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How to have the BEST Garage Sale, with the highest earnings, littlest prep, and not much left over.

We have had many, many garage sale in our lives to raise money for different things, and from the first to the 20th, I have learned a lot about how to make it work best…

We have a lot of friends who are having adoption or charity garage sales right now, and we want them to be a HUGE success!  So I will give all of my best tips for the easiest, highest earning, best charity garage sale, with not much left over, although it will work for any garage sale and give you the best results.

Our first garage sale I had a pile of stuff left over that I had to then deal with, or worse, wake up on another morning while trying to find a place to store it, in the meantime and not as much money as I hoped, not good.

Andrew and I also do most of our shopping at garage sales, and we know instantly when we walk up if the people who are selling will do well, or not, and we also know in about 5 seconds if we will stay and shop or leave right away 🙂

So now, I share with you!

The good news is that the BEST GARAGE SALES take little to no prep at all, little stress and go great, so let me tell you how!

Before Sale:
(By that I mean night before, no need to prep earlier except by piling your stuff in your garage and bringing it out the next morning :)

1. Morning of, or night before ONLY post it to Craiglist.  People usually pop on their phones while they drive around the morning of the garage sale, and they show up as most recent, so be a procrastinator in posting to come up first 🙂  List a couple big items, mention it’s a charity and you have gotten lots of donations from other families, etc.

2.  Make 4-5 signs for local cross streets with address and an arrow pointing those looking in the right direction.  Bright colors if you can!

3.  No need to fold or prep clothes early in the morning, pile ’em up.  The early buyers are usually looking for bigger ticket items, so you can kind of go through clothes, separating them during slow moments.  People will be going through them throughout the day anyways.

4.   DO NOT LABEL PRICES!  Do no buy neon circles and stay up all night deciding to write $5 or $7 on your old screw driver, even though it’s tempting.  (I’ll explain more in next section)

5.  Start at 6am, end by 11am.  A lot of people will come early, and if you’re not ready, they will be gone.  It’s a specific and purchase driven crowd in the early morning.

During Sale

1. If it is a charity garage sale, feel free to tell people, but just know, people won’t care, and that’s ok.  Raising money for your adoption, funding cheerleading outfits, that’s so great, but people who shop at garage sales don’t wake up at the crack of dawn because they are looking to give their money away, they are there because they need to be, and because they can’t afford to shop elsewhere in most cases.  Have a sign up about your cause if you like, but don’t feel bad if people don’t care.

2. DO NOT LABEL PRICES!  Do not buy neon circles and stay up all night deciding to write $5 or $7 on your old screw driver, even though it’s tempting.
                        -This may be hard to think about if it’s your first garage sale because in many cases you may still feel attached to your junk that you don’t need that other people do, but the best thing you can do is sell for QUANTITY!

                          -Move as much stuff as possible, meaning sell for cheap.  I know you may remember how much you paid for it 5 years ago, or that you got those pooka shells you don’t wear on vacation to Cabo, but it’s not fun to have a bunch of stuff left over, actually, it totally sucks.  Your old jeans, or coffee maker or dusty wall art will do so much better with someone who actually needs it, while you make a couple bucks, and have it gone from sitting in your garage.

Clutter=stress=fatigue=more clutter!
Just sell it.  
In fact, oversell.  Go into your garage, your home, and find more stuff while the sale is going on, you won’t miss it.  Look for things taking up space but you haven’t used in a year, two, five.  Buy something better with the money you make.

      –Instead of labels, prepare yourself with dollar amounts under $4 for most items to just say quick to whoever picks up an item.  In fact, I usually  say $1 or $2 for most items.

 “How much for this terrible dolphin, metal picture frame?”
“$1!”
“How much for this dusty cook book you never read?”
“ONE DOLLAR!  Need a bag?”
Practice with your husband the night before,
“How much for….
“ONE DOLLAR!!!”
Obviously, you’ll have a handful of higher price items, like your elliptical or patio furniture, but for 85% keep it under $4.

