How to Boost Your Garage Sale Profits

Men and women searching through items at a garage sale

Holding a garage sale is one of the best possible ways to raise money. Garage sales serve a dual purpose of clearing out your attics, closets, and garage of old junk you don't use and creating more income for the household budget. Not to mention the opportunity to spend an afternoon outside meeting and chatting with your neighbors.

Of course, when you go through all the trouble of cleaning, pricing, and arranging things for a garage sale, you want to get the most from your efforts. Optimizing garage sale profits is all about understanding the psychology of garage sales and what makes them so enjoyable in the first place. Today, we're here to share the top tips for designing your garage sale around selling everything on your tables.

First Weekend of the Month

The first weekend of every month is the hottest weekend for garage sales. Sales that occur on this key weekend are more likely to see people stopping to shop, and people buying more items when they do stop. Why?

Because most professionals get paid at the beginning or end of each month, making that first weekend their most cash-flushed. When everyone is freshly paid and feeling good is exactly when you want your garage sale open for business. So circle your calendar for that first weekend of any month.

Diversify Your Marketing

People find out about garage sales through all sorts of channels. Some people are purposefully thrift shopping, many others are stopping on impulse as they see the opportunity on a pleasant afternoon. So get the word out there in as many ways as possible to cast the widest net for your garage sale marketing.

Online

  • Pin your garage sale plans on your social media
  • Make it into a Facebook event and invite your friends and neighbors
  • Post it on Craigslist under your community events section

Local Newsletters

  • Send an announcement through your HOA
  • Let your Church Community know
  • Share with the PTA, your Book Club, and more

Flyer Campaign

  • Cover your neighborhood with brightly colored garage sale flyers
  • Ask local businesses to pin a garage sale flyer in their window or on their bulletin board

Neighborhood Signs

  • Place brightly colored (and clearly lettered) neighborhood signs leading to your garage sale
  • Include the date and address on the back of each

Set Category Prices

Haggling can be fun at a garage sale, but customers don't actually enjoy turning every item over to find the exact price. Make shopping easy and worry-free for your customers by pricing by category instead of by item. Price all shirts the same low dollar amount, and all dishes the same amount.

Alternately, you can use colored dots, stickers, or tape to color-code your prices. An orange dot might mean $5, for example, while a blue dot means $2. This way, your customers can browse happily without any real concern about the prices.

For large or uniquely priced items, write the price on a very large label or index card to prevent confusion or under-bidding.

Make it Browseable

Arrange your garage sale in a way that is visually appealing and easy to browse. Create a few rows of folding tables and arrange items on multiple levels. You can use boxes, barrels, or even mixing bowls to separate out items of various categories and display them in fun ways. Arrange items on other items for sale, or stack and hang them off each other.

Hang Clothes on Racks

If you have clothes to sell, the best way is on a rack. You can make one out of a curtain rod, shower rod, or dowel rod and any kind of stand. Being able to browse through hanging clothes is much more appealing and enjoyable than sifting through folded stacks.

However, if you have a large pile of something like baby bibs or socks, these can be put in a bowl instead of hanging.

Create a Browsing Path

Arrange your garage sale so that it's easy for customers to browse in one direction without missing anything or running into each other. Think about the browsing path and don't be shy to use your yard and stepping stones to expand your garage sale space.

Set Up a Kids Area

If you have a lot of outgrown toys to sell, there's a very good argument for creating a welcoming kid's area for little ones to play. Start with an old rug, floor mat, or heavy blanket that can be laid out on the ground. Then create an enclosure or semi=circle of larger toys filled with smaller toys for your younger customers to play with while their parents shop.

Not only does this make a more welcoming sale environment, but children are very likely to beg for their favorite toy of play-time when their parents are ready to go. Place the kid's area near your register so you can help keep an eye on the visiting children.

Refreshments, Seating, and Music

Finally, start thinking like a family reunion. If you really want people to linger all day choosing items to buy and inviting their neighbors and friends to join, then create a welcoming seating arrangement. A little soft music can make your event a relaxing place that neighbors are drawn to as they enjoy their own weekend afternoons.

A few folding chairs can make a huge difference for your older or more tired customers who want to stay and shop almost as much as they want to sit down in the shade.

You may also get a lot of traction with one large cooler of lemonade and disposable cups to share. For a high-traffic area, charge a few cents for the lemonade. For a relaxed neighborhood sale, offer it as complimentary refreshments to friends and customers.

There are more than a few ways to boost the business and profits from your garage sale. Using these tricks will help you reach customers who are relaxed, looking for something to do, and who have money to spend.