Garage Sale Tips & Tricks

Two years after moving to Houston from Oregon, we finally went through our belongings and decided to host our first garage sale as a family. And not only did we make some money, but we also had fun doing it! So if you’re considering decluttering and making some cash, here are some garage sale tips and tricks to keep in mind…

Garage Sale Tips & Tricks | Houston Moms Blog

A Month Before the Sale

  • Start early and plan ahead.
  • Consider the weather and climate.
  • Research your city/neighborhood rules on garage sales. Do you need a permit? Is a garage sale allowed in your area?
  • Consider partnering up with another family.

A Week Before the Sale

  • Advertise – marketing is everything! Make physical signs, and make sure they are placed where they can be seen and read. And of course, make sure your handwriting is legible. Signs with arrows are great to lead people to your sale. Also, list your sale on Craigslist and other garage sale sites. If your neighborhood has a Facebook page, make sure to post about it there too.
  • Feature a few big-ticket items to lure people in. Bikes, lawn equipment, cribs, toys, etc.
  • Explain things to your kiddos. Have them pick out things to sell. Talk about what selling their old things means.
  • Organize children’s clothing by size.

Garage Sale Tips & Tricks | Houston Moms Blog

The Day Before the Sale

  • Decide what the lowest price is you will accept for an item. There will be hagglers, so anticipating this will make sure you don’t regret selling your grandmother’s china for $5. Make sure your garage sale team is aware of this as well. Nothing worse than your spouse selling something for half of what you were hoping to get for it!
  • Go to the bank and ask for change in different denominations for a $100. That way if someone gives you a twenty dollar bill for a $5 item, you can give them the proper change.

The Day of the Sale

  • The day of the sale, wake up early and make sure all hands are on deck. {Pro Tip :: Have someone go on an iced coffee run. You will need caffeine to get you through this!}
  • Presentation is everything! Make sure customers know what they are looking at. People won’t buy it if they don’t know what it is. Hang up clothing, display or demonstrate a gadget, and put a little description or post from the Internet about it if needed.
  • Price to sell. If you have a lot of clothes remaining at the end of the day, consider a “fill a bag” deal.
  • Think quantity when selling. Your goal is to get rid of your crap, so price in bundles. For example :: $5 for a box of children’s clothes, or $0.50 per book. If you overprice, your stuff won’t sell. Better to sell a lot of items for cheap than just a few for what you “think” they are worth. Also, streamline …  All dresses $10, all shirts $5, etc. Much easier than trying to sift through everything and price them differently!
  • Get your kiddos involved the day of the sale, and consider putting them in charge of selling bottled water from a big cooler. {Avoid lemonade because it has the opportunity for big spills and messes!}

Garage Sale Tips & Tricks | Houston Moms Blog

After the Sale

  • After the sale, take photos of all the remaining items and list them on the community resale pages on Facebook and Craigslist. Consider lumping things together for a quicker sale — for example, “50 pieces of toddler clothes for $30” or “20 books for $10.”
  • Donate items you don’t want to try to sell to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or to a local charity.

Most importantly… Have fun with it!  And if we left anything off, be sure to leave your tips and tricks below too!

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Erica is a New England native who moved to Houston with her family in June 2014. She and her wife Christina live in Pearland with their daughter Quinn {Dec 2013}, dog Charley, and two cats Phoebe and Oliver. Erica is an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston where she teaches classes on strategic communication and social media. When Erica isn’t busy teaching, researching, or being a mom, she enjoys getting her yoga on, creating culinary delights, scoring deals shopping online, and exploring Texas with her girls.


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