Be a Garage Sale Boss
Who doesn’t love a bargain? I certainly do, which explains why I have so much stuff. Toys. Clothes. Kitchen Gadgets. Whatever it is, I probably own two of it, and everything is now piled so high in my house that it’s making me feel anxious and slightly – OK, seriously – overwhelmed.
Longtime readers will recognize these warning signs from the last time clutter made me almost institutionalized in a straightjacket (read about it here). And just like the last time, I know there’s only one thing to do: Let it goooooo. That’s right, Elsa: It’s Epic Garage Sale Time. And as I always say, if you don’t love something, set it free. And offload it in a giant garage sale.
I’m no stranger to selling stuff en garage. Honestly, my first memory of front-porch peddling was at the age of four when my parents had a garage sale in Wedgewood before we moved to Ridglea. I started hosting my own garage sales beginning in college when I attended SMU. I mean, a woman’s gotta purge when a woman’s gotta purge, amIright?
Over the years, I’ve honed my techniques to speed up sales and maximize profits while minimizing looky-loos and randos trying to sneak five-finger discounts. So, in the spirit of sweet deals, I’m going to give you my Top Ten Tips for Epic Garage Sales, absolutely free, so you, too, can be a Yard Sale Boss!
Christy Smith’s Top Tips for an Epic Garage Sale
1. Plan Ahead
Epicness doesn’t just happen. It’s a process. Throughout the year, I collect merchandise around the house, price it, and then toss the unwanted and unused stuff into a few boxes that I keep in the garage. Usually, I start with the small stuff. Not everything gets set aside – I do sell some items on local FB pages, but I always make sure to keep plenty of fabulous big ticket items for my Epic Sale.
2. Monitor Quality from the Start
My garage sales are EPIC because I don’t sell junk. Before I toss stuff into the box, I make sure it works, it’s unstained, it’s got all the parts, and the batteries are still good.
3. Be a Great Hostess
I always serve Champagne and OJ at my garage sales. People love hospitality, and you’d be surprised what people decide they need to buy after chugging a Mimosa!
4. Get Your Family Into the Act
My sales always include lots of items donated from my parents home (they purge too), and sometimes the boys will sell donuts, kolaches, and lemonade. It takes a village to sell stuff to villagers!
5. Be Social but Stay Safe
I genuinely love people, and I genuinely enjoy chatting with strangers from all walks of life. Through all the years I’ve been hosting garage sales, I’ve only experienced a few instances where someone has stolen from me. It sucked, but at the end of the day, it’s just stuff. Most important are my kids and ensuring their safety. If they’re on-site, they never leave my sight.
6. Sweeten the Pot
I always keep a 25¢ box filled with small toys and trinkets for kids to get a little something extra while rummaging with their parents. When adding up the total that people owe, I throw in a few of these tiny treats. It makes the parents feel like they got a bonus, and the kids love getting something new.
7. Make it Easy
I always mark my house with balloons and place a few signs at nearby intersections. In the past, I’ve hired off-duty police officers to manage crowd control and traffic flow – nothing kills a shopping mood like a bottlenecked traffic jam. We just invested in street cones to control the parking situation.
8. Getting the Word Out
When it comes to advertising our sale, I turn to social media. It’s effective, and the price is right! (Free!). I post on my personal FB page, in a few buy/sell and mommy forums on Facebook and on Next Door. I also create an event on FB to help guide people to our location, which becomes a reminder for them right before the sale starts.
9. Enlist the Troops
Never host a garage sale without several friends helping, especially during the first few hours. These thrifty shoppers come in droves and swoop in on all your slashed-to-sell goodies as soon as you open the gates! I always have 4-6 people helping me with the sale, and I pay them in $100 credit towards their purchase of my seconds.
10. Be Smart about Pricing
Here’s my unofficial pricing method: Depending on the age and condition of the items, we usually mark things between 50%-90% off retail. If it’s a brand new item with or without tags, or something super unique or vintage, I do a little research to see what that item is selling for on eBay, The Real Real or 1stDibs. And then I mark accordingly to align with a similar price point that was listed.
Organizing and arranging stuff for the sale is my favorite part of a garage sale – it totally satisfies my OCD. And, because this is all about bargains, here is my bonus advice:
Christy’s Favorite 6 Tips for Garage Sale Organization
1. Be sure to have lots of plastic folding tables and garment racks, even if you have to borrow some from friends and neighbors.
2. Use cardboard boxes to hold bulk items.
3. Have paper grocery sacks ready to give to shoppers as they arrive to make it easier to shop your treasure trove. Save your bags throughout the year for ample supply.
4. If you have items with multiple small parts, put them into various sized ziplock bags and mark the price with a sharpie. This keeps things from getting separated when people rummage. (This works especially well for toys with small/multiple parts.)
5. Use a tagging gun for clothing. I like to note the size, price and also measurements if something has been altered like the inseam.
6. Don’t forget the dough! The day before your sale, stop by the bank and get $100-125 in change per money handler.
So that’s it! I’m gonna get back to tagging and setting up this mother so you can rummage through my life this Saturday at our EPIC yard sale! Besides, who can resist a glass of champagne and a carload of bargains?
Let me know you’re popping over by RSVPing to THIS Facebook event link.