1. Allow plenty of time – three to four weeks – to prepare for the sale.
2. Choose a date that will not conflict with holidays or other special events that might lure prospective customers away.
3. Weekends are more convenient for more people than weekdays.
4. Your sale is likely to attract more customers if you join together with neighbors in a larger effort with more merchandise. Some home owners groups are sponsoring neighborhood sales that are proving popular.
5. Practical household goods, bicycles, children’s toys and clothes, sports equipment, and garden tools are popular items; adult clothing has less appeal and should be priced accordingly. Ideally, a place for trying clothes on should be provided.
6. Merchandise your items attractively in neat, clean surroundings. Paper tablecloths offer a pretty setting for glass and ornamental items. Cluster things in categories; place most desirable items in the back of the garage so browsers are urged to look at other merchandise on their way to the most popular items.
7. Have a 25 cent miscellaneous table for youthful shoppers.
8. All items should be clean, polished, and in good repair. Clothes should be sized accurately and hung on a temporary rack using two ladders and a pole.
9. Locate your appliance table near an outlet so customers may try before they buy.
10. Be sure there is adequate parking space and a place to load large items.
11. Have plenty of paper bags and boxes for packing and newspapers for wrapping glass items.
12. Place a classified ad in the local papers, including three or four specific items for sale, directions, and other pertinent details.
13. Take advantage of free publicity provided by bulletin boards in grocery stores and other public places.
14. Provide directional signs to your property if needed using an indelible felt tip pen.
15. If your house is listed for sale, have your Realtor hold an open house on the same day as the garage sale, thus increasing interest in both the house and the sale.
16. Visit other sales to form an idea on how to price things, but remember that garage sale shoppers are looking for “bargains”. Be prepared to bargain and lower your prices.
17. Really valuable items such as antiques should not be sold at a garage sale, because it is unlikely they will bring the desired price from bargain-minded shoppers. On the other hand, nothing is too worthless to be valuable to someone. Have a giveaway box for old magazines and other assorted odds and ends.
18. Post a notice that all sales are final and payment must be in cash.
19. Have plenty of change in a cash box kept in a protected spot. Keep a record of sales, especially when there are several sellers. One recording device that is simple and efficient is to use small white stickers to price items and when the item is purchased, remove the sticker and place it next to the name of the seller.
After holding one or two garage sales, you can probably add some newly discovered tips of your own. A bit of organization will make for a successful sale and an uncluttered house.