Need some garage sale tips? Having a yard sale (or “jumble sale” as they are called in the UK) is a great way to raise some money for your grassroots cause, school, church, or local organization.
Reselling items that are unwanted to people who do want them not only works for fundraising, it is good for the environment. Far too many usable items get thrown in the dumpster when it is not necessary.
By having a garage sale, you can have a win-win for everyone. Your members can get rid of things they no longer need, clearing up clutter in the home. You can help the environment by keeping those items out of a landfill. And, you can raise money for your beloved cause or organization.
What a great way to help everyone!
Garage Sale, Yard Sale, or Estate Sale?
Technically, a garage sale is a sale that is done out (or in front of) a garage, and a yard sale is in a yard. But these days, if you say garage sale or yard sale, most people in America know that you are talking about a sale of used items.
Garage sales are not the same thing as “estate sales.” An “estate sale” can take place in or outside of a garage, but generally, these sales are for bigger ticket items. They are often done when someone dies or is moving, and they want to sell all of the furniture and decorative items in a home.
Thus, these garage sale tips aren’t really applicable to a higher end estate sale.
Why Have a Garage Sale?
A garage sale can be a quick and easy way to generate funds and sponsors for fundraising fast. You can also get your members involved with the sale by having people contribute their own items, thus having one big sale.
People really like garage sales, so when you give one, you are generating some goodwill in the community. It is a way for people to get to know your organization or your cause in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
You can communicate with people one on one, making new connections and generating more community. Garage sales are more personal than using something like eBay to resell stuff.
Garage Sale Tips
Here are some tips to make your fundraising garage sale a huge success!
1. Pick a Good Location
The location you choose for your “garage” sale will have an important impact on its success. Obviously, you do not want to have the sale at someone’s home that is far away from town and hard to access.
If you are raising money for a group with an existing location, such as a church, then a convenient place for the garage sale would perhaps be the church parking lot.
2. Be Open Early
While you might not like getting up at 5 am, the fact is, some of the most experienced garage sales aficionados are early risers. You may get some of the biggest sales before 8 am.
The people who show up later are likely the people who were not looking for a garage sale and just happened to stumble on it by accident.
3. Price Things to Sell
Don’t overprice things thinking this will gain you more money. Put reasonable prices on your items so that people will buy them. You can leave a little wiggle room in there for negotiation, so the price could be dropped a bit to please the buyer. But, overall, keep the prices reasonable. You do not want to be left with a bunch of leftover junk that you must then take to Goodwill.
4. Have Prices Clearly Labeled
Having prices on items will help speed things along as well as encourage people to purchase things. Use labels that can easily peel off. You do not want to ruin items with excessively sticky tape or permanent labels.
5. Set Up a Nice Display
Don’t just throw everything on a table in a jumble (even if it is called a “jumble sale”). Take some time to organize your items for sale so they are easy to find, look at, and admire.
6. Group Items in a Way That Makes Sense
Put all the women’s clothes in one area, the children’s toys in another, and CDs and records in another area. This will make it easy for people to find things as well as buy multiple items if they are looking for them.
7. Make Sure Items Are Clean
If you are having people donate their items to a group garage sale, make sure they clean them beforehand. If a few items are still dirty, this makes it easier on the volunteers running the garage sale. Either way, when items are put up for sale they should be free of dust, grime, and dirt.
8. Have Multiple Volunteers
Don’t try to run the garage sale with just one or two people. Try to have enough people so that everyone has a chance to take a break and rest.
9. Assign Duties to Volunteers
This is especially important during setup. Some of your volunteers are responsible for certain things and your garage sale will run more smoothly. One volunteer is responsible for pricing and labeling. Another be responsible for organizing where things go, etc.
10. Don’t Forget to Put Signs Up
Your garage sale won’t go very well if you do not have signs up in the neighborhood. The signs should be legible, with the address, and clear markers to indicate where to go.
11. Post Your Garage Sale on Craigslist
It used to be that if you wanted to advertise your garage sale, you would buy an ad in the classifieds section of the local newspaper. Now, you should post your garage sale notice on Craigslist. Also look into advertising your upcoming garage sale on other social media sites like Facebook and Nextdoor.
12. Put the Animals Away
Whether you are having a garage sale at someone’s home or in the parking lot of your organization, keep large dogs and other potentially scary animals away from the sale. Some people are allergic to animals and others may have phobias.
Of course, if make your nonprofit stand out is an animal shelter or other sorts of animal welfare organization, you may want some animals around. However, likely, if you are running an animal shelter, you know exactly what to do to keep your animals safe and contained (likely caged).
13. Have a Plan in Place for Big Items
Will you have large furniture items to sell? What about a car or truck? You should have strategies and policies in place beforehand, so you aren’t stuck figuring out what to do with a customer.
With furniture, will you have volunteers who are willing to deliver items for customers? This could be a nice add-on service for an additional donation.
14. What Forms of Payment Will You Accept?
Most garage sales take cash only, but you might be equipped to take credit card payments using a portable card reader. Being able to take credit cards means you will be able to get more impulsive sales.
If you are willing to take checks, then you can advertise that as well. Just be aware that there is a danger of checks bouncing.
15. Have a Plan for Unsold Stuff
Once you are done with the garage sale, do you have a plan for what you will do with the unsold stuff? Some organizations have enough storage space that they can keep stuff around in storage and re-use it for the next garage sale.
16. Make Sure You Check Your Local Laws
Garage sales are generally done under the table. That is, states or local governments typically do not collect sales taxes on sales from garage sales. Nor do they usually require permits.
However, if you are doing the garage sale under the official guise of an organization, you may need to follow the law a bit more. This means that what you make at the garage sale may need to be handled a certain way by bookkeeping.
You may also need a permit to have the sale. This may be especially true if you are hosting the garage sale on the zoned property, such as the aforementioned church parking lot. This is no doubt one of the most important garage sale tips to follow.
17. Did It Go Well? Consider Making It an Annual Thing
If your garage sale went well, especially if you followed our garage sale tips, you might be able to make it an annual event. By doing that, your members will save up stuff every year for your garage sale.
Garage Sale Tips: Final Thoughts
We hope you enjoyed our garage sale tips. Check out the rest of our unique fundraiser ideas website for more helpful content on raising money for your favorite cause