Sunday, June 23, 2013

garage sale...attract a crowd and then negotiate for top dollar

Hope you all had an awesome weekend, and enjoyed some summer fun!
Woo hoo!
People hauled away our junk and paid us for it, aka Garage Sale.
It was a big success and it feels so good to have lightened our load! Between my friend and
 I we made close to $1,000, I'm telling you that so you can decide if it's worth your time to go
the extra mile. My philosophy is if you're going to the trouble you might as well do it well,
 and make some moola!
Here are my tips for attracting a crowd and negotiating for top dollar.
(I'm assuming you know the common tips: all your items should be priced, clean, and well organized.)  


1. I emailed a few friends a couple weeks prior asking if they'd like to cash in on our traffic
 and have one the same day - we ended up with four sales within just a couple blocks.

2. All four of us put up signs - you couldn't miss them if you tried!
Put out signs the morning before sale day. Keep a consistent look for all of your signs.
I like to borrow real estate signs and put them in front of my house and on the corners.

Keep your junk merchandise at a level that allows buyers to touch and feel it
without bending down on the ground.
For tables I like these large trash bins (I use for storing outdoor Christmas decor)
 topped with extra pieces of plywood I had in the garage.


1. Don't open your gate on time, allow an extra 5-10 minutes for people to
start forming a little crowd, it makes everyone driving by all the more intrigued!
(While they're waiting do some last minute pricing.)
No gate? Use a piece of construction tape or rope across your driveway.

2. Make sure they have something enticing to look at while they're waiting!
I always set up a 'room' at the end of the driveway, it's what people see when they're driving
 by and deciding whether or not to stop. I wasn't selling the wicker settee from my back deck,
 but wanted it to complete the vignette - I just put a 'SOLD' sign on it.

The fresh flowers on the coffee table are a nice touch in a vase for sale, I ran inside and
 grabbed them. We tied the large piece of artwork to the pole from the basketball hoop.


1. First make your junk look high end. All of this appears much nicer on a white table
 cloth vs. a bare table. Use pretty baskets to corral like items.
 Take the few extra seconds to make it look pretty.
I caved and brought something back in, totally against the rules of a successful purge,
 but my friend gifted me with that brass Pottery Barn deer. :) 

This iron flower stand wasn't for sale, but it set the scene for selling everything else,
faux flowers, shutters, and the bench.

2. After it's been styled to look worth the price here are my favorite
win-win lines when they're offering less than you're hoping for:

"I'm so sorry I'm selling that for my friend and she wanted closer to full price,
would $___ work?"

"I'd be happy to negotiate later in the day, but right now I need closer to full price,
would $____ work?

"I'd be happy to negotiate tomorrow if it doesn't sell today, if you'd like to stop back and check."

"I'm so sorry I just lowered the price on that, but if you'd like to stop by
later I may be able to go lower."

You get the idea, you want them to leave feeling good about a slight price reduction,
 and they will if you've make it a good experience. And, they'll likely return for your next sale!


1. Do it with a friend that makes you laugh!
2. Invite all your neighborhood friends and over for beer and pizza, to reminisce
about the interesting 'customers' and events of the day. After all have GS'd all day
they'll just be happy not to have to cook dinner and their expectations for food and a
 clean house will be sooooo low!!

Hope these tips were helpful,
 good luck with your sales this summer!


Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

way to go! what are you going to use your earnings on? ;)

Julia Konya said...

You are awesome!!! Love the sold sign on the whicker settee and the tips on how to sell for top dollars. I can't believe you almost made 1000.

Nancy {at} powellbrower at home said...

spectacular job Pam! great tips and it looks like a fantastic sale. Our neighborhood hasn't been great for garage sales..the houses are too far apart and people never make it to my end of the cul de sac, so these tips about marketing and getting a few houses to cooperate on the same day really help. Thanks for sharing, and hope you take the day off today!
xo Nancy

Andrea said...

Those are great tips. What a smart move to use the settee and put a sold sign on it. I normally hate having a garage sale, but you made it look fun.

stephanie said...

