Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

by Msnbctv news staff

Q: We’re moving and have so much stuff to get rid of. Is it worth the effort to hold a yard sale? And how do we make sure it’s not a dud?

A: This may be a banger year for yard sales, and if you put the time into setting yours up right, you could have success. “There are avid garage-sale people who do this every weekend,” said Ava Seavey, who owns the website “They have pent-up energy to do this because they couldn’t do this for a year because of the pandemic.”

Here are some ways to help make yours succeed.

Consider your inventory: Before you commit to a sale, look at what you actually have. Yard sales work best if you have a variety of stuff to appeal to a wide range of shoppers — do-it-yourselfers looking for tools, young parents looking for baby gear, antiquers on the hunt for funky finds. If your goods are limited, consider asking a neighbor (or a few neighbors) to join you for a group sale. A multifamily sale has other benefits, too. It’s easier to spread the word, and you can set up the sale at the busiest location.

Get the Word Out: Announce your sale on social media, particularly on neighborhood groups. Advertise on sites like Yard Sale Search and Garage Sales Tracker. Place an ad in the garage-sale section of your local paper. On the day of the sale, post signs on nearby cross streets. And check with your municipality to find out if permits are required.

The Setup: Put price tags on your items so customers don’t have to ask. Price appropriately. New items can sell for 65 percent of retail, while lightly used ones could sell for 50 percent, according to Ms. Seavey. For vintage items, see what they go for on a site like Etsy or eBay, and price yours a bit higher since buyers won’t have to pay shipping fees. Display your stuff neatly on covered tables, shelves and clothing racks, organizing the items by category. Items like jewelry, decorations and furniture generally move well, Ms. Seavey said.

Safety: Go to the bank and get plenty of small bills and change, keeping the cash in your possession at all times. Lock the doors to your house, since people will be lingering. Make sure you’re working with a partner, so one person can handle the sales and another can keep an eye on the crowd.

Timing: Set up before breakfast time to catch the early birds. Consider holding a multiday event, starting on Friday. “That’s when all the dealers and the resellers and the collectors come,” Ms. Seavey said. By the end of the day on Saturday, the inventory should hopefully all be gone.

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