Garage Sale Survival Tips
by Deborah Shelton -

Spring cleaning fever has hit, and you know what that means: Garage sale time! Don't let those boxes stacked in the corner overwhelm you. Garage sales don't have to be a hassle. Before you Decide to display your wares in the driveway however, ask yourself why you're having the sale. Do you just want to get rid of the clutter? If so, donating to the Salvation Army or a local church is probably best. If your goal is to make some extra cash while finally getting a chance to meet the neighbors that you've lived next door to for five years, then maybe a garage sale is your best bet. Here are 10 simple ways to make your garage sale a hassle-free success.

Advertise and they will come. Most small community newspapers offer free garage sale notices, so take advantage of that. If possible, organize a multi-family sale and list a few of the items that will be available. If deed restrictions in your neighborhood allow it, handwritten "bandit" signs posted in the area will attract more people. Please remember to keep the neighborhood beautiful by removing the signs when your sale is over! 

The more, the merrier. People are more likely to shop at your sale if there is a crowd gathered. This is another reason multi-family sales work so well. If you're hosting your own sale, ask friends and family to stop by and help out. Their presence will spark interest for the passers-by and their help will come in handy when the "real" crowd shows up. 

Cha ching! Be reasonable about pricing. As proud as you and your mother are of the still-life bowl of fruit you painted in the eighth grade, no one will give you $200 for it. If you can't bear to see it sold for less, then keep it in the house.

Pennies belong in the piggybank. Don't give items small price amounts such as a nickel or quarter because it's too much change to deal with. Instead, group low-priced items together such as paperback books 4 for $1, or silverware 4 for $1.

Hey--can I borrow your label maker? Instead of pricing each and every marble and knickknack, groups same-priced objects together and use a general price sign.

Piles and aisles. A table display that is too neat and organized will make people feel uncomfortable about rifling through your goods. You don't want the display to be too disorganized either. Potential customers may think it's just a pile of junk and keep driving to the next sale. Find a happy medium.

Don't forget the early bird. Even if your sale officially opens at 9 in the morning, make sure to at least have the higher-priced items such as appliances, baby strollers, carriers, etc,. out at around seven. That's when the professional garage sale shoppers claim their booty. You don't want to miss out.

Of course it works! Always have at least one extension cord available for testing appliances. Veteran garage salers won't take your word that a 10-year-old vacuum works as good as the day you bought it. 

Seeing is believing. If at all possible, hang clothes on a rack or fence so they can be easily viewed from the street. Avoid crumpled piles. If you have really nice clothes (no stains or holes), take them to a consignment shop to get back a little what you paid for them.

Your trash will not be your treasure. If you still have leftovers near the end of the sale, put everything into a "FREE" box. Nothing goes back into the house!

Deborah Shelton is the author of The Five Minute Parent: Fun & Fast Activities for You and Your Little Ones. Visit The Five Minute Parent for fun rainy-day activities, family links, and a free email newsletter filled with project ideas, guest articles, contests and so much more! 

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