Before moving into a new home, almost everyone considers first having a garage sale.

Here are some great tips on make your garage sale a real success!

The Why?
If you want to hold a garage sale for the sole purpose of cleaning out your closets, you may want to bring everything to the nearest thrift store…. Indeed, a garage sale requires a lot of work.

On the other hand, if you want to spend a day haggling, chatting with passers-by and, importantly, making a little money, garage sales are a very enjoyable activity… as long as you are well prepared! It is by carefully designing your garage sale that it will be most successful.

The planning process

  1. Check city regulations – It is better to avoid last-minute sales like “Well, tomorrow, the weather will be fine, we take everything out on the sidewalk and see what happens!”
    It is also recommended to check if your municipal by-law allows you to hold a garage sale at any time. Some cities have planned days for these events.
  2. Collect and sort  – To ensure that everything runs smoothly (and stress-free), it is best to do it a little in advance. Some people even plan their sale several months before summer, putting aside items they no longer use. Without being “extreme”, it is perhaps a good idea to think a few weeks before the said day about what you want to sell and even store the different items by theme: clothes, books, toys, crockery and kitchen items, etc.
  3. Uniting to sell better – In addition, “big” garage sales are often the most attractive to customers. If you see that you don’t have many items, you can probably organize with neighbors or relatives to create a group sale.
  4. Check the weather forecast – Of course, make sure the weather is good by checking the weather!

Consider promoting your garage sale at least one week in advance. There are various ways to promote your event:

  • Place an ad in the neighborhood newspaper.
  • Talk about it around you to inform the neighbors (word of mouth).
  • Place ads, if you are allowed, in local shops.
  • Glue sheets on electrical poles or other poles in your neighborhood.
  • Place ads on specialized sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace
  • Distribute leaflets a few days in advance.

In the days before your garage sale, you will have to make sure that everything is ready for the big day:

  • Classify the objects by theme.
  • Check that everything is in good condition.
  • Wash thoroughly what needs to be washed: clothes, dishes, toys, etc.
  • If you wish, compose “lots” of objects in transparent bags (Ziploc style).
  • Make a list of objects.
  • Write the prices on labels, or think of a color code. For example, all items that have a blue dot will cost $1. It is less “professional” if you have to take a price out of your head every time someone asks you “how much it costs”.
  • Children’s clothing can be placed in a large plastic bin and sold for a fixed price, for example, “all for 50 cents. 
  • Even if an object has a sentimental value for you, it is only its monetary value that you must take into account…

The Presentation
As in any store, you will sell your items more easily if they are well displayed.

  • Place your items on a table rather than on the floor on a sheet: potential customers can look at them and touch them without having to fold in half.
  • Make sure that everything you sell is really in working order.
  • Fill the “gaps” on your table with other items, otherwise buyers will think that only the “bad” items are left, it’s psychological!
  • Your yard (or garage, or sidewalk) should also be clean: hide the garbage somewhere else!

The D-Day

  • Go around the neighborhood and place a few balloons and a colorful poster at strategic points: junctions, bus stops, etc.
  • Be on time! If you have announced your garage sale at 9 a.m., you should not be setting up your tables when the first customers arrive.
  • Make sure you have enough small change to keep in a “waitress apron” or box.
  • Stock up on plastic bags.
  • Be polite and smiling: this is the best way to attract customers.
  • Have a cooler with several water bottles and a few plastic cups and give some to young children: their parents will be more likely to buy!
  • Agree to bargain, offer discounts yourself if someone seems interested in acquiring several items.
  • Be careful to only take out items you want to sell, otherwise it is probably the first item you will want to buy (the chair you are sitting on or the tablecloth on your table, for example).
  • Think of a musical atmosphere: it’s always nice to shop with music! But choose something that everyone likes, this may not be the time to release your AC/DC CD’s!
  • If you have a pastry soul, also sell homemade cookies: it is often a win-win situation with children.
  • Plan a good picnic: working outside is a good way to dig into your stomach.
  • If the weather is grey, make sure you have some plastic sheeting to protect your belongings in case of a temporary storm.
  • If you have very young children, have them babysat… And if they are old enough, get them involved!
  • At the end of the day, make sure you clean up: pick up paper or plastic on the ground, remove posters and balloons, take unsold items to a thrift store.

So, are you going to organize a garage sale? Otherwise, enjoy your shopping!