I’ll start by saying that these are just the 10 most important things to consider when having a yard sale. There’s a lot more to it that could go into a sale that I’m not going to cover here. Discovering what works in your area and for you is half the fun of having a garage sale. Some things I’m not going to cover are placement of items, table formations, times and dates to have a sale, colors of signs, sale etiquette, schilling, etc. Those are less important and some are even tied to which part of the country you are in. In the north we mostly call them “rummage”, “yard”, or “garage” sales. Down south I’ve heard them referred to as “junk” sales or “porch sales”. With that said take a look at the list and message me or comment if you think I should expand the list of if you have anything important to add.
1. White masking tape – For properly labeling your wares. Makes it easier to peel off and stick into your log book (see #2). Mark the items a lil higher if you’re down South or just into haggling. If you want a quarter for it – mark it at .50 cents you dig? When someone purchases an item, peel off the tag and stick them onto the table to add them up and then into your logbook after the sale is completed. Another good tip is to tear off the tape into useable sizes and use the backside of an old cookie sheet. This way you can write on your tags before peeling them off and sticking them onto the item.
2. Notebook or sheets of paper – This is to make a central log book to add up and/or divide your sold items afterwords. This works especially well if you’re having a multiple person or family sale. My last sale I used a “Field Notes” brand booklet to keep my tape tags in. It worked marvelously.
3. Pens and a fat permanent marker – For pricing your masking tape bits and the marker is for making sale signs so people can find your sale. Sharpie is a good brand, or you can do what I do and stock up on fatty markers at the dollar store. It’s best to use a straightforward large thick black lettering for your signs as people will only have a couple seconds to see and read it if they’re driving.
4. Plenty of small change – Quarters and dollar bills especially. Some people pay with $20’s and even $50’s be prepared for it. Another tip is to try and not mark your items below a quarter and to mark them in 1/4 increments so you wont need pennies, nickels, or dimes. If you’re selling anything for under a quarter – it’s probably not worth selling in the first place. Some folks use a cash box, however I’ve never felt comfortable doing this as someone could just grab it and run with your cash. I prefer to keep all my change organized in my pockets or a small geeky fanny pack.
5. Bags – The plastic grocery store ones work best. I have about 300 saved up in a larger bag in my closet. These come in handy and encourages folks to come back or buy more. Also, its just a nice gesture too. Any bag plastic or paper or old shopping bags with handles will work. The plastic ones also work good for packaging items from bumping if the customer is buying something fragile.
6. Newspaper – This has multiple uses. You can either use it to read when your sale is winding down or slow, or it’s more useful to wrap and pack any breakables you may be selling for customers.
7. Tag Board/Cardboard/ FoamCore Board -This is for your signage. I personally think foamcore is the best choice but can run a lil pricey. FoamCore and tagboard is available at most Wal-Marts and Targets or any art supply store. It’s mostly waterproof and is extra sturdy if its a windy day. Also, don’t forget to buy or find wooden steaks or objects to attach to the signs. Most cities don’t like when folks hammer or staple signs to public telephone poles and try not to impede any sightways of traffic turns if your signs are on intersection corners. Another quick way to make effective signs is to adhere them to a box and place a heavy rock or item into the box (as picture below). NOTE: It’s VERY IMPORTANT to remember to TAKE DOWN YOUR SIGNS after your sale is completed, don’t be lazy. There is nothing more annoying than snaking through a neighborhood or backroads only to find that the sale was days ago or last month. Show some respect for the fellow junkers!
8. Tables & chairs – You can use basically anything to place your wares on. Depending on the size of your sale you should probably make it look the best with folding “card” tables or picnic tables. Ask around, people have these and are usually willing to loan a couple of them out to you. Also, you’ll probably be sitting a lot during the slow times of your sale so it’s best to have a chair or two available.
9. Use Social Media and the Web – Tell all of your friends about your sale with some simple online tools you’re probably already using, such as Twitter, Facebook. All of these tools offer bulletin posting capabilities that can alert a good number of people in a very short time. The most effective method (for me at least) is to also list your sale a day or two before on Craigslist. Keep in mind that when you say you’re opening at 8am – you should open at 8am. Some junkers do it for a living or for side cash and take it very seriously. So be prepared.
10. Invite a buddy and have fun! – Not only will a buddy help with patron conversation and theft deterrents but they will help pass the time and allow you to go take a bathroom break without having to close up shop for a few mins. Having a garage sale can be a lot of work, but can garner you a lot of quick cash, more space in your dwelling and allows you to interact and meet a lot of people that live near you. So, when is your next sale?
** Bonus Tip – This one comes in from my mother (whom is the flagship source of garage sale knowledge). Its best to have a a radio playing softly in the background of your sale, supposedly it makes the whole perusing atmosphere a lot more open and welcoming. Makes sense, thanks mom!