Ok so last Saturday I got up at 7am to leave to go to a Garage Sale that my step-mom, our friend Nancy, and I were hosting. So I'm going to share what does/doesn't make a garage sale successful since I'm essentially a guru now.
Step 1: Alert the Media
Find a scenic location with enough space that's neat enough to frequently used roads. Then post flyers, post on Craigslist, post on Facebook and Twitter, tell your friends... Pick a date and let the world know when the magical event is set to go down.
Step 2: Selecting Items to Sell
Imagine yourself as the new, proud owner of your very own Dollar Tree. Nothing sells for more or less than a dollar. Ok $5 at the most, but forget quarters and change. Only sell things you don't need and are willing to part with for a dollar.
Step 3: Partner Up.
The more successful garage sales have a LOT of items. Like a Dollar Tree they need to appeal to a wide audience -not just a man/woman like you but to kids and elderly and people of different ethnicity... try to get a variety going. Find a friend or 2 who has stuff to sell with the same philosophy you have about pricing and pair up.
Step 4: Set Up
NEON is your new best friend. Bright eye-blinding colors of orange and green and pink are your "Garage Sale" sign colors of choice. Then remember to use BOLD Black Sharpie that can easily be seen. Post the signs on main roads and lead the potential customers to the garage sale with arrows and bright colors rather than an address. Make the path easier to follow than Google maps...
Next set up tables before the desired "open" time for your garage sale. Never underestimate the earliness of the early riser. 7:30 or 8am is good. Tables should host similar items on them to make things easier for the customers.
As for your "seating area" -make sure you put your lawn chair as far away from the showcase areas as possible -like the register kept at the end of the store. You are there for people to come up to and purchase items from. DO NOT stalk people around as they check out your items. It's creepy.
DO NOT tell customers where you got the items from and what random stories you have associated with them. It implies your ownership of the item -not theirs. You WANT them to buy...
Step 5: Handling the Money
NEVER under any circumstances do you count the money in front of the customers. I don't care if you feel like a new millionaire and want to swim in the pile of $1 bills you now have -DON'T count it in front of people.
DO keep a "cash register" of some sort that will make it easy to store your money and keep the $10s away from the $5s and the $1s. Nice and organized.
Step 6: The Weather
Plan for a time when you know it's going to be sunny and warm out. ALWAYS remember to wear sun screen. It hurts when you don't, trust me...
Step 7: The Over-Achiever
If you really feel like going above and beyond and making this the best garage sale in the history of garage sales -place free snacks and drinks out for people to grab, like Costco. Remember to have a trash can nearby. also remember to have snacks and drinks for yourself so you're not constantly going back inside the house.
Decorate the tables. The flashier the better -remember NEON is your new friend. You want people to instantly know when they drive down your street where the garage sale is at.
Step 8: Have Fun
The more fun you have with it the warmer and more appealing you will be around people. Customers will feel comfortable coming up to you, paying you, and maybe stopping to chat with you. It's a great way to meet the neighbors and have the community come together. Enjoy the process. :)