Sunday, July 31, 2011

Garage Sale

My neighbors and I are having a garage sale this weekend.  I set out the items I'm selling in my Etsy shop plus the usual garage sale fare.  We're doing the sale again today and I learned a few things about garage sales that I thought I'd share with you all.

1)  People will come early.  Try to be ready before you plan to open because otherwise it will be very hectic.  The morning was much busier than the afternoon.

2)  Kids don't think running a garage sale is as fun as shopping at them.  However, kids running a lemonade stand at the garage sale works pretty well.

3)  Watch where people are walking - watch what they are buying.  I rearranged the items many times over the course of one day.  We made a lot more sales after rearranging according to traffic patterns, putting like items together, and bringing stuff outside.  For example:

These purses are a mixture of my vintage bags and some more contemporary bags from my neighbor.  I put my handmade jewelry next to the purses since they are basically a theme.

This table started out on the other side of the garage and hardly anyone even looked at it.  The purses were packed onto one side of the table with a box full of purses on the floor.  The jewelry was in the corner.

People walked up the driveway and around the corner into the garage.  The table with the purses and jewelry was out of their line of vision as they came in so they just skipped it.  We moved the purses to the opposite side of the garage, hung them from the garage door tracks, took them out of the box and set them out so you could see them better and "just like magic" the purses started selling.

Another thing that happened was I had some yarn in a bin.  No one bought the yarn.  I took the yarn out of the bin and the very next shopper bought all of it.

4)  If you are going to desks or tables at your garage sale, use them to display other items.  However, if you do use the furniture to display items, you should put a sign on it that clearly states the desk/table is for sale. 

5)  Kids' stuff: put the toys and books down where kids can look through it.  Don't overcrowd baskets, though.  If a bin is too crowded many people won't want to bother going through it.

6)  Bigger ticket (or just plain big) items may draw a lot of looks but they are harder to sell.  This china set is an example.  It's so pretty and it's vintage 1950s.  We only have it  priced at $30 (it's missing the tea cups) but that is expensive enough (and it's a huge amount of plates) for most people to admire it but not want to buy it.  Don't let it discourage you!  The right shopper may come along.

7)  Signs: make them simple and make them similar.  When I'm out driving and I see a sign that says "Sale" and has an arrow...I follow it.  Then, I see another of the same sign with an arrow...I follow it.  Don't fill your sign up with a bunch of extra information.  Drivers can't read all that writing anyway.  And, don't leave your shoppers stranded wondering where to turn next.  I had a guy tell me, "Don't need anything.  Don't want anything.  But, I saw your signs...."

8)  Talk to the people who come shopping but make sure you leave them to look around at your tables.  I love being welcomed to a garage sale with a friendly hello and a bit of small talk.

9)  If someone lingers over an item but doesn't pick it up right away, talk to them about it!  You might be able to negotiate a price or answer a question that was keeping them from scooping it up.

We're running our sale again today and I'm going to put my own tips to good use.  Happy garage-saling everyone!


  1. This was really useful!! Thanks! Hope day 2 of your sale went well! And I totally would've bought a lemonade off your kids for like 5 bucks.

  2. The sale went great. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. The kids were only charging 25 cent! Next time I'll tell them to up their price.


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