It’s there whenever you go to the garage, the basement, or the attic.  It’s there when you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning.  It’s there when you leave for vacation and when you get back.  It’s that mass of unused items that you keep telling yourself you need to get rid of but never seems to go anywhere.  Suddenly, BRAINSTORM - you can have a garage sale!  Folks will flock to your driveway in search of good deals and low-priced treasures.  Unfortunately, you don’t really know how to put together a garage sale that will entice hordes of bargain hunters.  Fortunately, this list of basic tips will help you know where to start.

  • Join a community wide or neighborhood-wide garage sale like Billings Biggest Garage Sale, if possible. The effort to market the event is a huge payoff for everyone involved.  Garage sale junkies love going to one big area so they can shop for hours!  Less gas, less parking and lots of variety!
  • Schedule for the Saturday near a payday. You want to throw your garage sale shin-dig when people have cash.  Typically, folks receive paychecks twice a month, around the first of the month and two weeks or so later.  If you shoot for payday time frames, it’s a good bet people will have cash in their pockets.
  • Keep an eye on the sky. Rainy weather will kill a garage sale faster than a magnifying glass fries ants, so watch the local 10-day forecast.  And have a plan in case of bad weather.
  • Keep it legal. Make sure you have any permits you might need to throw and promote your sale.  You may even need permits to put flyers in telephone poles or on fences, depending on the community.  The last thing you want is for the cops to bust up your sale like a noisy frat party.
  • Gang up. Throwing a garage sale is quite the undertaking, so make sure to enlist plenty of help.  Get friends and family to help you keep track of merchandise and assist customers.  It’s also a good idea to team up with others having sales on the same day as you.  Pool your stuff together in one location, and it’s a good bet you’ll get more shoppers stopping by.
  • Ready the proper promotion. In the days leading up to your sale, make sure you get the word out.  Put out lawn signs, put ads in the local newspaper or want ads, and set up promotion on websites like local garage sale site or craigslist.  The more people who know about your sale, the more people are likely to stop in.  Community garage sales like Billings Biggest Garage Sale takes this pointer full scale.  This particular garage sale is advertised for weeks on end on multiple radio and TV stations.
  • Be ready to go. The day before, set up a staging area where you can store your goods for easy distribution the next morning.
  • Make sure you get plenty of change. It’s an unnecessary hassle to have to send someone to chase down change in the middle of your sale.
  • Get things rolling early on sale day. Early birds can make or break your sale.
  • Be prepared to haggle. Folks come to garage sales in search of great deals.  Have prices in mind, but give yourself enough room that you can bargain with costumers without giving your merchandise away.
  • Be friendly. This one’s just common sense.  Nobody wants to deal with a grouch.  Say hi, be chatty, and make your customers feel welcome.
  • Have fun! A garage sale isn’t just a way to make extra cash and get rid of unwanted clutter.  It’s a chance to meet a lot of people, hear lots of different stories, and maybe even make some new friends.
  • Remember, if you’re having fun, your customers will probably have fun, too.

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