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3 Key Garage Sale Tips for When You Need to Declutter and Want to Make Extra Cash

Plus, the smartest ways to set up your sale

Whether you have a lot of extra stuff lying around the house or are simply cleaning and reorganizing your space, hosting a garage or yard sales offers a one-two punch: they help you declutter while making you money. While it seems simple to set your stuff up and let buyers go to town, there’s a little more involved when it comes to these events. With that in mind, First wants you to have a successful sale, so we compiled our best garage sale tips. Keep reading to learn the best ways to make money and how to easily get rid of your items.

Garage sale tip No. 1: Timing is everything

Knowing the best times, days and seasons to sell is key when you’re looking to have a garage sale. You’ll want a day with good weather and a decent turnout, so it’s important to look into these details in your area and start planning from there.

1. Open the sale early in the morning

“Start your sale at 7 a.m. Veteran garage sale pickers begin early, and if you start at 7, you’ll get their interest. Plus, if you’re the only sale open at that time, they’ll hit your sale first,” says Eric Michael, author of Garage Sale Superstar. Plus, most people tend to show up between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. before the day gets too hot.

2. The days of the week make a difference

It’s best to have your garage sales on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, and Sundays specifically, since most people aren’t working. “And when choosing your date, skip the last weekend of the month to maximize the amount spent per customer,” says Michael. “People generally pay bills at the end of the month, so they may not feel like they have the extra cash at that time, but if you get them earlier in the month, they may have more to spend.”

Garage sale tip No. 2: Create a welcoming environment

The way you set up a garage sale is also important when it comes to selling your items. Keep similar items grouped together, chat with guests and make the space inviting.

1. Make the sale stand out

“Turn your sale into a party and you’ll sell, sell, sell!” says Bruce Littlefield, author of Garage Sale America. The more fun people are having, the more they’ll buy. Play some music, offer snacks or drinks and encourage people to spend time and money at your sale.

A few more ways to let folks know they’re in for a good time: Tie colorful balloons to tables or have little ones set up a lemonade stand. Ensure your signs capture this sense of fun: “Make ’em big and bold, using vivid words like ‘spectacular,’ ‘smokin deals’ and ‘dirt cheap,’” urges Littlefield. Also smart: Consider asking neighbors to hold yard sales on the same day as yours. “Multi-family sales attract more shoppers because they seem like an even bigger party.”

2. Get creative with the items you’re selling

Littlefield notes that if you can get someone’s attention, the more likely they will be to buy something. For example, you might label a box of LEGOs “Barefoot alert!” and a bread maker “Gave up carbs!”

“Sometimes, people need to be led to a good idea,” he notes. “I once sold a box of old kitchen tiles with the label, ‘Instant garden stepping-stone path.’” Simply painting a picture in customers’ minds helps them envision using your items, pumping up sales dramatically.

Garage sale tip No. 3: Organize the sale

Woman shopping at a garage sale
Massimo Ravera

“To have a successful garage sale, I try to set it up like a department store — and I tend to sell more items than anyone else,” says Kathy Ozzard Chism, author of Garage Sale Success Secrets. Group certain items together and make them look appealing to consumers.

1. Make a section for giveaways or freebies

Of course, shoppers love free items. Giving away free things with a purchase encourages the buyer to purchase more. “People are much more likely to pick out five items instead of just one or two because they want that fifth freebie,” says Cindy Sabulis, author of The Garage Sale How-To Guide.

Sabulis also advises to keep damaged items to the side. Once the set sells, offer it at no extra charge so that the imperfect item now becomes a free bonus.

2. Avoid boxes and bins for displays

The goal of garage sales is for people to buy what you’re selling and they aren’t going to do that if they can’t see the items. “People are more likely to look at clothing that’s hanging up rather than having to dig through a tangled mess of items in a box,” says Sabulis. “If you don’t have a portable clothing rack, you can hang the items on a clothesline, on a rope strung between two trees or even over a fence or porch.”

For those with tables only, spread the clothes or other items out in neat piles so people can clearly see what’s available.

For more ways to declutter click through these stories:

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash — 5 Easy Ways to Get Paid for Recycling Unwanted Items

Clutter At Home Clutters Your Mind, Say Scientists — Do These 8 Things To Clear Out Both

From Clutter To Cash: Here’s How To Make Money Off of Old Clothes, Jewelry, and Books

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