Well, I finally did it.  I had the garage sale I’ve been planning since we moved into our new home this winter.  And, to be honest, it was pretty torturous.  Greg had to work this Saturday so it was just me and the kids.  I have always loved my Saturdays alone with them, but I did a terrible job at managing the kids and the garage sale at the same time.

It was partly because the kids got so bored early in the day, but it was also because I had so many people coming in and out.  To be honest, it was really hard to get the kids their drinks and snacks, or even put them down for a nap.  In fact, they had cheese and crackers and blueberries for lunch because I only had about a minute to throw something together! Anyway, I would consider my garage sale a success for two reasons:

  • I made about $225, which is pretty amazing since I didn’t have any big-ticket items.  Most of my items were priced for a dollar or less.
  • I got rid of a bunch of crap- home décor, baby clothes, random miscellaneous items that have been dumped on me over the years.

garage sale

As a certified cheap-ass, I must admit that garage sale shopping is my passion.  I literally get high off of the feeling I get when stumbling onto a good sale.  The majority of my family’s clothing has been purchased at garage sales, and that in itself has probably saved us thousands of dollars over the years.  And the cool thing is, no one would ever know.  I take the time to dig through the disheveled stacks of clothing to find the good stuff, and I buy in bulk.  The four of us rarely get any “new clothing.”  In fact, I’ve even been known to give my kids used clothes and toys for ChristmasIs that wrong?

How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Who needs baby shoes?

Who needs baby shoes?

As a garage sale enthusiast and connoisseur, I do feel like somewhat of an expert on the subject.  Having a successful garage sale takes a lot of time, hard work, and planning, but the right moves can maximize your earnings while making the process as seamless as possible.  Want to have an epic garage sale worth talking about?  Follow these simple tips:

  • Remember that you are not a retail store- I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people price their items as if they were TJ Maxx.  In fact, I recently visited a garage sale where used jeans were priced at $20!!!   That’s totally nuts, especially since people can’t even try them on.  Not surprisingly, they had tables upon tables of overpriced clothing lingering at their sale, and no one seemed all that interested.  I’m sure that they were some fancy brand that I’m not cool enough to know about, but still.  Asking someone to buy used jeans out of your garage for $20 is highly unrealistic.  The bottom line: If you want your items to sell, you have to price them low enough to make people feel like they’re getting a deal.  That’s why they’re there in the first place, am I right?
  • Clean your junk- Dirty garage sales are my pet peeve of the universe.  I mean, how long does it take to clean your stuff of before you try to sell it?  Seriously.  Take a few minutes to dust the furniture you’re selling.  Fold your used clothing or hang your items in a place that people can actually see them.  Don’t sell a used potty seat with a squirt of pee still lingering at the bottom.  Yes, that happened.  People are much more likely to buy your stuff if it isn’t disgusting.
  • Utilize free advertising- Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of free ways to let people know about your sale.  For example, it’s easy to create a free garage sale ad on craigslist.  It’s also easy to share the details of your sale with your friends and neighbors on Facebook.  Putting up signs doesn’t hurt either, especially because it might bring in a few people who just happen to be driving by.
  • Get plenty of change- I can’t tell you how many garage sales I’ve visited where the people running it could no longer make change.  Trust me, it happens a lot.  I went to the bank and got $100 worth of change for my garage sale and still ran out towards the end of the day.  Fun fact: Someone actually asked me if I could break a $100 bill early in the morning at my sale.  Ummmmm……no.  The bottom line: People can be rude.  They’ll try to purchase a .25 widget with a  $20 bill.  Having plenty of change lets you sell to those people without getting too angry.  Consider yourself warned.

Having a garage sale can be a huge pain, but it can totally be worth it if you need some quick cash.  If you have a Saturday to burn, it’s also a great way to de-clutter and free up extra space in your home.  The key is to price your items low enough to get sales, but high enough to make it worth your time.  Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and effort, which is not fun or frugal at all.

What is your strategy for garage sale pricing?  And hot garage sale tips?