Get That Garage Under Control with a Yard Sale!

Yard sale

Just look at that photo…does it remind you of your own garage? Even if yours is a bit less cluttered, almost everyone struggles with the accumulation of "stuff" that seems to just grow in the darkness of the garage. Even if organized, it can be inefficient and impossible. What's the answer (apart from a large dumpster)? A garage or yard sale!

Not only does it get rid of the clutter but earns some cash and lets you restore the garage to a place where you can park the car, store seasonal tools and even enjoy some work space or a hobby area. It could even become a sort of living space where kids hang out, you enjoy game nights and more!

How do you do it? It's not at all difficult, but the wisest thing to do is start far ahead of the date you wish to host the sale. For example, maybe a late summer sale is a good thing in your area? If so, start a couple of months ahead of time, and you'll enjoy a much better result.

Let's take time to figure out how to have the kind of garage sale that's worth the time and the effort.

Is a Garage Sale a Good Fit for You?

Now, before we delve too deeply into the joys of a garage sale, ask yourself if you are someone who:

  • Would prefer to just pack it all up and drop it at the local charity center.
  • Doesn't want to spend much time sorting things.
  • Hates to haggle over prices.
  • Is not keen on spending time around lots of strangers.
  • Doesn't have a lot of time and energy, or desire to committing to a sale of this kind.

If that sounds like you, a garage sale is not a good answer. However, if you are eager to spend time chatting with neighbors and strangers, selling unwanted clutter, and making a nice packet of money for your effort and hard work, the garage sale is a good fit. As we said, be sure that you take plenty of time beforehand to setup and get organized using these steps:

#1 ‑ The Right Steps

How do you get yourself fully prepared, in the weeks or months ahead of time? These are our recommendations:

  • Check to Make Sure You Can Have a Sale

    Many regions have specific laws around yard sales. Find out if you need a permit or if there are specific days for garage sales.

    No matter what, if you can have a sale, always plan for it to occur during the weekend (usually Friday through Sunday is best). Try to avoid holidays, since people travel or go away. Also, be sure there is not another major event in town that might make buyers too busy to come to a garage sale.

  • Start Sorting!

    If you can have a garage or yard sale, get started ASAP on the sorting. Never wait for the week before to start sorting items. Create areas, bins or spaces for the items you'll "keep, sell, donate and toss". Even go so far as to keep a trash can handy for the items you'll throw away and make a weekly or bi‑weekly trip to a charity center.

    What if you don't really have a lot? It's fine. Just ask the neighbors if they have stuff to sell or see if family or friends want to get in on the action and put their clutter up for sale.

  • Watch the Weather

    It is impossible to improve on lousy weather, but if you can put up a tent or tarps beneath which shoppers can peruse the items it can help you salvage a rainy weekend. If you have to postpone, make contingency plans about where to store the goods.

#2 ‑ Spread the Word

Ten days ahead of the sale, start posting word about it online through sites like Facebook and Craigslist. Give the location, time and some brief details about what buyers will find. Make note of a no early birds policy, but don't expect everyone to honor it! The day before, go around and hang signs at intersections and accent your home with balloons or brightly colored signage.

#3 ‑ The Day Before and the Day of the Sale

Here are the key "last minute" tips for optimal garage sale prep:

  • Wash everything carefully, including clothing and toys and wipe everything down with a damp cloth or sanitizer.
  • Make sure everything is in working order and put out extension cords for buyers to test items.
  • Itemize everything you are selling to help make clean up easier.
  • Price with masking tape or color coded stickers, and use only round numbers such as whole and half dollar prices.
  • Don't mark kid's clothes individually. Instead put it in bins with everything at the same, fixed price.
  • Sort everything by a few specific categories and set them out on tables in an organized manner. Sort small items into clear "ziploc" bags.
  • Tidy up the driveway and consider roping off the area so nobody falls or goes where they shouldn't.
  • Get a good supply of small bills and coins ahead of the sale.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for hagglers and decide if you are willing to bargain. To make this easier on yourself, just know the least amount you will accept for anything for sale.
  • It is a good idea to also think about the way everything is going to look. Always use tables, clothing racks and avoid putting items on the ground. Most buyers won't like squatting to look at anything. Keep the tables densely packed with goods since many people think items on almost empty tables are not good quality or desirable.

Each morning of the sale, get up early and check to see if the signs are still in good shape and in place.

Though you might have insisted that "no early birds" arrive, you just cannot keep them all away. Accept the simple fact that whatever time you decided to start is probably going to be bumped up at least 30 minutes. Present a welcoming persona even if you're irritated, and it is far more likely to lead to a sale.

#4 ‑ Add an Income Stream

Is the sale during very warm weather? If so, increase the bottom line by putting a large cooler of iced beverages by the table where you are taking payments for items. If you have kids, they can man this area and even do some lemonade or a bake sale to make even more. Kids can also host their own toy sale areas at the same time and market goods to other kids!

And don't forget to use that classic retail secret of playing upbeat but appealing music.

After the Sale

At the end of the last day of your sale, try to get the space back into its original condition. This is when your list of "give away and/or toss" items comes into play. Sort those goods you'll donate into bags and boxes and load them in the car for drop off the next day. Put all of the items that can’t be used or sold in the trash, and then head out to take down all of the signs.

In the end, you'll make a bit of money and after spending all of that time in your driveway, you may decide to direct some of it to a new garage door!

If so, contact us anytime at 613‑749‑2138. We are long time experts in garage doors and can advise you on the best choices to make based on your needs, personal style, and budget. We are always happy email you a quotation, but you might also visit us at our showroom and see what a new garage door would look like using Design Centre, or by using our image gallery to get some inspiration.

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