How to Have a Great Garage Sale

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Garage Sale Sign

Garage Sale Sign (Photo credit: Eastlaketimes)

September is right around the corner and you know what that means – it’s time to have a garage sale! A garage sale is a great way to earn a little pocket money while clearing away all of that clutter you’ve accumulated over the summer. Living in an apartment, it’s a little bit trickier to have a garage sale than if you lived in a house with an actual garage – but it can still be done!

First – start setting items aside. You’ll want to do this at least two weeks before your garage sale. This is to make sure you aren’t getting rid of something you might actually miss – a very good idea if you tend to get a little carried away during the purge process. If you can go two weeks or so without missing the item, then you should go ahead and sell it. During the sale, don’t go back to your apartment and look for “just a couple more items” to sell –get rid of what you already set aside and nothing more.

Next – decide on a venue for your sale. If your apartment complex has an annual community-wide yard sale, perfect! (If not, go ahead and suggest adding one — It’s a great way to build a sense of community!) If your complex doesn’t have and isn’t interested in starting an annual yard sale, then ask your apartment manager if you would be allowed to set up in front of your apartment or somewhere else on the property.

If you absolutely are not allowed to have a yard sale in your apartment community, that’s okay – you’ll just have to find a new venue. Check local churches and high schools – they’ll often hold community garage sales, usually for charity. You’ll pay a small amount for your “table” and whatever you make selling your items is yours. Or, team up with a friend or family member who lives in a house and have a “multi-family” garage sale. (If you do this, be sure to label your items and include your initials on the ticket.)

Now, advertise! If you are joining a church or school sale, no worries – they will do the advertising for you. An apartment-wide sale will also most likely be advertised by the apartment community. If you are having a sale at a friend’s house, then make sure you advertise – in the classifieds, on garage sale finder sites, and with signs.

Garage sale signs can be a great help if they are done right. There’s nothing worse than trying to read small writing, a sign with no directions, or a curled-up sign that hides half the text. Help people find you by choosing a sturdy board and writing legibly with a black marker – be sure to write about twice as large as you think you need to, and include a street and house number. You may also want to include the date and the hours of the sale on your sign – but nothing else. Don’t try to list all of the items you have for sale on your sign – nobody can read it from the road, anyway.

Place your most interesting items front and center. Look for unusual items or items that are brightly colored – these will catch the eye of those passing by and they are more likely to stop and take a look. Also, place big-ticket items – furniture, bicycles, exercise equipment — in a prominent location where they can be seen from the street.

Price your items before the sale. You don’t want to be caught off-guard by people asking, “How much do you want for this?” Remember – you are selling your stuff at a yard sale. You won’t get top dollar, so don’t mark your items too high. If people see prices set too high, they won’t even bother trying to negotiate. If you aren’t sure what to ask, go around to some garage sales the weekend before yours and see how other people are pricing similar items. Be willing to come down on your price – if you don’t, you could end up with a carload of stuff you’ll have to donate to charity.

Don’t shop. Resist the siren call of the neighborhood or group garage sale. Sure, you want to walk around and see what everyone else has, but you may end up taking home more than you sold. It’s nice to be neighborly, so walk around and chat – but leave the cash in a secured location so you’re not tempted to spend it on that great oversized fish tank two tables over.

And finally – have fun! A garage sale isn’t just a way to get rid of unwanted clutter – it’s a great way to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day and meet new people. The uncluttered apartment and extra money in your pocket is just a nice bonus.