What to do the day before, during and after your garage sale

What to do the day before, during and after your garage sale


What to do on the morning of your your garage sale




What to do during the day

Stay motivated

Keep reminding yourself of why you're having the garage sale - to sell as much as you can to make as much money as you can. Keep a positive, enthusiastic & welcoming attitude.

Keep the customer in mind at all times

You won't sell anything without paying customers so remember to make them feel welcomed and comfortable so they spend time browsing and buying. More customer service tips.

Keep the front of your garage sale full, neat and attractive

You will find people will drive by slowly and check if it's worth stopping or to keep going to the next garage sale on their list. Keep the front of your display full, neat and attractive to encourage them to stop and browse.

Fuss over your 'shop'

Keep you sale looking busy

In my experience, the more people there are at a garage sale, the better it must be. To help make your sale look 'busy', organize family or friends to spend some time with you. They don't have to do any selling, just stand around your sale looking like they are shoppers. They may also be able to help with re-arranging items, getting a great lunch ready, keeping you company, etc.

If you are on your own and there are currently no customers, get up and walk around your tables, re-arranging items, refolding clothes, etc so that if anyone drives past they will think that there is someone browsing and be more inclined to stop than if it was deserted except for you sitting on your own in a chair in the corner.

Check your signs during the day

They may have blown over or been removed or replaced by someone else's garage sale signs. I have heard of people writing or sticking the address of their garage sale on other people's signs! Checking signs during the day is a good job for anyone who doesn't want to be involved with the actual garage sale.

Sell your hard-to-sell items

If you notice some items are being looked over and will be hard to sell, think about combining them with other desirable items for two-for-the-price-of-one deals. You are effectively giving away the unsellable item but you are using it to help get a higher price for your other desirable item. People will think they are getting a bargain and are less likely to bargain you down to a rock bottom price as they may have with the single desirable item alone.



What to do near the end and after your garage sale

An easy way to mark-down prices

50% Off

Near the end of your sale, rather than marking down all your remaining items individually, place a large "50% OFF" sign up at the front entrance.
(For those not mathematically inclined this means everything is now half price.) You could make it "25% OFF" but you will need a calculator to work that out.

Ring anyone who wanted to be called if an item was still available

If you have items left that people were interested in and who left their number to be contacted, ring them now to see if they are still interested. More tips for personal safety on what to be aware of when arranging times for people to come around.

Expect a last minute mini-rush

There are people who deliberately come at the last half hour of your sale or even after your advertised finish time to pick over what's left. They are looking for and expecting rock-bottom prices. They know that you're desperate to sell what's left and know that you've lost your bargaining power. You need to decide what items you are prepared to "give away" and what items you would much rather give to a charity.

Clear the tables the easy way

Offer a set price for everything they can fit in one plastic shopping bag. I am always amazed at what people will snap up when I offer this. Make sure the shopping bags are the strong type because they will try to squeeze in everything they can. Also make sure you have removed any high-priced items you don't want to "give away".

A variation on this is to have a table or two designated as the "all you can eat" tables. If you plan to offer this, make sure you include it in your ads and flyers.

How to prevent late-comers

If you don't want to be bothered by any late-comers after you have closed your garage sale, take down any front yard decorations and close the garage door. Some will still knock on your door asking to see what's left. You need to decide if it's worth the effort to let them pick through what you've carefully packed up. If you don't want to be bothered, politely tell them that it has all been sold.

Take down your signs and flyers

At the end of your sale, get out your map of sign placements and go around and collect ALL your signs and your flyers. And don't forget to update your online advertisements too.

Pack up

Remove the price tags and carefully pack the remaining items into labeled boxes (eg kitchenware, toys, children's clothes, electronics, etc). Decide what you want to keep for your next garage sale, what should be thrown out and what can be sent to a charity.



What to do with the leftovers?

Don't take anything back inside until you have made a firm decision on what is to happen with the leftovers. Some options are:

Divide up your profits

Photo by: Marcus Metropolis

To calculate how much you made, count your takings and deduct your costs (eg advertising, signs, etc) and you initial change. What's left is your profit. If you had a group sale then distribute the money for their items that were sold.

Review the whole process

Think back to 3 or more weeks ago when you started right through to today and make a list of what you will do, or not do, next time – there will always be a next time.

Reclaim your garage

Take the opportunity of a cleaned garage to see how you can organize it for better storage. Do you need extra shelves, cupboards, storage containers, wall hooks, etc.

Reclaim your budget

It's often a wake-up when you see the things you had bought and how little they are now worth. Hopefully the extra money you made has helped get some some bills out of the way. Now is a good time to also review your budget and what you spend your money on.