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Secrets to the Perfect Garage Sale

Secrets to the Perfect Garage Sale

Want to clear some clutter and make cold, hard cash this summer? A garage sale could do just the trick!

We teamed up once again with our old pal Aaron LaPedis, The Garage Sale Millionaire, to learn a thing or two about throwing the perfect sale. He coached New Jersey mother Michele Kocotos and her family throughout the process.

The Bigger, The Better

First, LaPedis recommends gathering items at least four weeks in advance. Scour your basement, attic and closets, and ask friends for their stuff, too. The bigger the sale, the better you’ll do. And be sure to spruce up any items that need a little TLC.

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Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

Marketing is the key, LaPedis says. Instead of wasting money on store-bought signage, he advises that you post a minimum of 20 large, handmade, foam board signs with bold lettering so they can be well seen. Just remember to take them down when the sale is over. Also, be sure to promote your sale on Facebook, Craigslist and TagSellIt.

The Early Bird… Helps Set Up

If early birds stop by while you’re still setting up, LaPedis suggests you put them to work. “Have them help you. Have them carry boxes from your garage and lay them out… a lot of times they will, because they get a first look at everything. Do not shoo them away,” he says.

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Place Large Items Closest to Curb

Another important factor you may not have thought of: garage sale configuration. “I like to have a lot of great big items in the front, next to the street,” LaPedis says. “When these items get sold, bring other bigger items forward. It basically helps to stop traffic in its tracks.”

Price Items a Few Dollars Higher to Allow for Negotiation

As for pricing items, think of your ideal number, then tack on a few more dollars to leave room for negotiating. A nativity set started out over $20 and sold for $15. For valuable items, check the web for insight. A similar model flute to the one at the garage sale recently sold on eBay for $100, so LaPedis priced it for $120, with room to haggle. If it doesn’t move, just sell it online.

Don't Use Price Tags for Cheaper Items

LaPedis says you also want to encourage folks to negotiate. For items that will probably sell for less than $15, ignore price tags. Instead, ask customers to make you an offer.

“They will say, ‘Oh, you give a price.’ Say, ‘What’s fair to you?’ Get them talking. The more that they talk, the more you interact with them, the better price you’ll get,” LaPedis says. “This is the dance.”

But even the best sales tactics may need to be finessed during the sale. “Negotiation changes throughout the day,” says LaPedis. “In the morning, you want to pretty much hold pat on what you want for the item. And the closer it gets to 3 o’clock, you want to negotiate hard because that’s the time you may be stuck with that item. So take the money and run.”

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Hungry Customers Won’t Stay as Long

Another good tip: have a bake sale manned by the kids to increase revenue. LaPedis says folks will stay longer — and spend more — when they don’t have to leave for a snack.

Ultimately, regardless of your daily haul, LaPedis says remember to enjoy yourself and your neighbors. “That’s the fun of garage sales — people making offers and working it out,” he says. “It’s exciting. It’s fun. Your adrenaline starts going. You make the deal and get cash in your pocket.”

What have been some of your best garage sale finds? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #finfit.