Whew... garage sales can be exhausting, but if done right, they can also be rewarding! If you've never had a garage sale or your garage sales usually flop, here are my tips for hosting a PROFITABLE garage sale!
*Sales: if you're solo and you get hit during a busy period, it can be confusing and stressful. Trying to make change, record what you sold, answer questions, and keep an eye on what's going on around you is a lot-- even for the best multitasker out there! Plus, you'll need a break at some point to make something to eat, take or make a phone call, have a "potty break", etc.
*Merchandise: I know I don't usually stop at a garage sale that only has a few tables of knicknacks out. If I'm going to take the time to stop and shop, I like to see lots of stuff for me to look at! The chances of me finding something are better! So, if you don't have enough things to sell, but still want to host a garage sale, see if a friend, family member, or neighbor wants to team up with you! Plus, then you can advertise your sale as a "Multi-family Garage sale!"
*Child care: It can be really tough for moms with little kids to host a garage sale, so be sure to have a few other adults or teens who are old enough to babysit around to help watch the little ones.
You can also send emails to friends and family, letting them know some of your "big ticket" items you'll be selling. Ask them to pass it along to anyone who may be looking for these things. You can also post it on Facebook (although I wouldn't post your address).
Make sure you put out some large signs near your location that clearly point the way to your sale. Use LARGE letters and maybe an arrow. Don't bother listing items or times on your sign- just make it very clear which way to go and they'll find it!
Also, people like to figure out their route when they are planning on going garage sale-ing for a few hours, so it helps if your sale coincidences with some neighbors, a sub-wide sale, or when others in your nearby vicinity are hosting a sale. You can plan this by asking around, talking to the neighborhood association, or looking on Craiglist.
Come garage sale time, I'm almost ready to go! I may do a quick sweep of the house for any other items to add, but I mainly just have to bring the items I've already put aside up from the basement!
*Just FYI: the rule of thumb in our house is: if you haven't used it in a year, you no longer need it.
You know how when you go to a store and their 75% off rack is stuffed full and sizes are scattered, it makes you feel frustrated? At least, that's how I am. I hate to have to work to push clothes aside to rifle through them and find something I like only to discover it's the wrong size and it's in the wrong section! If you can lay your things out so people can easily see them and get to them, you'll sell more!
In the past, we've borrowed tables from church and family and friends, but that can be a huge effort too! Think about what you can use in your house to display items. An old door or shelf place on lawn chairs can become a table; a shovel, rake, or shower curtain rod placed between two ladders can be used to hang things. We've even used the tree in our front lawn to hang old prom and bridesmaid dresses- and they sold great that year!
Also, don't assume that people with haggle. Some will (I definitely will !), but many people are too shy and you'll lose a ton of sales with that assumption.
You should also clearly mark your items. I love the little pricing stickers from the dollar store to put on items, but you can also make big signs that state prices for things, like "All clothes: $0.50 a piece". Sure, it's easier to just lay your things out and hope or expect that people will ask, but, again, many people won't.
Consider slashing prices on the last day of your sale. We've done the "stuff a bag for $5" tactic and the "Everything-is-half-off-today" promotion! Both work great and you'll increase your earnings on that last day or during those last (usually slow) hours!
I think this helps teach children learn the value of money and of their things. We also make sure to take 10% of their earnings to church on Sunday for their offering. It means much more to them when their offering is truly their own, and not from Mom's Wallet!