Every year, after Memorial Weekend, I get the classified section from the paper and map out my first garage sale route.
I love spending my Saturday mornings out searching for deals, trying to find some hidden treasures in someone else's junk.
But sometimes all those "treasures" pile up, and it's time to have a garage sale of my own. If you're going to have one, you want to do it properly and make the most amount of money you can.
It's a lot of effort to put one on, so you may as well make it worth it.
These are some of the things I not only look for at other garage sales, but also use when having my own.
1. Have Change
Frankly, this goes for both the buyer and the seller, but more specifically the seller. If you can't break a $20 bill on your first sale, then you're not prepared.
Go to the bank and get small bills and coin, so that when someone wants to buy something, you're immediately prepared!
2. Good Signage
Few things are more frustrating than seeing one sign that says "GARAGE SALE" and not seeing any more for the same location.
Put out enough signs on busy street corners, and on the way to your street, so that passersby know exactly where they're headed.
No one wants to spend their Saturday morning driving around in circles to find one sale when there are 15 others they could hit.
Another important part of your signs is DETAILS. Give a date, time, and location. Make sure the font can be read from someone on the road just driving by! Thick permanent marker is your friend.
Who says a garage sale has to be just that? If your sale is going through until lunch time, fire up the BBQ and let the smell hit the neighborhood.
Selling lunch for an extra dollar or two gets you some extra cash and also draws a crowd!
The BBQ can also be for charity, if you want, as that tends to get people more motivated to chip in.
Nothing screams summer like burgers and hot dogs on the grill, so why not appeal to people's taste buds?
4. Start Early
As an avid garage-sale attendee, start times truly dictate if I'm attending a sale. Sales that start earlier are great to hit first, because you're in a good mood and have all your money still.
By starting your sale early, you're luring in the people who are on a mission, as opposed to those trying to kill time on a Saturday.
In the same vein as the BBQ, having some coffee or tea available for those early risers is a fun gesture, even if it's for free. Sales go hand in hand with a good experience.
If you're selling electronics or anything that requires batteries, etc., then have a spot where potential customers can test them out.
DVD players, kitchen appliances, TVs, all tend to be purchased under the assumption that they work.
Of course, you don't want people traipsing in and out of your house while you also try to help other people, so having a little station with an extension cord set up is the best way to go.
That way, people can decided whether or not the item works to their satisfaction.
Imagine all your potential customers are toddlers. I mean, they're not, but when they're checking to see if they want to stop for your sale, they may as well be.
Put anything intriguing or colorful at the front of the driveway, so that when people drive by, they want to stop and see what else you have.
Of course, most people want to keep their "valuable" items closer to the house, but no one can see them from the road!
7. Clear Prices
Showing up to a garage sale only to have to ask the host what the price of everything is can be aggravating.
It becomes a hassle, and if the host is busy with someone else, people aren't sticking around to ask questions.
Having clearly marked prices makes it easier to shop and allows browsers to get an idea of how you've broken everything down.
Also, just as a habit, think of how much you would pay for something and make it a little higher than that.
People are going to haggle and barter with you. It's just the way it works. If you don't want to lower the price on something, make that clear on the tag. People will still try, but it will hopefully deter others.
But, keep in mind, haggling is all part of the process. That's why marking items up a tiny bit makes it easier to lower them when people ask. Have a price in mind for each item that is the lowest you will accept, and work from there.
Plus, most people who haggle are doing it just to see if they can get you to budge. Say no the first couple times and see if they still want it. More often than not, they'll pay what you ask.
9. Have Help
There's no way you can successfully run a garage sale by yourself. It's a lot of effort, and it's time consuming. If only one person is there to take cash, it slows everything down.
If you have kids, offer to give them part of the profits if they help out for the duration. Or just see if they'll help for free!
Having a friend come over is also a great way to get some extra hands. Having someone else to deal with the craziness is always appreciated.
Young kids are wonderful sales people, even if they don't know it. I know I can't pass up the opportunity to pay for a cup of lemonade and a cookie if it's being peddled by a seven year old.
Getting your kids involved is a good way to attract business, and teach them about the value of a dollar. Plus, the look on their faces when someone buys something from them is absolutely priceless.
Nothing attracts people to a garage sale more than multiple garage sales. Getting your neighbors together to have a massive street sale benefits all of you, and it's a great way to bring the community together.
People who attend garage sales love being able to park the car in one spot and walk up and down the street snagging some great deals. They're more likely to stop at your sale if it benefits them.
Of course you can't park the car in your driveway, but parking it on the street can actually turn people away. I know it sounds lazy, but some people won't stop at your sale if they can't get a close parking spot.
Try leaving your car down the street or ask a neighbor if you can park it in there for a morning. It'll leave more room for customers to stop by!