The Anatomy of a Great Summer Garage Sale

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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Before embarking on the task of a throwing a garage sale (though we've broken it down for you this summer, it's still a lot of work!), it's wise to look at what makes a great, successful garage sale. If you don't think you can check something off the list, you might consider holding off on your sale until better timing. Here's our list of what we think makes a garage sale great.

Know why you're throwing a garage sale
What's your end goal? Is it to make as much money as possible? Is it to get rid of as much stuff as possible? Both those goals have different motivations and could affect how you price and negotiate sales. Know which is more important to you before you open shop.

Location location location
We've spoken before about how important the location is of your garage sale, and really we're just underscoring it. Don't waste a lot of time and energy on a sale that you can't get people to come to or find. Really consider this step before moving forward with planning.

Good inventory
A couple of cat books and a handful of old curlers does not make for a great garage sale! It might be smart to get an inventory assessment going of what you think you could sell before you even start the ball rolling to see if you truly have enough to hold a garage sale!

Patience to persevere and an attention to detail
Cutting corners will only cut into your profits. We've spoken about the important of pricing everything individually and doing a little bit of research so you know how to price things. We also think you should put some thought into how you display your wares. Consider how stores lay out their products. Put the best items out front and easy to see. Think about having small, impulsive buy items (like jewelry) near where folks pay for last minute sales.

Willingness to get the word out
Good marketing is often creative and well-thought out. It's placing your garage sale information as effectively as you can. And being willing to get a little crafty and eye-catching with your physical marketing, and placing plenty of signs pointing the way to your sale. And a big pile of items with a "Free" sign and handing out free cookies or lemonade to entice folks to your sale.

Plenty of help
Even with all the time to prepare in the world, you still might need help on the days of the sale. In fact, we're pretty sure you will. If you don't have a spouse, roommate or old enough kiddo, rope a friend into helping — display items, answer buyer questions on the sale day, etc. — and offer to repay the help when they have their next sale!

What do you think makes a great garage sale? What would you add to this list? Share in the comments below!

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Visit the Guide to the Perfect Summer main page for links to all of the posts published so far or sign up to have them delivered directly to you each weekend.

(Image credits: Christi's Creative & Crafty Austin Apartment; Janel Laban)

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Adrienne photographs beautiful homes in and around her home base of Austin, Texas. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine and spends all her free time exploring small town Texas. She watches a lot of Star Trek.