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8 Tips for Getting More Cash at Your Next Yard Sale

Is all the stuff in your garage or extra closets piling up to intimidating proportions? Well, spring is the best time to hunker down and have that garage sale you’ve been putting off. It’s the perfect weather to sit outside and talk to customers and we’ve asked some savvy sellers  for their display and selling tips to help you double your profits! 

Check out the competition online.

“Jewelry and tools are always hot sellers. If you ever have something you feel could be valuable but aren’t sure what to price it at, check out websites like eBay and see what similar items are selling for, then price your item at least 25 percent lower than what it’s going for on eBay. Also, give it a quick cleaning — you’ll get more for it than if you leave it dirty and dusty.” — Cindy Sabulis, author of The Garage Sale How-to Guide ($9.99, Amazon)

Be smart about signs.

“Write your signs in block letters that are 3 to 5 inches tall so they can be easily read by drivers. Place signs at about the same height as a stop sign if possible — that’s where drivers can see them best. Also, position signs about 30 yards ahead of any corners so drivers can get in the correct lane to pull over for your sale. For each sale, I usually put up 20 signs at a number of local intersections.” — Kathy Ozzard Chism, author of Garage Sale Success Secrets ($9.95, Amazon)     

Open shop at the right time.

“Start your sale at 7 AM. 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. And when choosing your date, skip the last weekend of the month to maximize the amount spent per customer. 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.” — Eric Michael, author of Garage Sale Superstar ($7.95, Amazon)

Guarantee a good turnout to your sale.

“April is the ideal month to hold a garage sale. In many areas, this is when the weather really starts to get nicer. That means more people are out and about, and many are excited for garage-sale season to start. And if you’re the only game in town, you’re going to get the crowd. Also, when you have a sale at this time of year, people tend to stay longer since there aren’t so many other sales to rush off to, so you sell more stuff.” —Cindy Sabulis 

Display clothing this way. 

“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. 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. If a table is your only option, don’t bother folding the items — spread clothes out in neat piles across the table. People can see them better so they don’t have to unfold them and make a mess.” — Cindy Sabulis 

Make the most of early birds 

“Early bird shoppers will show up an hour before your advertised opening time — even if your ad states that you won’t make any sales before the start time. However, these people are serious buyers and will often buy multiple items that can jump-start your sale. They’re also willing to spend more to buy the good stuff. So I put a large sign out that says, ‘All sales before 7 am are double the sticker price.’ If they really want it, they’ll pay the price. I’ve sold everything from furniture to appliances to video-game consoles with this tactic.” —Eric Michael 

Create a “floor plan” to boost sales.

“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. I’ve never made less than $400 at a sale; usually I sell between $800 and $1,200 and I’ve even made more than $2,000 in one day. The key? Merchandising your items. It makes them look more attractive so people are more apt to buy. Be sure to create little vignettes of furniture so people can imagine the items in their home.” — Kathy Ozzard Chism 

Allow shoppers to take a “test drive.” 

“Nobody wants to pay for something that doesn’t work, so I always make sure to have an extension cord set up where customers can test out electronic items. Doing this shows you care about your customers: You want to assure them that nothing is broken and that they can trust you with everything you’re selling — not just these items. I also sell CDs, so I have a little boom box set up playing soft music for ambience, and so customers can try out CDs on it. Also, I make sure all the accessories for electronics are bagged up so they don’t get lost. I even bag up odds and ends when I no longer know what they belong to and I have had people snap them up!” — Kathy Ozzard Chism 

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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