Organizing a Garage Sale TO SELL!

I put my retail experience to good use this weekend: I had a garage sale! Our gated community advertised a garage sale would be open to the public: so I took FULL advantage of the opportunity! All week, my FOCUS was on purging from closets, from the office, from cupboards, from the attic, and from the garage... all the things that I not only have not used in 6 months or a year, but also purging items that add NO VALUE to my life. Having just past Halloween, you'd think there be something scary about cleaning out the skeletons and dusting off the cobwebs... but it wasn't at all! It was actually a lucrative ($) cleansing.... I even utilized discontinued sale signs from my previous employer to shout out the event! BIGGEST SALE OF THE SEASON! EVERYTHING ON SALE

I started the urge to purge at the beginning of the week by scheduling a closet a day to tackle. Otherwise, the task may have become too overwhelming. While pulling out what I was purging, I was able to keep re-organizing the spaces. I did have "some" treasures I had brought home from my old office, that I did need to create space for (for ex. my 9/11 newspaper collection, colored pens & pencils, floor plan templates, and "ideas" to go through at a later date). What was to be purged, I'd gathered at the top of the stairs, to bring down to the garage. I daily kept piling in the garage until I got to Friday, the day before the sale

(call it the presale)
Friday morning, I Google'd some info about setting up garage sales, and from the info I gathered, I made myself a checklist:

  1. Price dots on EVERYTHING
  2. Larger signs on larger items
  3. Picture of a comparable item to show its value (ex. P1 chair $129 mine @ $30 for same)
  4. Utilize an online price list from the Salvation Army site as a price "guide"
  5. Visited my local thrift stores to check out their pricing on similar items
  6. Utilize banquet tables covered with black sheets cut in 1/2 as cloth.
  7. Categorize items: Home Decor, Fashion Apparel, Books & Music
  8. Colorize these like items so it was easier to "sell" in multiples
  9. Utilize easel-like stands to prop up decorative detailed plates
  10. Utilize a table easel as a handbag stand
  11. Utilize small white boxes w/cotton inserts for jewelry

  1. Repurpose Dry Cleaners hangers to replace our personal hangers
  2. Borrowed a T-Stand rack from "a" store for hanging items
  3. Sell Cd's @ a price point & multiples for incentive ($2 ea. or 3 for $5)
  4. Utilize plexi shoe box storage bin for sale of CD's
  5. Utilize a riser under table for "nest" (height easier to shop vs. on the ground)
  6. Collect plastic grocery bags and paper shopping bags
  7. Play peppy music (makes people BUY more!! )

Friday, I opened the garage, set up one of the tables in the driveway, and began categorizing and pricing the stuff to be sold. When that table was full, I opened up a second table, and continued to sort and price. Afterwards I dragged both tables into the garage. My mom came up Friday night, so she would be my assistant from start to finish on Saturday.
Saturday morning, with the help of my husband, I was able to just lift the tables up, and place them in the driveway ALREADY SET. I angled the tables, so drive-by's could get a glimps of EVERYTHING, but easier for them to spot my trash as their treasure. My husband went to work, and my mom and I sold our hearts out. 
Sales actually INCREASED when I played Micheal Jackson, and decreased when I played Madonna. Neighbors played some reggae on Sunday morning... which was wonderful with the bright sunlight and the breezy weather! Some input I got from FB friends was to ADVERTISE ON CRAIGS LIST. I can't say enough about advertising. Signs, emails, fliers: GET THE WORD OUT so you have the TRAFFIC to support all your efforts!!
Yesterday, by far, had more traffic. Surprisingly though. What I thought WOULD sell, did not. What I thought I would be donating, actually SOLD! So taking these observation into consideration (call it your "hits and misses"), I re-evaluated my strategy and presentations today. I utilized one of the 3 condensed banquet tables to display a colorline of all the window coverings I had for sale. By removing them out of the packages, and displaying them with new lower prices, I sold 6x's as much today then I did yesterday (with LESS traffic!!). On another table I price pointed all the goods (at 12pm) to $1 and SIGNED it large enough to see from the street (sold 1/2 the table!!)
A girlfriend joined me today. She brought over several clothing and shoe items. The 3rd table I had sold down, I was able to turn over to her for all her shoes. Many of the shoes were brand named with their boxes. I used the boxes as risers, and it also called out the brand. We price pointed the table at $5, and she sold 5 pairs off the table. The clothing, we lowered the price as an incentive to a customer who bought 1/2 our inventory!!!
Several customers commented, they "felt" like they were in a store, NOT at a garage sale. They LIKED the fact it was easy to find items, they didn't hesitate to ask if we had something, and even the neighbors REFEREED customers to this sale because they saw the inventory... and visa versa. I even managed to to prospect 4 potential future "customers" for their home "re-design".
When it was time to pack up, my friend and I collected all the clothing and shoes: she's sending them to donations in Haiti. All the chachquis and left over home goods, got piled into the car, to be donated at the Salvation Army, with an inventoried list. This list is itemized and used when filing tax returns, so some $'s are still recouped.

So, with a little FOCUS of your efforts (and merchandising trickery), you too can PURGE your closets, let go of what adds no value to your life, profit from it (to make a car and student loan payment), and add some REAL value to your life: Get to know your neighbors, as well as spend time LAUGHING with your friend or with your mom. Some efforts can even come back to you in the form of a gift:

I had commented on how beautiful this table was to my neighbor. When they packed up Saturday, she came and GAVE me the table!! AND helped me carry it into the house!!

Happy Garage Selling!!


  1. Congratulations--that's quite a success!!

  2. Thanks Jill!! I'm giving a beautiful white orchaid and card to our neighbors for giving us the table, and two books! :D



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