Theresa's Mixed Nuts: Tips For Holding A Successful Garage Sale

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tips For Holding A Successful Garage Sale


I love yard sales! Every year I look forward to spring because I know that they are going to be popping up and our Saturday mornings are going to be filled by driving around searching for bargains. My mom started dragging me to them as far back as I can remember, so I’d say I’ve got quiet a few years of shopping yard sales under my belt. As a seasoned yard seller, I’d like to share some tips that make me want to stop at your sale.
Signage is #1 and very important! 
•Bright colored signs at the entrance to your street or subdivision are key. If you have a teeny tiny sign that I’ll miss if I blink as I’m driving by, I won’t stop.
•Big, bold, print letters on the sign. Balloons are good too.
• Don’t put too much information on the sign. “Garage Sale” followed by an arrow with a street name is all that is needed. When you crowd the sign with too much information I can’t get the street name as I’m turning in. If I can’t find your street, I drive on looking for the next sale.
• Did I mention ARROWS? I don’t need your home address. I am usually driving in an unfamiliar neighborhood and don’t know where xxx Timbucktoo Drive is. I don’t have GPS, so I depend on those arrows to direct me to your sale.
Layout and Merchandising
• Please make an attempt to put your stuff on tables. I do not like to shop off the ground. If you don’t have tables for clothes, take 2 ladders, stick a broom between them and hang clothes on hangers on them. Line up a few similar size boxes and lay an old sheet over them for other items.
•This goes for clothes in boxes also. If I have to dig for stuff in boxes, I get frustrated easily and leave.
• If you don’t want my kids to touch the toys, keep them out of their reach. My children (as most I know) have their own money to spend, and if they find a toy they like, they are more than likely getting it. I don’t look at the toys. I rely on my children showing interest in an item, informing me of said item, then I make a decision. If they can’t touch, we probably aren’t going to buy.
• Dirty items are unattractive. It takes a few seconds to wipe down your kids last meal before selling that old high chair or other toys.
•PRICE TAG YOUR ITEMS! Nothing ticks me off more than stopping at a sale and nothing is priced. If you don’t want to price everything individually, then group price your items. Ex- all shirts $1, all jeans, $3, ect. If I have to ask you how much every single thing is, I leave without buying anything. Most of the time I feel like you are making stuff up on the spot to see how much I’ll actually pay.
• Please leave me alone to browse on my own. A simple Hi is nice. It lets me know that you’ve seen me, and I know who the seller is if I have any questions. Please don’t hover over me asking me what I am looking for and start throwing your items my way. Usually I don’t know what I’m looking for. I just stopped to find the unexpected and having you push me into a sale makes me uncomfortable, and I will leave.
Your items have no sentimental value to me, so pricing them high because you can’t bear to part with them cheaply because your dearly departed grandma gave them to you hold no bearing on my purchasing decision. Bargains do.
• I will not pay more for your items than I can get them for at the thrift store. Putting $10 tags on a pair of Aeropostale jeans is going to get me to leave pretty quick. I can purchase jeans for $7 at Goodwill every day, and $3.50 on 1/2 price days. $5 for hardcover books don’t fly either. If you would like to try to get a higher price for your used stuff, sell on Ebay.
• Speaking of Ebay, don’t stand there and tell me what you could make for your stuff on there or have printouts for what these items are going for online. As stated above, if this is your goal, sell online, but remember the fees associated with doing so.
• No need to get snippy if I ask you if you’ll take less for an item. A simple, sorry, that’s the lowest I’m willing to go, or “I’m sorry, I’m selling that for someone else and it’s not mine to bargain with” are all that is needed. Don’t stand there and get huffy and give me a big back story on why you won’t take less. 
Finalizing the Sale
Please have the correct amount of change on hand or have it close to your check out stand. I hate standing there waiting for you to run in the house to make change. Also, many times I decide to stop at a sale on a whim. I get cash from the ATM which only provides $20 bills. I’m not trying to deplete your change stash on purpose, but be advised, many early morning shoppers will pay with $20’s so have a nice amount on $1’s and $5’s on hand at the beginning of your sale.
• If you have an issue adding and subtracting in your head (as I do sometimes) a calculator is your friend. Don’t be embarrassed by using one. It’s more embarrassing to have a customer point out that you short changed them.
• Ok, this is probably snarky of me, but it’s one that irritates me. Don’t get me wrong, I love children and encourage most things that teach them, but when you are letting your child take money and count change while the line builds up, that’s not cool. I like to hit up as many sales as I can in the short amount of time I have, and when it takes 5 minutes for your 6 year old to complete the transaction, I get annoyed. Toys R Us sells play money that you can teach them with on your own time.
• If you have another adult available (like your husband) and your line is building up, have them help the next person in line. I’ve been to sales where the husband is just standing there looking pretty while the woman is doing all the work and the line is down the driveway. If he can add, he can take the money so the rest of us can get on with our day.
Most importantly- Take down your signs when your sale is over! I hate wasting my time driving around looking for a sale that already happened. It makes me want to do donuts in your yard :-P
Do you like to yard sale? What do you like to shop for at them? Any tips you would like to provide for a successful sale?



  1. You certainly know yard sale do's and don'ts! I've personally never held one myself. I fear of all the work lugging it outside, setting it up, pricing it, and then have nobody show up. I'd rather just go to other people's yard sales lol :)


    1. We just had ours this past weekend. We started set up at 6am and finally I made my mom take the signs down at 5pm. People would not stop coming! Only once a year am I crazy enough to do this but the extra money sure is nice!

  2. great tips...we have a neighborhood yard kids LOVE it!!! they come home with so much......what is a nice word I can use?

    1. Neighborhood sales are the best! I'm not sure what that nice word would be because we end up with so much of it too lol.

  3. Wow, you're a yard sale pro! Great tips and I know lots of yard sales I've been to that could use them. My mom and I are pretty good at yard sales and follow most of those tips! My mom's the pro though compared to me hehe. It's a lot of work, but can be worth it! :)

    1. Our moms usually are better at them than us. I say it's cause they've had a few more years to work on it lol. My mom was driving me nuts at ours, she's so organized, but we did get a lot of compliments on the set up, so I guess she does know what she's doing!

  4. Great garage sale tips! I too hate it when people don't take their signs down!

  5. i LOVE garage sales! that is why i love this time of gets warmer and ppl start to do a little spring cleaning and i have found some great items at sales.

  6. HAHAHAHA you and I are so much alike! I Really love your first bullet under pricing about sentimental value! I don't care if your daughter made it! Or my favorite is "it's pretty much new" NO IT'S NOT IT'S AT A GARAGE SALE! ha ha ha Yes, Yes, Yes I love every word you said! I am working on a post about this I will have to reference you and send everyone your way!

    1. That "it's pretty much new" irritates me too. I look at the stuff like a car lot does. Once you've used it, it's drastically decreased in value. If I want to pay new prices, I'll go to the store. That way I know I can return it if there is a problem!

      I can't wait to read your post! I get such a kick out of discussing garage sales!

  7. There is definitely an art to garage sales. I love them. Even when I only get 20 cents for something - I feel like I'm making a fortune! Thanks for linking up for Flash Blog Friday!


Thanks for your comments! I appreciate every one of them :)

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