Garage Sale Gurus: 5 Experts Share Top Tips for Bringing in the Bucks

By Linsey Knerl

It’s that time of year, when some toss out their unwanted stuff, and others pay a fine price for it. We’re talking garage sales, and for many, it’s a way to pick up some extra cash for debt, summer school or a vacation! We caught up with five money-saving moms to get expert tips on how to ensure success at your next yard sale.

Mercedes Levy, Common Sense with Money: This smart spender brings her know-how from the other side of the card table. An avid garage sale shopper, Mercedes recommends taking these shopper notes to heart when planning your big sale:

“Be sure to price things to sell. People who go to garage sales expect to pay garage sale prices, not consignment or even thrift store prices. Garage sale shoppers are looking for a good bargain.” She recommends that sale holders price every item, and they should expect that price to be a starting point for any bargaining that may occur.

Melissa Garcia, Consumer Queen: Melissa knows a good deal when she sees one, but she’s also keen on what sellers can do to make their sale go smoothly. In agreement with the theory that you must be prepared to bargain, she suggests that you price slightly higher in anticipation of having to accommodate haggling customers. Her best tip? A simple preparation and presentation technique: “Make sure you put new batteries in electronics or an outlet for people to plug in and make sure they work,” she says.

Lynnae McCoy, Being Frugal: Lynnae is a popular personal finance expert who can attest to the benefits of marking down merchandise after a certain point in the day. “Put up a sign that says 1/2 price after noon (or something to that effect),” she claims. “It will help you get rid of stuff as the day goes on.” Another useful tip? Keep all small valuables close to you. (You don’t need your profits walking off with an unscrupulous shopper, do you?)

Tara Kuczykowski, Deal Seeking Mom: A little kindness goes a long way to making customers feel cared for, and Tara knows just the way to give a little back. “Save your old plastic grocery bags and boxes to pack fragile items in. Customers appreciate having their items packed securely.” She also recommends giving even more to garage sale shoppers by offering discounts. “I priced a ton of extra items from my stockpile at $1 each, buy 4 get one free. It definitely made people more likely to buy multiples to get an extra item at no charge!” (Sounds like a great way to make an extra sale!)

Jennae Petersen, Green Your Décor: Jennae, an expert on recycling and green practices, recognizes garage sales as a great way to pass on perfectly good items to another family. Her advice to those looking to make a buck is simple – make it easy for people to find. She advises sellers to give very good instructions on where the sale is located, and to go with more than one sign. “Several signs leading shoppers to your sale is better. Place signs leading up to your neighborhood, ending at your house with balloons or some other type of large eye-catching sign so there's no way shoppers can miss it. On the signs, the most important information is the day and time of the sale and your address. For the signs from major roads, don't underestimate the power of a huge arrow pointing drivers in the right direction.”

Already a Super Garage Sale-er? Tell us your selling secrets and we may share them with RedPlum readers. Send us your best tip!

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