How to Have the Perfect Garage Sale [Infographic]

How to Have the Perfect Garage Sale [Infographic]

Moving sales, also known as yard or garage sales, are a popular way to get rid of those gently used items that are taking up space in your home, especially if you are about to move. And everyone loves a deal: The annual Texas Longest Yard Sale in the RGV is a prime example of just how successful this approach can be. Even though your garage sale won’t be as expansive as that 72-mile+ yard sale, you may still find yourself overwhelmed by the details involved in putting one of these together. If you find yourself in need of some help, check out these tips for the perfect garage sale, and watch your efforts result in some rewarding sales.

Garage Sale Infographic

Check state and legal yard sale requirements.

Usually, selling taxable items, such as clothing, toys, and housewares, means you have to obtain a sales and use tax permit that authorizes you to collect sales tax when you sell your items. The good news, though, is that Texas makes provisions for individuals like you who just want to clear out some unused items from your home before a move or as part of an annual purge. Here are the requirements you should meet:

  • Hold no more than 2 yard sales in 1 year.
  • Make no more than $3,000 off the sales.
  • Sell only those items you originally obtained for personal or household use.

If you are collecting and selling items as a group, or paying a fee to rent a booth as part of a larger event, you will still need a sales and use tax permit, but as long as you are just selling personal items from your yard or garage on your own, you should have no issues on the state level.

You may, however, still need to follow certain city or community rules, so make sure to check before you begin preparing for your garage sale.

Pick a date when people want to shop.

You can usually hold a garage sale any day of the week, but the best days are usually on Saturdays and Sundays. People are generally free from work obligations and have more time to spend perusing your sales.

Want to attract even more people? Try holding your yard sale on the first weekend of the month. People tend to get paid early in the month and therefore have more discretionary income to put toward garage sales. And of course, try to hold your sale when the weather is nice – Spring and fall are usually the most weather-friendly seasons to sell your items.

What times should you keep your sale open? Try before 9 a.m. until 3 or 4 p.m. to get the most people possible.

Organize your items logically.

One of the most useful tips for the perfect garage sale is to organize your items in a way that makes it easy for customers to find what they want when they stop by. Here are some ideas for arranging your items:

  • Put big ticket items such as outdoor furniture, like-new items, home decor, etc., near the front to attract passers-by.
  • Keep jewelry near the cash-out area to prevent thefts.
  • Organize items by type (e.g. Holiday items, household items, clothing)
  • Organize clothing by gender and size.
  • Keep items neatly folded and organized.
  • Place small items in boxes for better containment.
  • Set items up neatly for maximum appeal.

The more organized and appealing your tables look, and the easier to navigate your sale is, the more likely you are to attract individuals who will find what they want.

Use pricing sheets.

Pricing can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of putting together a garage sale. Save yourself time by NOT tagging each item individually. Use pricing sheets instead.

A pricing sheet is simply a sign that tells customers how much to pay for certain items. For example, a pricing sheet for clothing might ask customers to pay $1 for each pair of socks, $2 for each shirt, and $15 for each suit.

Similarly, you may write up a pricing sheet for books that displays different prices for hardcovers and paperbacks, or ask $.25 for each kid’s toy in a certain box. These sheets simplify pricing for your customers and save you quite a bit of time in the setup of your garage sale.

Advertise your garage sale.

You do not need a lot of time or money to advertise your garage sale, but you should advertise it as broadly as you can within your community. In addition to large, easily read signs posted in high-traffic areas (e.g. By intersections), you should consider the following free or low-cost advertising approaches:

  • Word of mouth
  • Posting signs in local businesses
  • Facebook
  • Craigslist
  • Posting flyers at work
  • Ads in the local paper

Start advertising at least a week ahead of time, and make sure to put big signs up the day of the garage sale to help people find your home easily.

Think through your needs on the big day.

While you can easily become consumed with making sure your shoppers have everything they need for a satisfying experience at your garage sale, you should also make sure you have everything you need. The first and most important is spare change for your customers. Chances are, customers will not come to your garage sale with exact change.

That is why one of our tips for the perfect garage sale is to bring your own change to the big day. About $40 worth of coins and cash should be enough to help you make change for your customers. Easily made change will translate into more sales to happy shoppers.

Other items you may want to have on hand include the following:

  • Chairs
  • Folding table for cash out area
  • Calculator
  • Paper clips
  • Pens
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Sold tags
  • Tape measure
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Create an appealing ambiance.

Garage sale ambiance

Some studies have indicated that music can generate positive feelings about a store, increase their intention to buy from that store, and encourage them to stay longer in the store. Use the power of music to your advantage and put on a few happy songs to play in the background.

Another way you can create a happy atmosphere (and make more sales) is to have coolers of drinks and snacks on hand to sell. You can even sell baked items to delight consumers’ taste buds and keep them shopping at your garage sale a little longer.

Get help for running your sale.

Even if you can manage to price and set up everything for your sale on your own, chances are you will benefit from some extra help the day of. Not only does having an extra person or two on hand provide some camaraderie and assistance with the heavy lifting of setting up and tearing down, but they can support you while the sale is in full swing. Ask someone to assist with any of the following:

  • Parking
  • Cashing out
  • Giving you a break
  • Talking to shoppers
  • Carrying items to vehicles
  • Negotiating prices
  • And more

Spend time with your customers.

You can sit by the cash-out area and wait for customers to bring you items they want to purchase, but you may sell more if you get out there and get to know the shoppers who stop by. For example, say you meet a customer who tells you they love crystal glassware. You may be able to make a sale by directing them to your collection. Or you may notice a customer purchasing a piece of jewelry and be able to upsell them on an outfit to go with the jewelry. These opportunities come as you talk with your customers, discover their interests, and meet their garage sale needs.

Decide what to do with items after the sale.

If you bring leftover items back into your house, chances are they will be staying there (and coming on your move with you). Avoid this problem by arranging for a pickup after the sale. Either arrange to have your town collect the items that are garbage, arrange to bring them items to a thrift store, or arrange a donation pickup so all you have to do is bring everything to the curb. Faster cleanup and an emptier house will make for a much less stressful end to your perfect garage sale.

Is an upcoming move the reason for your garage sale? Also add finding a great mover to your to-do list. Ward North American is ready to provide professional-strength moving services for a move of any size.