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Frugal Father’s Guide to Garage Sales

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 08-08-2008

If you have small kids, you know that every year brings new needs and wants, which means more things outgrown. That includes toys, accessories, and clothing. Some things you’ll want to keep, but many things lose their utility very quickly after the stage has passed. I’m thinking toilet training especially. The good news is that a lot of things can be sold easily in a garage sale, and you can use some items to draw more visitors.

  • Place Craigslist or other ads in the paper the day before. Headline anything in your ads that might be remotely collectable.
  • Unless you want early-birds knocking on your door, plan to be outside your house a half hour before the announced time of your garage sale.
  • Play some music like they do in retail stores. This will keep the atmosphere upbeat.
  • Make sure you have batteries and power cords for any item that needs electricity.
  • Price your items 10-20% higher and be prepared to discount items as you go. You’ll feel freer to deal and even give things for free to make a sale.
  • Organize and present your items on tables waste high. At a garage sale, no one wants to stoop on the ground to see something lying on the floor and placing them on tables, like in a store will make them seem more valuable.
  • Consider having a grab bag of items that you’ll give “free with purchase,” like free books or specialty clothing, which are usually slower sellers.
  • Keep extra bags and boxes on hand. If potential buyers can’t carry their purchases, they might not buy as much.
  • Be prepared to take unsold articles directly to the Goodwill at the end of the sale, instead of letting them pile up in the garage. Document your donation and you’ll get a good tax deduction.

Keep in mind that bargain hunters look for slightly used toys for their own kids or grandchildren and these are a draw at garage sales. If you can attract as many people with children as you can, you’ll have better luck selling some of the kids’ clothing.

— Paul Banas