When most of us think “garage sale” we picture early summer days, when even at 6 am, shoppers are ready to leisurely browse in the balmy air. But if your spring cleaning happened early, why not take advantage of the off-season?
Garage sales are great ways to clear out the clutter and earn a little extra money. Here are some ways that you can make a garage sale a slam-dunk, even in the winter.
1: Check the Weather Forecast
Even in the worst winter, most of us are privileged to experience one or two sunny days. Getting items to and from the car will be a lot easier if there’s no precipitation. Especially if you have to put stuff outdoors the night before, you want to be sure that you pick the right weekend. So plan ahead, and be ready for surprises by keeping tarps on hand and having indoor spaces for your wares.
2: Move It Inside
For the most part, we picture garage sales happening primarily on the lawn and in the garage. However, wet grass, built-up snow, and inconvenient weather can make the classic garage sale model a nightmare. Instead, open up your whole garage, and parts of your house. Pick the room with the least clutter, and make it a staging area. You might even think about using a bigger space, like a church or warehouse and setting up something of a rummage sale with a lot of different contributors. Not only will you and your shoppers be more comfortable, but you’ll be able to charge more for your items, since the perceived value of something is always higher if it’s indoors.
Not as many people will be purposefully scanning for garage sales, so you’ll want to attract more foot traffic to your garage sale. Luckily, you have the advantage of being one of the only garage sales out there on any given weekend in February or March, so you can make the most of that. Adorn any major intersections near your house with signs. If you have most of the sale going on out of sight of the street, make sure to decorate your house with signs or balloons. Get the word out through contacts at local churches and schools. This article has some more ideas for advertising and for setting up a stress-free sale.
4: Be Payment-Savvy
Most people come to garage sales ready to pay in cash. However, you’ll hopefully draw in a few people who weren’t planning to garage sale that day. So be ready to take credit card payments. A while ago, that felt pretty impractical for someone to just set up over the weekend. However, now there are plenty of easy options that let anyone accept online payments from anyone else smart enough to have an account set up. You can get Square on your phone or iPad, or accept payments from Paypal or Venmo. Do your research beforehand and offer a few options for your shoppers whenever possible.
5: Buddy Up
Lots of people want to get rid of stuff in the winter. After all, being indoors for too long makes us all sick of the clutter. Plus, new acquisitions over the holidays may leave us needing to make some extra room. Talk with friends and families in the neighborhood and see if anyone wants to join your sale. You can easily triple your advertising efforts and instant appeal by saying that it’s a “three-family garage sale.” Having a couple of extra hands to help in your efforts doesn’t hurt either.
6: Get Creative about How You Sell
Let’s think for a second: garage sale doesn’t have to mean what it used to. Not in a digital age where we date, shop, and do our taxes all online. Try doing a garage sale online too! You can set up a Facebook community garage sale page and invite everyone you know. Ask people to invite their friends too. You can list your things on local personal ads sites, like Craigslist. There’s even a Facebook marketplace now where you can sell things one at a time. Here’s an article with more ideas for how you can host your own garage sale without even having to have a physical location set up.