How to Stage a Garage Sale

Garage sales go by many names, like yard sale, estate sale, tag sale and moving sale, but regardless of what you call them, they all boil down to one point – and that’s to sell your unwanted stuff for a profit. But if you’ve ever stopped by a garage sale that’s disorganized, displays things on the ground and doesn’t have clearly marked prices, you know just how frustrating and awkward navigating one can be. So why not make yours an event that makes things simple to browse and simple to buy?

In order to do this, you’ll need at least two people to man the sale – one person to act as a cashier who can stay at a table with your (well organized) cash box, and another who can meander, answer people’s questions, and generally serve as backup. As for your “sales floor” – it should be organized in a logical way and easy to shop. When setting up yours, try to:

  • Make sure all of your merchandise is clean, polished and ready for display. After all, you want people to buy, so you have to put your best foot forward.
  • Use tables (that aren’t for sale) to display your wares. This makes it easy for people to see the merchandise without bending or squatting – and will help keep items from getting broken underfoot.
  • Create displays that draw people in. If you have collections of things to sell, like dishware, a smattering of blue vases, artwork or gloves, hats and jewelry that all works together, group those things on tables and create a tableau that’s enticing.
  • Place larger furniture items in an area that won’t be damaged by wet grass or weeping, sappy trees.
  • Set up a clothesline or a portable garment rack so people can shop for clothes just like they do at the store. Be sure to organize your clothes based on garment type and size – it will also make browsing easier.
  • Buy stickers that won’t damage your items, then tag each and every item in your sale with a price. That will help eliminate repeated questions about how much something costs – and will help your customers decide what they want to spring for/haggle about and what they don’t.
  • When designing the garage sale signage that you’ll place around your neighborhood, don’t forget to create a sandwich board and/or banner for your sale site. This will help capture people’s attention and draw them into your sale. If you can make it not only eye catching, but stylish and fun as well, all the better.

Finally, don’t forget to mow your grass, sweep your porch, trim your bushes and trees and make the front of your home warm, welcoming and generally approachable. If people have to open a gate, wade through weeds, or feel like they have to fight their way through a jungle just to get to your sale, they probably won’t come. So do your best to create a space where your neighbors and strangers will be comfortable shopping.