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Setting up a garage sale isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming. You can make good money if you spend time preparing and pricing items to sell.
You'll need to find things to sell, prepare tables, make signs, advertise, get small bills, and be ready to get an early start to capture the die-hard yard-sale crowd.
The planning phase can take days or weeks, but it's an excellent way to earn more money.
How much can you make?
Having a garage sale doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll make money. The average garage sale profit can be as much as $1,000 or more.
But your earnings depend on the things you sell. For example, if you're only selling old coffee mugs and books, you won't earn as much as you would selling big-ticket items like tools, appliances, electronics, and furniture.
Pick the right date and time
Choosing the correct date for a garage sale is essential. The most profitable months for sales are April, May, June, and September, because the weather is nice. In addition, most people receive paychecks around the 1st and 15th, so they are more likely to have spending cash.
Finally, start you garage sale early in the morning. Often, avid buyers show up as early as 6 a.m., trying to "preview" the sale and get the first crack at the best items.
Find things to sell
Check around your house for things you don't use anymore and can part with. Be selective in choosing items that work well in a garage sale versus selling on a site like Decluttr.
The most common things people sell at garage sales are:
- Large and small appliances
- Electronics and antiques
- Children’s toys
- Sporting goods, including bikes
Put prices on everything
If someone is interested in an item, don’t make them ask you for a price. If there is no price on something they want to buy, they are more likely to walk away from your sale.
So, make it easy for your customers. Put clear prices on everything at your garage sale.
Get small bills
Garage sales deal in cash. So, if you can’t make change for a customer, you won’t have much luck selling lower-cost items.
If you’re not sure how much cash you’ll need, stop by the bank and get at least fifty $1, ten $5, and five $10 bills.
Consider digital payments
Consider using digital payment tools like Venmo, Square, or Paypal for large ticket items like furniture. Venmo lets you send money using an app. Square and Paypal will send you a free card reader that plugs into your phone, so you can make instant payments.
However, digital payment fees can eat up your profits and be subject to chargebacks. Consider setting a minimum purchase price (like $50) before allowing a digital payment.
Don’t price items for how much you paid
Garage sales are not the place to recover the money you spent on something long ago. If you are concerned about selling specific items at a discount, don't put them in the garage sale.
Suppose you're looking at a bike you spent a lot of money on, and it's crushing you to sell it for a fraction of the cost. In that case, sell it elsewhere like Facebook marketplace, where you're more likely to get top dollar for it.
The bottom line
You probably won’t sell everything, so make a plan to get rid of the remaining items. Consider holding another garage sale, selling items through Facebook or Declutter, or donating them to charity.
In the end, the main goal of your garage sale is to get rid of stuff and make some extra cash. The key is planning ahead. But forget to have a little fun while doing it!