Don’t hold out and think some other people will come along offering more for that item later, they won’t!  If someone touches an item, try to get them to take it home.

CLOTHES:  Sometimes, except for a few cute items, adult clothes are the hardest to get rid of, and the first thing people will donate if it’s a charity garage sale.  I remember the first sale I had, I was charging $4 for a pair of jeans, and $2 for a shirt, “A DEAL!” I thought, which I suppose it is, but not at a garage sale…  I could have made so much more money without having a mountain of clothes to deal with after, and the poor customers who came in need of clothes could have used them!  Sheesh!  (I was stuck in the “it’s for a good cause” rut, and it held me back)

Now, they are $1 each, or if they fill a bag, I make them a deal.  Everyone is happy.

Now get out there and sell!  If it’s a charity garage sale, you know who will care?  Your friends who have junk!  Ask your friends to donate their old crap!  It’s an easy way for them to be involved in helping you and your cause, and it helps them clean out their closets and garages which is always the best!  Ask around, tell people they can drop them off, or that you will make a round and do some pick ups the week before!  People usually jump on this offer, and for good reason, it’s a win win for all!  Andrew and I ALWAYS find stuff for people’s adoption garage sales, even when we think we won’t have anything, we have a lot.

Looking for something to do this last month of summer?  Have a sale, little to no prep.  No neon circle stickers.  Clean out your stuff, donate the money to something you really believe in.  It builds community, you get to meet neighbors, and the people who buy are blessed with items they might not otherwise have!  We LOVE garage sales, they feel like such a grand accomplishment when they are done, with no cost, no wait–we made money!  Life is better uncluttered.  Your old crap is better out of your garage, with money going to people in need and your stuff going to people who need it!

Love,
Amy

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Laura Cross August 3, 2013, 6:11 pm

    Great post. I HATE doing garage sales, but you have inspired me. Maybe we will give it a shot.
    Thanks!!

  • Kate August 5, 2013, 8:34 pm

    SO TRUE! We did the same thing at our first adoption fund garage sale with the stickers on clothes – I think I did $4 for jeans too – after that first sale ALL clothing was $1 – after 11 am all clothing was 50 cents – we made SO much more money that way and it saved so much time!

    good point also to remind people ahead of time that even though the charity is important to the seller it generally isn’t to the buyer and that is OK – great post =)

    • The Tiny Team August 5, 2013, 9:38 pm

      Oh man, I know right?? We just wanted it to go so well, alas! Live and learn 🙂

  • Momma Mig August 5, 2013, 8:49 pm

    woot woot! LOVE THIS! i need to print it out and tape it to my forehead!

  • kate August 7, 2013, 12:20 am

    Thanks for posting this! I just asked for yard sale advice on my blog last week, because we’re preparing to move back to Russia. I dread yard sales. But, this will help!

  • Angie August 7, 2013, 6:12 am

    SO LIBERATING!!! I was just complaining to my husband that I didn’t want to do a garage sale as an adoption fundraiser because of how hard they are!

    Now I think we will do one – and next week at that! Talk about no prep! AND, I will print this out, tape it to my forehead, and take a picture just because I am so thankful for your brain! 😉 Thanks for helping us find another way to help bring our babes home! <3

    http://www.raisedfromthewater.com

    • kate August 7, 2013, 4:34 pm

      just wondering…have you ever done an inside sale? we have to have our sale this saturday, because the next weekend we are leaving for russia. but…rain is predicted. should i set it all up in a room downstairs and hope people will come in? put lots of balloons outside? call it an inside yard sale?

    • The Tiny Team August 7, 2013, 8:20 pm

      Hmmm, good question, I don’t see why not! You might not get the drive by traffic, so I would make do some heavier signage ads or community posting, but can’t hurt!

    • The Tiny Team August 7, 2013, 8:21 pm

      Also, Angie, yay! Be liberated and blessings to you on your adoption, you’re treading some holy ground my frined <3

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