Big Money Garage Sales

by Cathy Pedigo of

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I once had a friend tell me jokingly that her family moved every five years on purpose; it was the only way they knew how to clean out all the junk they had accumulated over the years. There was only one flaw in her logic as I could see it. They would throw everything away that wasn't important to them anymore, and to me, it was like throwing away hundreds of dollar bills!.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of garage sales I have gone to are poorly put together. To put it bluntly, they're messy, unattractive, and the organizers (if you can call them that) are not maximizing their potential!

I'm married and the mother of two children. In addition to this, I wanted to supplement our family income without working outside the home, so I began to have garage sales. In the beginning, I was interested in making a little money. The first garage sale I ever had, that's exactly what happened. I made a little money! After all the work of preparing and setting up, I was frustrated when it was over. There had to be a way to increase my sales and income. So, through trial and error and practical methods, I finally became consistent in making over $1,000 during a garage sale on little ticket items!

Before that, I barely ever went to garage sales, because I couldn't stand the look of them. It always looked like someone had taken the oldest, ugliest stuff they had and thrown it down in disarray all over their driveway and garage. This is not the way your garage sale should look, if you want it to be successful. Your sale has to be different than the "typical garage sale." After scouring each room in my home, I couldn't believe how much stuff I came up with. There was no way this was all going to fit into my two-car garage unless I did some organizing! That's how I learned how to come up with a great garage layout that truly improves sales.

Through trial and error, I found out how to prepare a winning newspaper advertisement that would draw three times the people that would come on just a normal three-line ad. One of the most crucial things to remember is that your ad is everything, so don't penny pinch and make it too short. The longer your ad is the better! You'll get hundreds more interested people that way. Another important tip is that the way you create your garage sale signs will attract a much larger amount of people.

Garage sales are fun, too! You get to meet all sorts of different people that you probably never would've met before. (Including some of your neighbors!) I really love the people that come and take one look and say, "What a pleasure this is! I've never seen a garage sale that was this organized before!" Do you think they'll want to buy more because of that? You better believe it!

Garage sales can be a fantastic supplemental income for you. Who would have believed it 21 years ago as I tried my first miserable garage sale? If I could do it, then there's hope for everyone!

Consider the following successful methods and selling strategies for a big money garage sale:

1. Inventory

To have a successful garage sale, you must have stuff to sell! Have you ever gone to a garage sale and the person has hardly anything in their garage? Oh, maybe they had a few items of clothing, some knickknacks, ratty looking toys and appliances. What did you think? You were probably saying, "You mean I wasted my time and gas to come to this thing?"

Principle One: Have enough stuff to make it worth your while and the buyer's.

Before you have a garage sale, attack every room of your house for items that you don't need or want. Don't throw anything away! What's trash to you is treasure to someone else.

Principle Two: If you don't have enough stuff, then go to other garage sales and find bargains.

Buy these bargains for pennies and re-price them to sell for dollars! Some people will sell good books for a nickel or a dime; buy them and then sell paperbacks for 50 cents and hardbacks for $1 or more.

2. Pricing

Pricing can be a touchy area but remember your focus. You are having a garage sale to make money, not just to give your stuff away. This is one mistake many garage sale organizers make.

Principle Three: Do not under price your items. Mark your items high enough that there is still room for "dealing."

In any garage sale, a price tag can be negotiable if a buyer thinks the item is too high and you're willing to come down. But, if their offer is too low, just say, "I'm sorry. I can't go that low at this time." How much do you ask for an item?

Principle Four: If the item is in good condition, charge half price for it.

3. Labeling

Have you ever gone to a garage sale and you can't find the size or price on their clothing? On each item you have to ask, "What size is this? How much are you asking for it?" After a while you get frustrated and just leave.

Principle Five: Have all items clearly priced and labeled.

Principle Six: Do not use masking tape. Instead, use self-sticking labels.

Principle Seven: Print legibly and place label in clear view.

4. The Ad

There is unlimited potential and power in advertisement. This is a major step, if not the major step, to a successful garage sale. Even if you do everything else right, but you leave out your "marketing strategy," you will forfeit great profits! You ad should start one to two days before your sale.

Principle Eight: Make your ad stand out by making it longer.

Make your ad two to three times longer than most other ads. People will think that it's going to be worth their trip when they see you have an abundance of items. Plus, they will visually grab your ad first since it is longer. Do you know buzzwords that will create curiosity?

5. Garage Sale Signs

How will people find your house? Have as many signs as there are corners to get to your house. Do you know what color psychologists say is the most powerful color?

Principle Nine: Your signs should stand out and be colorful.

6. Safeguards

While we want to trust people, we live in a world where we need to be on our guard. Do you feel uncomfortable being alone? If you are alone, what have researchers said about certain music? If you have expensive or valuable small items, where should you place them?

Principle Ten: Guard your cash box and never leave it unattended.

Cathy Pedigo is a homemaker and President of Winning Edge, a self-publishing business in Colorado Springs at If you would like to learn all of Cathy's big money garage sale secrets purchase the booklet How to Have Big Money Garage Sales at or by calling us toll free at 1-800-841-4248.

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