Get the word out. Advertise your sale. Internet sites are especially hot right now for garage sales. List your sale on www.GarageSaleGal.com
Make colorful signs that can't be missed. Use bright colors such as pink, orange, red or green. Don't put too many details on your sign. We can't read an address and time when we're driving by at 30 MPH. A large sign, with "SALE" and an arrow pointing us in the right direction is perfect.
Make your sale appealing and enticing so folks will want to get out of their car and get a better look. Display your treasures on tables at least waist high. Your items will be easier to see. Group things together: Kitchen items, toys, beauty items, furniture, electronics, etc. should all be together. When people are looking for specific things they'll go right to their area of interest.
Lynda Hammond, Garage Sale Gal
Make your sale colorful. The human eye is drawn to color. I'm sure you've seen folks drive up to your sale, look and drive on, not bothering to get out. Well, in order to coax people out and into your sale have colorful items nicely and neatly displayed. It can be anything: clothes, dishes, household goods, etc. If you get them in your driveway chances are they'll buy something.
Have plenty of change. There have been many sales I've visited where one person holding the sale has left to go to the store for change. Prepare the night before by getting small bills and loose change. It's not uncommon for your first garage sale buyer to hand you a $20 bill.
Shopping at Garage Sales
Rise and shine. The early bird gets the worm. This is so true when it comes to garage sales. Try to have that cup of coffee, dress and be out the door by 6:00 AM! I know it's early but if you want the best selection you have to get there before anyone else. I've gone to sales at 7:00 AM, asked for specific items and was told "I just sold that". So, I've learned to get out early.
Know how to bargain. If you see an item you're interested in ask them if they'll "take anything less", or "what's your best price". Don't be shy. You're expected to haggle over the price at a garage sale – hey that's half the fun. One rule of thumb. Don't ask for a lower price on anything $1 or less. I once asked a woman if she'd take a dime for an item marked .25..(a quarter!). I still can't get the look on her face out of my mind. (She rolled her eyes!) She thought I was crazy. While I did get it for a dime (a little Santa Claus candle holder) I've regretted it ever since.
Look for neighborhood sales. Often times you can hit 100 sales in one small area. Think about the community. If it's a newer neighborhood with families, keep in mind the items for sale will be different than what you may find at a retirement community for empty nesters. So, if you're looking for toys go to the family sales. Is it antiques you're interested in? Check out older, more established areas and retirement communities.
If you love it buy it. I often hear stories of people who let a great find get away. The reasons for "not" buying something can make sense at the time... no place to put it, it's the wrong color, etc. But if you love something you'll make it work in your home. If you find a cabinet you just have to have but you don't like the color, use your imagination, give it a coat of paint. If you don't have room for it now, hold your own sale and get rid of some things you're not using to "make" room for it. You'll be glad you did.
Dress comfortably and bring water. I usually wear sweats, tennis shoes and a hat (a 3-TV hat, of course)! A lot of people sell water at their sales. But you can save your money by being prepared. Bring several bottles of water. In the Summer heat in Arizona you might even have a cooler handy to keep water cool.
And finally, have fun. Garage sales should be enjoyable. Have fun meeting new people and finding fabulous bargains. Good-Luck!
I just have to tell you how much I love your column. I have been going to yard sales for about 30 years! I can't hardly bring myself to buy something new that I am sure I will find at a yard sale if I just look long enough. (And pray the "yard sale Gods" are with me! I laughed when you used that term !) Thanks again for your words of wisdom each week! Frugal at heart, NANCY GLEMSER