Garage sale season has arrived. Here are the top 10 things to do to make the most money at your garage sale.
▪ Choose the right date. Yes, it must fit into your busy schedule, but it also must work well for everyone else. This means avoiding major holidays and choosing a date near the 1st or the 15th of the month, which lands on or around payday for most buyers, says Jamie Novak, author of “Keep This Toss That.”
A weekend in the early or late summer, when it’s not as hot, usually does best, adds Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, a personal finance website.
▪ Make it a group event. Multifamily sales get about 50 percent more traffic, so before you do this alone, ask neighbors if they want to have a block sale, Novak says.
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If you can’t get a group together, then ask friends and family if they want you to sell their items at your sale. “The more things you have, the more people will stop,” says Aaron LaPedis, author of “The Garage Sale Millionaire.”
▪ Figure out the value of your items. If you have something that your grandmother gave you, then Google it and make sure it’s not a $100,000 item that you’re trying to sell for $10, says Lynda Hammond, author of “The Garage Sale Gal’s Guide to Making Money Off Your Stuff.” You don’t want to see your items on “Antiques Roadshow.”
“You can even get an opinion from an appraiser,” Hammond says. “When in doubt, have it checked out.”
▪ Spend time on your expensive items. If you have bigger, pricier items, then make sure they look good, LaPedis says. Put air into the tires of the bicycle; dust and wipe down the table.
But don’t put in a ton of time on items that are priced at just a few dollars. “It’s not cost-efficient,” LaPedis says.
▪ Stage the items. Transform your yard into a story with a little staging, Novak says. For example, group a dress with a bag and a necklace that go together, along with a full-length mirror; place a picnic basket with a fishing pole, and make a sign that says, “Gone fishing.” You could also have a board game area with a popcorn bowl, some blankets and a sign that says, “Family game night.”
“Taking an extra moment to make these little groupings will really pay off; they’ll fly off the table,” Novak says.
▪ Set up a children’s table. This table should be stocked with crayons and coloring paper for kids to keep busy while parents shop, Novak says, since fewer distractions will lead to more sales.
▪ Stock measuring tape. Keep measuring tape handy for customers to check the dimensions of your furniture, Novak says. You may even want to put little pencils and paper throughout the sale, so everyone can jot down the dimensions, along with notes about their favorites, “Ikea-style.”
▪ Get spare change. Have this handy ahead of time, so you don’t miss out on a sale, Schrage says.
▪ Advertise the event. Use social media to get the word out about your sale, Hammond says. Start about a week before the event with a Craigslist ad, and then bump the ad up the day before the sale.
Use Facebook and Twitter as well, letting as many people as possible know about your sale, and as soon as you’ve organized your items, post pictures.
▪ Get your signage. This will make or break a garage sale, says LaPedis, who makes 20 signs before each of his garage sales. These need to be large (so don’t bother with any 8x10-inch signs). LaPedis suggests doing them on white foam board or on bright, bold cardboard.
“Put them within a few blocks of your sale at really great intersections, plus the exit of supermarkets and libraries, and go at least 3 miles out,” he says. When you get closer to your house, use signs with arrows.
Put the signs up the morning of your sale because the weather may ruin them if they’re up any earlier, or a competing garage sale host may take yours down, LaPedis says. Go back right before your sale begins to make sure your signs are still up.