Garage Sale 101, Part 3 – Where Do I Start?

More on Garage Sales — An Even More Opinionated Guide on How to Proceed With Your Sale

“It’s not junk until it’s been in three garage sales.”

— Doc Harris

I’m not sure who Doc Harris is, but he had the right idea. Certain things — Oshkosh overalls come to mind — just keep moving through the cycle. And, isn’t that a good thing? Less waste. Less money spent from your pocket and, eventually, a little cash back into your pocket when you sell them again. It’s a beautiful thing.

So, if my last post didn’t scare you into not having a garage sale, it’s time to think about what you’re going to sell. Keep in mind this may differ according to your neighborhood or town and this post is just an opinion.

No matter where you live, the most important thing is variety.  I’ve been to a gazillion sales with lots of great clothes, all size six, and not much else. Well, that’s fabulous if you happen to be a size six, not so great if you’re not. The best sale is one I can shop with my daughter, my husband, and my mom  and we all find something we want.

Yeah, I said husband. Guys do garage sale and not  always because they’re dragged  along by their wives. You’ll be surprised how many men will come alone. So, do try to have something for them. But don’t sell your husband’s tools without asking or you may be using your hard-earned garage sale money to hire a good divorce lawyer. Unless, of course, that’s the result you were aiming for.

So … what to sell. Start by taking a look around every room in your house for anything you haven’t used in a long time.  Here are some suggestions.

  • Make sure all clothing is clean and sizes are marked. If they don’t smell fresh, freshen in the dryer, with some Febreze, or by hanging outside.
  • Group sizes together.
  • Avon boxes make great storage and display for baby and kid’s clothes.  Label the boxes with the sizes.  After the garage sale, pop the lid on the box and you’re ready for the next sale!
  • Purses and hats sell well. Shoes don’t.
  • Consider bagging several small items (like socks or washable hair ties) together and selling them as one.
  • Think about making “outfits” out of separates—you sometimes make more money.
  • Don’t go overboard on clothing! Children’s sell well, but not if it’s all you have.

Small Appliances and Electrical Items
  • They must work or be clearly marked that they don’t.
  • If it’s a light or radio, turn it on.
  • Place near an electrical outlet to demonstrate.

Household Items and Furniture
  • Kitchen supplies, knick-knacks, dishes, etc. go well.
  • This is not the best place to sell collectibles or antiques. People at garage sales are looking for deals!
Books, Videos, DVDs, Music Tapes and CDs
  • Cookbooks and popular fiction sell well. $.50 for recent paperbacks and $1.00 for hardbacks.  But, no one wants your old textbooks.
  • Group similar books together.
  • Kids DVDs, especially Disney ones are popular.
  • Tapes of any sort are not so hot right any more, but there is a definite, although limited, market for record albums. (You remember, the black things with the hole in the middle? We used to call them vinyl?)
Let’s Hear It for the Guys – Tools and Such
  • Tools of all kinds sell well.
  • Electrical gadgets, switches, sell too.
  • If you don’t have something for the men, they’ll walk away and their wives won’t linger.
Fun for Boys and Girls
  • Toys and children’s items are popular.
  • Big “Little Tykes” type toys go especially well, if you price them right!
  • Board games and children’s books are also good.
Dress It Up with Jewelry
  • Jewelry sells best if it’s displayed nicely – a piece of dark cloth or fleece over a piece of corrugated cardboard makes a good backdrop. Then you can tack jewelry with pins or tacks to display.  Be sure it’s near the checkout desk so no little hands get at the pins.
  • Another alternative is to put items in small ziploc bags, but this is a less effective means of display.
Be a Sport
  • Skates, balls and bats, are good items for sale.
  • Exercise items (mats, weights, steps) are popular items.

If you wouldn’t buy the item if you needed something like it, don’t try to sell it. It’s insulting to others to think that they want what you consider junk. Make sure everything is clean and clearly marked!

Next week, we tackle pricing!

About kymlucas

"Taking care not to take love too seriously." Writer of smart, fresh, contemporary romance and women's fiction. Blogging about writing, reading, and more recently, dealing with the ins and outs of breast cancer.
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