Fun fact about me, I love to set up and organize garage sales!
If this is your first time here, welcome! My name is Lindsay and I‘m a proud Anthem resident and your local REALTOR® with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. On our YouTube Channel and blog, we have a lot of fun talking about all things Anthem and real estate, and we would love to have you along for the ride.
Our Garage Sale
Garage sales can be a great way to declutter your home, get rid of things you no longer want or need, and even to pocket some extra cash. We hosted a three-family garage sale with my in-laws a couple of summers ago, and it was so much fun.
We ran our garage sale from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon that weekend, and my husband and I walked away with almost $1,000. We also had a ton of fun spending the weekend outside with our families.
Whether you’re getting ready to move and can’t take everything with you, or you just need to declutter, these 10 tips are going to set your garage sale up for success.
Tip #1: Know the Rules
First things first, you need to make sure you’re allowed to have a garage sale or yard sale at your house. This means reading bylaws, CC&R’s, and other governing documents for your neighborhood. For example, in Anthem, where we live, some neighborhoods allow garage sales and others don’t. It’s possible that you’ll be required to get a permit to host your garage sale, as well. Make sure that you know and understand the rules in advance so that you can plan accordingly.
If you’re not allowed to host a garage sale at your house, consider asking a friend or family member if you could host your sale in their yard. You could even offer to sell some items for them, if they’d like.
Tip #2: Schedule Wisely
Consider Events & Holidays
You want to schedule your garage sale at a time that people in your community will be around. This tip will require a little research on your part. Jump online and see what’s already scheduled for the weekend you’re considering. Will the other events scheduled help bring traffic to your area or take people away? For example, you may want to avoid major holidays if most people leave the area.
You also want to take the weather into consideration. For example, in Arizona, July and August can be really hot, and people may prefer to stay inside where it’s air-conditioned. I know I do. You want to find a weekend where it’s warm enough for people to be outside comfortably, and you also want to avoid the rain. The rain can wreck your stuff and will drive people inside.
Tip #3: Consider Combining Families
As I mentioned at the start of this video we hosted a garage sale where we combined three different families and it was so much fun. Combining families meant that we had a wider selection of items to offer, and it also meant that we had more people to work at the sale.
Combining families can add a little bit of complication around set-up and payment though, so just make sure you talk through those elements in advance.
Will everyone bring and set up their own tables?
Will you use color-coded stickers to know what items belonged to which family?
Will each family take their own payments? If not, how will you keep track of who made what amount of money?
Tip #4: Spread the Word
Now that you’ve determined the rules and picked the perfect weekend to host the sale, you need to spread the word. I strongly encourage you to share an invite to your garage sale online. You can make a really cute ‘digital garage sale sign’ using a program like Canva. Share it on your social media, including in local buy and sell groups, if permitted. Additionally, you may want to post on sites like Craigslist. I encourage you to share details of some of the most intriguing items you have. For example, if you have a piece of exercise equipment, or luggage, or furniture, include the details in your post. Don’t forget to include the dates, times, and location.
Additionally, I encourage you to make a flyer that you can take to your neighbors. I always like to invite my neighbors and apologize in advance for the added traffic.
You want to advertise your garage sale a few days in advance. That’s enough time for people to plan, but not enough time for them to forget, hopefully.
Tip #5: Get Organized
There is a lot of work that goes into planning a successful garage sale. If you haven’t already done so, do the following:
- Go through your entire house and compile everything you are hoping to sell.
- Move all of the items for sale into one area of the house.
- Price everything in advance using colorful stickers. Prices should be clearly visible. You should also have an idea of how firm you are on each price. People like to negotiate and you need to know your bottom line.
- Ensure you have the right supplies. This includes tables, chairs, a cash box or apron, pens, markers, shopping bags, and so on.
- Come up with a plan of how you are going to display things
- Assign clear jobs to each person working at the sale.
Tip #6: Make Good Signage
This might be my favorite part of having a garage sale, making the signage. Firstly, it’s really important that you know and follow any rules around signage. If you’re not allowed signage you are going to have to really push on the online advertising of your sale. If you are allowed signage, you are going to want to use directional signage to help people get to your home. Start at the main roads and work your way back to the house. Keep the signs simple, remember people are driving, they can’t read the small essay you wrote on a little sign. I recommend just writing ‘Garage Sale’ in big bold letters and then having an arrow pointing in the right direction.
You also want to have great signage at your house. For our last garage sale, I made a huge banner that went across the top of the house. I wish I had taken a photo that I could share with you.
Make sure that you have a good plan for affixing the signs so that they don’t blow away. Now for a little rant, bear with me. Please, please, please, pick up your signs at the end of each day. Leaving these signs up clutters and degrades the neighborhood, and it’s litter. Take pride in where you live and clean up after yourself.
Tip #7: Have a Cash Float
Unless this is a really fancy garage sale that accepts debit and credit card payments, you’re going to have to use good old fashioned cash. Make sure that you go to the bank and get lots of change and small bills. Chances are your first customer will show up with a $20 bill to buy a 75 cent item. Just sayin’.
Know how much of a float you started with so that you know how much money you made at the end of each day.
Be sure to take large bills inside regularly.
Tip #8: Take Time to Set Up
If your garage sale is set to start at noon, don’t think that you can just open the garage door at 11:45AM and you’ll be ready. Do as much prep work as you can the night before, and then put in a couple of hours before the sale starts.
You want to create aesthetically pleasing displays of like items. Like your favorite boutique stores. You also want to make sure that all prices are visible. I also recommend creating a ‘U-Shape’ with the tables, so that there is a clear flow, rather than just having tables scattered throughout the yard.
You also want to set up items that aren’t clear or require explanation. For example, at our last garage sale we had a tent in a bag. It didn’t sell on day one, but on the morning of day two, we set the tent up in the yard and it sold almost immediately!
You also want to make sure that you have shopping bags and possibly packing materials handy for anyone who buys several items.
Tip #9: Be Safe & Have Fun
Inviting strangers up to your house to go through your things, probably isn’t up there with the safest things to do. That being said, there are so many small things you can do to keep yourself safe:
- Put the more expensive items at the back.
- Always have more than one person working.
- Remove big bills from the cash box or apron regularly.
- Lock the house but keep a key on you.
- Don’t leave the cash unattended.
- Keep your cell phone on you at all times.
- If someone is making you uneasy or scared, consider going inside. Remember you’re not replaceable, but your stuff is.
- Remove any valuables from your garage that are not for sale.
In addition to staying safe, have fun. At our garage sale we had lemonade, snacks, and music! We didn’t take it too seriously, no one was there to get rich, and we just had a lot of fun spending time together and meeting new people.
Tip #10: Plan for Unsold Items
Spoiler Alert: Not everything is going to sell. I know, it sucks! You put all this work in to your sale, and on Sunday afternoon the tables aren’t empty. Come up with a plan for the items you don’t sell, so that they don’t just sit and collect dust for years. I recommend boxing everything up and dropping it off at a donation center the next day. Get it out of your house and move on! Alternatively, if you have some bigger ticket items left, you could sell those online in local buy and sell groups.
So, there you have it! What do you think? When will you be hosting your next garage sale and what tips from this video will you be incorporating?
If you found this video helpful, let me know by hitting that like button, subscribing to our channel, and sharing this video with your friends.
Also, if you’re planning to have a garage sale because you need to get rid of stuff before you sell your home, then you’re going to want to click and watch this video for our checklist for getting your house ready to sell. Alternatively, if you’d like to hire a house cleaner now that you’ve done all this work decluttering your home, click this video for our tips to hire the best person.
Enjoy those and I’ll see YOU next Thursday!