7 Ways To Turn Your Garage Sale Into A Moneymaker from Consumer Reports

May 13, 2013 -- 4:36pm

7 Ways To Turn Your Garage Sale Into A Moneymaker from Consumer Reports

1. Find out whether you need a permit. A few weeks out, contact your municipal offices about the need for a permit. The fee is typically only a few dollars. Also ask about any restrictions on where you can post signs for your sale.

2. Get the word out. If you can post signs, make enough directional signs no bigger than 15x15 inches on hot-pink poster board. They should simply read "Sale" and include your address and an arrow pointing the way to your home. Check them in advance of the day of the garage sale to make sure they haven't blown away, been covered by someone, or damaged. Go through your stuff. There's a good chance you've forgotten about a $20 bill you slipped into a jacket pocket or keepsakes in drawers. Make sure there isn't any vitally important information, say an active credit cards in a purse or private data on a hard drive.

3. If you think an object is valuable, do some research online or get it appraised. If you've ever watched PBS' "Antiques Roadshow," you know that that one person's junk can become another lucky person's loot. Don't let that happen to yourself.

4. Start the sale on Thursday or Friday. And kick things off early—say, 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.—to ensure that you'll get the going-to-work and driving-the-kids-to-school crowd. Continue the sale over the weekend. Be sure to follow any town ordinances on start and stop times, and be sensitive to your neighbors.

5 . Don't put a price tag on merchandise. You'll probably make more money if you just ask customers what they're willing to pay.

6. Be friendly and welcoming. People are less likely to buy from you if you're ignoring them. Greet shoppers to your garage sale and be available to answer questions and negotiate. That means keeping your head out of your e-reader and avoiding yapping on the phone when people stop by to peruse your wares.

7. Think about security. Your house should be locked during the garage sale. Keep your money and a phone with you at all times. (Be sure that your till is stocked with plenty of small bills and change.) People with counterfeit bills sometimes turn up at garage sales, so try not to accept big bills. And don't bother chasing after someone who shoplifts.

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