Such great tips Pam! Most of which I never heard before!! Good ideas and thanks for sharing ...enjoy your windfall!

Cathy Wall said...

Good for you! Now you have funding for your DIY projects and a cleared out house! Great tips too!

Kim said...

Great tips and you are so right ... your sale looked like an outdoor boutique not a table piled so high folks don't even want to look!! Glad it was successful!! xo

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Pam, you make a yard sale look like fun especially the party afterwards.

Alpha & Omega Design Team said...

Have to make the 'ole dreaded yard sales look fun! Loved your ideas...thanks for sharing!

Dana Frieling said...

I wouldn't expect anything less. Certainly, your garage sale would be the prettiest around. True talent that makes junk look like go girl! said...

I had a yard sale this weekend too. Mine did not look nearly as pretty, but have to say that I think I had a very different demographic. They didn't want anything that cost more $1.00. I did have a friend with me, so that made the people watching entertaining. Love your after party idea! said...

I had a yard sale this weekend too. Mine did not look nearly as pretty, but have to say that I think I had a very different demographic. They didn't want anything that cost more $1.00. I did have a friend with me, so that made the people watching entertaining. Love your after party idea!

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said...

Fabulous tips! It looked like a boutique!
"Negotiating tips...the best!

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

You are a professional GSer!! So impressive, all your lovely little touches! I cannot believe you and your friend made closet to $1000!!!!! Congrats!!! The last one I had, which took a ton of work, yielded $80 - not worth the effort at all - but you are inspiring me to try it again and incorporate your tips! I have been selling things on my Facebook yard sale but a real live one might be necessary this summer.

Calypso In The Country said...

Pam, I am so impressed! You made your garage sale look like a cute little boutique! I bet your customers loved stopping by! We aren't allowed to have garage sales in our neighborhood but I am going to use some of your tips this summer at my in-law's beach house. In their town, they have a town wide garage sale each year. The only problem is that people are looking for major deals and have so many houses to choose from. Love your ideas!

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said... did great...your garage sale looked more like a boutique!

Leslie said...

Wow! Nicely done Pam! We need to do one .. things are accumulating and it's time for a purge. My girlfriend just had one and sold a bunch. Definitely worth while if you take the time to do it right. xxL

Alexa said...

Such great tips! It can be overwhelming throwing a garage sale!

Kimberly Lemmon said...

Pam this is so smart. I never would have thought to "stage" a garage sale, but it makes sense. I have been thinking about doing one this fall with my mom. I know I'll be referring back to these tips!

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles said...

I'm pretty sure that yours is the nicest garage sale I've ever seen! Growing up, my Mom always insisted that we cover the tables first (with sheets or whatever) and it drove me crazy, but she was right! Now we cover the tables every time too. And pricing is a MUST! I can't stand a sale where nothing is priced! Glad you had a successful day, and good decision to keep the deer!

Vel Criste said...

Your a real pro Pam!!! love all the tips especially those 'lines', very subtle and discrete! Wish I lived close by, I proabably would've scored a lot, especially that gorgeous coffeetable!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Great tips and your garage sale items don't look like junk to me!

Unknown said...

Thank you for letting me participate. You are truly a garage sale, marketing genius! The tables were so nicely styled that it looked like a boutique sale. Your beautiful house and yard were also a huge draw. Ninety-nine percent of the customers asked if your home was for sale! Learning from such a sweet mentor is the best!

Elisa of Fancy Free Me said...

Great tips! I can't remember where I saw it, but someone made free cupcakes for their yard sale. I love how you styled everything!

Katie {Miss Dixie} said...

gosh you are the most clever woman! You have the best tips and I love the idea for a sold sign on something not for sale. hehe :)

Danielle said...

Great tips! So glad you made so much. Our moving sale was super successful too!

Brandi said...

These are all really great tips, Pam. I've always wanted to have a garage sale, but instead end up donating our stuff or tossing it. So glad you had such a successful one. The party at the end with your neighbors looks like a lot of fun!

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