to category // Having things grouped together by category will allow you to see how much you have of certain items. Using this will help you decide what to include in advertising your garage sale. For example: I had lots of kitchen, clothes, and home decor; so I made sure it was known that I had a lot of pieces in these categories.

This will also help save you time when you set up your garage sale.

Label your boxes // Sometimes you need to get back into certain boxes to add to it, or pull something out if you sell it before the sale. Labeling your boxes will save you a lot of time trying to find the right box.

Plan out the week of the garage sale // Allow yourself a full week to finalize everything for the garage sale. This plan needs to include scheduling newspaper ads, facebook ads, etc.; when you are going to start setting up; how you are going to organize everything; and what will happen with what remains.

2. Setting Up

Gather Tables and Clothing Racks // The biggest tip I can share is to make sure you have plenty of tables and clothing racks! People do not want to bend down to look through boxes. [Trust me, I’ve done it both ways!] Having enough to space things out some will make it appear like you have a lot more than you do, and will incline people to look thoroughly and for a longer period of time. This will increase the odds of them grabbing up more.

Decide on your layout // Some people think grouping things by category is best, and while I do not disagree, I do not feel it is a must. What is a must is creating a flow plan. You want to make sure people have enough room to move around when there are lots of people there. If you place your things too close together, people may bump into each other and get frustrated. Giving ample space prevents this, and keeps people happy at your garage sale.

Bulk boxes // If you are wanting to make sure you sell as much as possible, bulk pricing things can be a big help! If you have a lot of Tupperware or craft supplies, place them in a box and mark a bulk price on them. It will ensure all of the things in that group are sold. Yes, you will probably sell it for less than if you separated them, but in the end, you will have more leave than stay. People like to think they are getting a bargain, and this helps tremendously!

3. Selling Your Stuff

Haggle // People come to garage sales to haggle. Yes, I know you already priced your stuff incredibly cheap, but that does not matter. Do not be afraid to haggle back with anyone who makes an offer. Sometimes they are trying to see how firm you are or you may have something overpriced. [Happens to us all!] If you have something you are firm on, do not be afraid to stay firm. Some will agree and some will put it down, but that is all part of the fun!

Ask for offers // Being motivated to not take your stuff back inside may create a situation of you asking that person to make you an offer. [I did this, and often times I got more for it than I would have if I had made the offer.] Do not be afraid to put them on the spot. Remember, they are there to take things off your hands. Doing this can sell a lot more of your stuff than you think. I was very aggressive with this approach, and sold lots more because of it.

Reorganize as things sell // As things sell you want to reorganize what is there. Giving things more space or moving it around can help sell it. At first, your tables are probably pretty full, but after a couple of hours, they will not be as full. If you have things on the floor, move them to a table when there is space for it. If you notice something is not selling very well in an area or how it is displayed, change it.

Go Half-Price // I only suggest this with a two day sale. I always go to half-price when I notice the biggest rush of the morning has already been through, so somewhere around late morning or lunch time is perfect to drop prices. People get excited about sales on top of sales and are apt to grab more!

4. Deciding What To Do With What Remains

You can donate it // Evaluate what is left from the sale. If you feel you can simply donate it, do it immediately after the sale. Do not take it home or inside your home to do it another day. Remember, you had this sale for the simple fact of minimizing and decluttering your home. Do not dwell on a decision. Just do it!

You can take it to a consignment shop // If you do not mind setting up an account and waiting to receive money when your things sell, take it to a consignment shop. This will not be the case for everything, but it is an option for some things.

You can sell it on Facebook or Craigslist // If you have not already tried these options, it may be time to try them. Only do this option if it is worth the effort to set up times to meet someone. Dollar items are not worth the time… Trust me, I’ve been there and done that!

Store for another garage sale // I know this seems counterproductive, but I have a point. The first garage sale with my purged items was about a month ago,  and by the end of it, there was still a lot left. After weighing the options, I decided to hold a second garage sale last weekend. By the end of the second garage sale, I had about half a car load that did not sale; and I more than doubled my earnings!

You only need to agree to this if the time in between is less than a month.

5. Final Tips & the End Results!

Final Tips // A garage sale can be a lot of fun and a lot of work. Remember to not attach yourself to your stuff. They need to find a new home, otherwise they would still be in your home. That does not mean take a ridiculously low price for your things either.

