Garrett is as Garrett does

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'Garrett is as Garrett does'

Some Tips for Running A Garage Sale

April 24th, 2008
by garrett

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People can’t buy from you if they don’t know you’re selling. Some very cost effective methods:

  • Weekly adpapers (Pennysaver here in Volusia) are great ways to reach the ‘pro’ buyers.
  • Daily newspaper classifieds are good, though they can get pricey and have strict deadlines.
  • Craigslist is free.
  • Some real estate offices will let you borrow big Garage Sale signs for a small, refundable deposit.

Signs let the buyers find you. Pre-printed signs tells people that you are serious about selling and help you stand out from all the other signs made with a dying marker and a wet piece of paper. The real estate signs (mentioned above) are 33% ‘Garage Sale’ and 66% ad for the real estate office, but they are professionally printed, heavy duty, and rain tolerant. The two I got were 24″ by 36″. You can get smaller generic signs, complete with wire stands, for $3 each at most home improvement stores. Just look for mailboxes or house numbers, the signs should be really close by. I have a small workshop and well as a computer and printer, so I was able to make my ‘pointer’ signs.

Sign placement is critical, try to get your best looking one on a main thoroughfare and use the smaller ‘pointer’ signs to direct buyers right to your sale. A couple of shiny metal helium balloons tacked to your mailbox won’t hurt either.

Be There

Running a garage sale is just like any other Sales job, the more comfortable people feel, the more likely they are to purchase:

  • Be presentable. For men, a clean shave or well groomed beard is good – patchy 5 day stubble, bad. Ladies, get out of the Mu-Mu’s and hair rollers. Clean clothes are a must as well, moving a lot of stuff can be sweaty, dirty work – change clothes as soon as you can.
  • Greet the buyers as they approach, something short and to the point: “Hi/Hello there! If you have any questions just let me know.”

Make sure the buyers know who to talk to. I make it a point to wear a ‘loud’ shirt and wear a big/strange hat. No matter where I am, people can find me at a glance.

Always have someone at the sale, never leave it unattended. Ever! Why? Two big reasons:

  • People like to see people, abandoned places give people the creeps. People with the creeps don’t buy.
  • To limit theft.

Initial Display Set Up

Garage sales are for browsing. Make it easy for your buyers to be able to see everything. Stuff hidden behind other stuff is stuff that won’t be found and stuff that isn’t found is stuff that can’t sell. Try setting up everything in a circle, with something in the middle to draw the buyers out of their cars. Also, try doing a little sorting – all jewelry on one table, all toys over there, all media here, furniture on that side of the yard, etc.

Just because you’ve set everything up, doesn’t mean you’re done moving the stuff around. Once you’ve set up your tables, etc. Move stuff around to close up gaps, improve display sighting, make it look like you haven’t been picked clean yet.


It’s all about the money:

  • Make sure you have plenty of $1, $5, and $10 bills to make change. Plenty of quarters are a must, too.
  • Keep it out of sight, no need to advertise for robbers.
  • Keep it in one place, once a sale has been made go get the change. A money box that roams is one that gets lost.

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