What are the Best Tips for Organizing a Rummage Sale?

Malcolm Tatum

One of the key elements in the success of any rummage sale is choosing the right date for the event. In many places, this means a Saturday morning. However, it is important to consider local factors that may impact the ability of people to spend money at your yard sale. For example, if you know that many people in your community are paid at the first of the month, schedule your garage sale for the first Saturday of the month rather than at a later date. Holding the event just after people have been paid and have some extra cash in their pockets will greatly enhance the chances of selling more of your items.

Yard sale signs should direct customers to the proper site.
Yard sale signs should direct customers to the proper site.

Consider holding a joint event with your neighbors. While a single garage sale can be fun, getting several neighbors involved in what becomes a neighborhood sale is likely to attract a lot of attention. If people can basically park at one end of your street and then browse through six to eight rummage sales at one time, there is a better chance they will remain in the area long enough to come back for a second look before they leave. A second look could mean more sales for everyone.

Rummage sales often take place at a person's home.
Rummage sales often take place at a person's home.

One you know how many households are participating in the event, advertise your rummage sale. Many newspapers accept free ads for events of this nature. Also consider online message boards that are geared toward your local community. Call local radio stations and ask them to let people know about your sale. Don’t forget to make signs and display them on major thoroughfares in the area around your neighborhood.

Check with your local municipality about the need for a permit. While many communities require nothing in order for residents to hold a rummage sale, others require applying for a permit. If this is necessary, plan on displaying your permit in a prominent place during the sale. This will prevent you from having to pay fines that could cut into your profits significantly.

You also want to price your items to move quickly. Remember that your goal is not to become rich from the rummage sale, but to make room in your home for other things. The money is just an extra perk. Even with low prices, people are likely to want to haggle in hopes of getting a better bargain. Be prepared to do just that, since every item you sell is one less item that must go back into the house or be hauled off to a donation center.

Set up your rummage sale so there is some semblance of order. Group like items together on various tables and make sure shoppers can make their way completely around each display. Never leave items in boxes of toss them into a pile on a blanket. Garage sales where shoppers can get to items easily without bending over or having to wade through a pile of items usually are much more successful.

One aspect that even the best of planners often overlook is having plenty of change on hand. Yard sales seem to attract people who never bring change of their own, making it necessary for you to always have plenty of coins and smaller denominations of bills on hand. Go to the bank a day or two before the sale and stock up on plenty of change. Keep in mind you don’t have to keep all the change nearby during the sale. Set a fixed amount to keep handy and place the rest in a secure but easily accessible location in the house.

Last, make sure you have plenty of bags on hand. This will make it easier for customers to haul away all their purchased items with relative ease. You can make use of the plastic or paper bags collected from grocery shopping that have also been stuck back in a closet or in the basement, making even more room around the house.

Holding a rummage sale can be a great way to enjoy meeting new people, get rid of unwanted items, and make a little money at the same time. By planning your strategy properly and preparing in advance, your sale will be immensely successful on more than one level.

Most rummage sales take place on Saturday mornings.
Most rummage sales take place on Saturday mornings.

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