While there’s nothing wrong with donating items you aren’t using anymore, a garage sale can be a great way to make extra spending money. If you do it right, that is.
Let’s look at some tips for organizing a yard sale or shopping at one.
To make the most money at your garage sale, you need to attract customers first and foremost. Start by advertising your sale. Websites like Craigslist are a great place to start and may feed to apps that collect sale listings. Use various keywords to be sure people see you, including estate sale, yard sales near me, garage sales near me, estate sales near me, and so on. Consider posting your sale on your community’s website or Facebook group, where you can ask others to spread the word.
Community pages are also a great place to invite other families to participate; group yard sales may attract more customers. These allow shoppers access to more goods in one place. Community or local papers will often list your sale for free on their website, in the paper, or both. You can also post the sale to your personal social media accounts if you’re comfortable sharing your address.
With a challenging economy right now, garage sales can be a great way to make a bit of extra money while helping others get needed items at a discount. Need more tips on saving money? Check out our Finance Academy and our 10 Tips to Start Saving Money Today.
Maybe you’re buying rather than hosting. There are also lots of great tips for how to shop estate and yard sales to your advantage.
Experts suggest you plan ahead to be efficient and to save money. Apps like Yard Sale Treasure can help you plan a schedule and route based on yard sale listings from Craigslist. If you’re not sure a sale has the item you want, many listings provide contact information; consider emailing the host the day before to save yourself an unfruitful stop. Clear out your car to make room for your haul, and consider taking packing materials, bungees, or roof straps to bring treasures home safely. Also, take cash, including plenty of small bills in case a host can’t make change.
Go in ready to negotiate. Not all sales will price items, so use smartphone tools like eBay, Etsy, or a Google search to determine a fair offer price. Make an offer – just try not to insult the seller with an unreasonable offer.
Prepare for competition. If you know a sale is offering an item you want, try contacting the seller in advance. See if they will accept an advance offer. If not, get there within the first 30 minutes of the sale or you could miss out. Items will get picked over as the day goes on. Avoid this if you have specific items in mind; if you’re bargain hunting, consider going toward the end of the sale when many sellers will slash prices or accept lower offers to avoid storing leftover items.
There will be less competition at unadvertised sales, so don’t be afraid of a detour from your plan if you see another sale.
Experts say DON’T buy certain used items for safety reasons. These can include used cribs, car seats, bike helmets, or upholstered furniture and mattresses (due to bedbugs).
Experts say DO look for these special items, especially if you’re looking to resell at a profit. Spare game pieces, well-made costume jewelry, and nostalgic toys can be winners on Etsy or eBay. Be ready to check prices on these items before you buy to know how much to offer if you want to make a profit. Whatever you do, keep nostalgic items in their original condition, as fixing them almost always devalues them.
Whether you’re hosting or shopping, our best tip is this: make it a fun adventure!
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