Make money on your garage sale with these marketing and organization tips.

We’ve made hundreds of dollars on garage sales and have helped plenty of friends and family members host their own yard sales. Having a garage sale takes some time and effort, but with a little planning, organization and creative marketing, you can make it totally worth your while.

Plan for Garage Sale Success

Approach the garage sale like a mini-business. Start by planning ahead, as far in advance as possible. Gather items from closets and the garage or storage shed, labeling or pricing as you go. If you don’t live in a high-traffic area or find that your mounting pile of items isn’t really mounting, it’s time to find a partner in your venture! Get a friend, neighbor or family member to join you and choose the house with the best visibility or most traffic as your site.

Then be sure to purchase some heavy-duty posterboard that won’t flop around in the wind. The brighter, the better. And make sure you have a bold marker or sharpie on hand for the big day. Get your ad ready and include your hours and a few of the larger or hottest items. Place the ad right before the sale in your local paper, Craigslist and other local papers or shopper magazines if the price is right. And don’t forget about social media, which is free. Spread the word to local friends on Facebook.

Garage Sale Retailing 101

We said this is a business, right? So keep the organization going, and put your marketing hat on. Begin grouping like items, so you can set them out together that morning. If a shopper stops by who is only interested in baby items, don’t make her search for them – have a baby section!

If you have furniture for sale, group it like a showroom floor or a staged room in your home. Make it easy for a potential buyer to see how nice it might look in their home. Decide which items you have that will make drivers hit the brakes. And have those more attractive or popular items ready to display front and center, like in a store window.

Prepare to make items look nice, so people want to buy them. Instead of dumping jewelry in a box, hang necklaces on wall hooks or a hall tree. At the least, separate them as you gather them from the house into a tackle box tray or similar divider. Hang clothes or linens if you can.

Use bulk pricing. You’d be surprised what people collect, or the appeal of a deal. Box up like items, such as tools or plastic ware, and offer a low price for the entire box. This works even better at the end of the day, when you’d rather let the items go for a dollar than have to haul them to a donation bin.

The day before your sale, make your signs bold and catchy to draw attention to your sale.

Help Customers

Set aside a small table where customers can wrap up their finds to keep them safe in the car. Have newspaper, bags or old boxes, and let them wrap their own. That also frees up your time. If you have a truck, offer delivery on large items for $10 more, depending on the buyer’s location.

Tag Team

A garage sale is too much work for one person. And multifamily sales usually attract more customers. So work in teams of at least two or three if you can. Assign roles if it makes you more organized as a team. Color code your pricing to keep it simple. For example, yellow dots mean $1, blue means $2, and so on.

And have a list ready to keep track of each person’s take. You can add initials to the color tabs and record each sale quickly in a spiral notebook. Have plenty of singles available for change.

Be Safe and Aware

The other advantage to having more help is that you can remain more aware of what’s going on around you. Most shoppers are honest, but dishonest people stop by. The more eyes you have on shoppers and the more you circulate among them, the less likely any of your items will be stolen. Keep your money secure, especially as it grows throughout the day. You can take surplus to a safe spot inside (not the kitchen table you see through the window) and use a fanny pack or other system to keep money on your body.


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This post is adapted from the April 26, 2014 episode of Home Wizards that was released on iTunes April 27, 2014. You can find this segment during hour two of the podcast.