Team up with family members to make it a bigger sale and attract a bigger crowd.

End Results! // I am not going to share my earnings, because I want to focus on the amount of stuff rather than the cash earned.

I started out with 3-4 car loads, an extended cab truck, truck bed, and a trailer full of stuff! By the end of the first garage sale, I had 1 car load, extended cab truck, truck bed, and half a trailer still full of stuff! By the end of the second garage sale, I only had half a car load left of stuff!! I was so excited with the results of the second garage sale, and I did donate the rest to a local charity as soon as we were finished! It feels so good to have it all gone, too!

If you have any additional tips or tricks to make a garage sale successful, please share them below in the comments!

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    June 24, 2016 at 11:33 am

    We have a garage sale every Spring and Fall. I am always willing to negotiate on a price but for items that are like new or priced really well, I write firm on the price sticker. For the most part, I get what I’m asking for on these items but am always willing to work on the price.

  • Reply
    Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life
    June 24, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Garage sales are a lot of work! I have only done 1 or 2 and I usually just think that I’d rather donate things than store up enough stuff for a sale. Plus I never have enough tables! I’m so glad you were able to get rid of so much!

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      June 24, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you, Christine! They are a lot of work! My plan is to donate from here on out unless it is something nice, like a piece of furniture. If I would not have purged so much, I would have donated everything, but I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.

  • Reply
    Emmy
    June 25, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Great tips!

  • Reply
    Karen Grosz
    June 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    I have done garage sales in the past and your suggestions are right now. They can be a lot of work, but you can make money doing them. In my area clothes rarely sell so those get donated immediately, I don’t hassle with them. love that you learned a few things. Good luck when you do your next one. Thanks for sharing on Let’s Get Real Friday Link Party.

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      June 27, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Karen! I have definitely learned my lesson with clothing! I was able to sell a lot of basic t-shirts, but my quality clothing went almost untouched. I do plan to donate anything else I decide I no longer need.

  • Reply
    michelle
    June 27, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Hey. Great tips, I’m going to save for when I have my upcoming sale! Good stuff.

  • Reply
    Carrie
    June 27, 2016 at 6:22 am

    I love your tips, especially the one about pricing as you declutter. Simple tip, yet so timesaving!! Awesome post!

  • Reply
    Kayla
    June 27, 2016 at 6:35 am

    This is such a great post! You know, I’ve never put together a garage sale, but after reading this, I kind of want to have one!! Great advice!! xoxox, Kayla

  • Reply
    Rachel G
    June 27, 2016 at 8:47 am

    We had a big garage sale when we were getting ready to move overseas, and it was so fun because there was no stress about keeping anything–we knew we had to get rid of everything, so we sold it all, at any price. I priced all my pots and pans at $2 apiece, and people went crazy over buying them–it was really fun to see so many people happy about getting such good deals! 🙂

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      June 27, 2016 at 10:10 am

      I agree! The excitement of what people could get was the best part of my previous garage sale! It made me so happy to know that people loved and needed the things I did not.

  • Reply
    Cara
    June 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Great tips! I definitely agree with grouping like items and hanging clothes. I actually enjoy garage sales! haha is that weird?

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      June 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      Not at all, Cara! I had a great time with my garage sales! I just hope I never have enough stuff to have one again! I did tell my sister-in-law I would help with her next one just to get it out of my system! haha!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Hicks
    June 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing. I just moved to a new apartment and we loaded up boxes with garage sale stuff. Now it’s time for the fun part… 🙂

  • Reply
    Scott M
    June 30, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve done a few garage sales and I do not like haggling. So I put more effort into pricing my items fairly and cheaply. That way I feel comfortable in holding firm on my price. But since I’m not perfect, and my pricing could be off, I put up a sign that everything is 50% after noon, and at 3 PM its 75%. The sale ends at 4 PM If someone want’s something bad enough, they can come back later for a cheap price. For me, the haggling isn’t fun and I’d rather make less money than argue with everyone.

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      June 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      My sister-in-law is the same way when it comes to haggling. Everyone has their likes and dislikes with garage sales. The important thing is to work your strong points and make the most of the experience.

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