Organizing a Successful Garage Sale

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About 165,000 garage sales are held in the United States every week.

The Penny-Pinching Prepper (Ulysses Press, 2015) by Bernie Carr helps readers prepare for an emergency without breaking their bank. Carr walks his readers through DIY projects, storm shelter building, and more all on a budget to make sure that anyone can afford to be prepared for an emergency. In the following excerpt, he gives his favorite steps for running a successful garage sale.

1. Make sure your homeowner’s association or apartment lease allows garage sales. Some towns require permits, so check on requirements before you schedule one. You should also check on regulations regarding the posting of garage sale signs. You wouldn’t want to end up with a ticket for posting in a restricted area.

2. Partner up with another family or two, especially if they are experienced with garage sales. With a wider variety of inventory, you’ll attract more buyers. Agree on how to split the profits in advance.

3. Advertise. Craigslist and neighborhood garage sale sites on Facebook are free.

4. Thoroughly examine all the items you are planning to sell: Check pockets, boxes, pots and pans, pull-out drawers, etc., to make sure you did not leave anything inside that you did not intend to sell.

5. Organize your items well. Place larger-ticket items in front. Put price stickers on each item, but don’t set the prices too high. You want to sell these items off, not hold on to them.

6. Be prepared to haggle.

7. Keep your dog on a leash or inside the house.

8. Set up early in the morning. You may schedule the garage sale to start at 9 a.m., but the early birds may start showing up at 7 a.m. You might as well be ready.

9. Once you are all set up and ready, place eye-catching signs in well-traveled intersections, with good directions. Use neon poster boards or balloons to attract attention.

10. Have plenty of change. You should have various denominations, especially $1 bills and rolls of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Keep your money in a safe place, such as a fanny pack.

11. Make sure someone is staffing the garage sale at all times. Watch out for shoplifters.

12. Post “All Sales Are Final.” You don’t want any returns a few days later.

13. Have a box labeled “Freebies.” It attracts more customers.

14. Don’t forget packaging. Have a lot of plastic grocery bags available for buyers, as well as old newspaper to wrap up breakable items.

15. Donate unsold items as soon as the sale is over.

More from The Penny-Pinching Prepper:

Conserving Water in an Emergency
Protecting Your Home from Thieves


Reprinted with permission fromThe Penny-Pinching Prepper (2015), by Bernie Carr and published by Ulysses Press.