Garage Sales Are Fun!

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Families need to do things together. Just visiting garage sales can be fun for the family, and having your own garage sale can bring in some needed cash. In  this lesson, we will show you how to have a garage sale and even how to put you in the business. You can use the money for your needs, such as an education fund,  or you can donate it to charity.


The Lesson:
Saturday Morning
Taylor Jones


The garage sales open at seven,
So we get up at six.
We eat a hearty breakfast,
Then jump into the truck.


With newspaper in hand,
And watching for garage sale signs,
We zip around our little town
Looking for that gold mine.


Perhaps we’ll find a new gold watch
That only cost a buck.
We might find a first edition of the Bible
If we have a little luck.


We always fill the truck to the top.
From seven ’til noon, we never stop.
Then we sort our treasures in our yard.
Now, that wasn’t all that hard.


But what can we do  with all this junk?
Why did we buy that Chinese junk?
Well, no problems come our way.
We’ll sell it ourselves next Saturday.


The Garage Sale is a social institution.

The garage sale is the big thing in our small town. What else is there to do on a Saturday morning? Most of the garage sales are simply a one time thing, but some of them are actually small businesses and the owners keep them maintained in a permanent location such as their basement, barn or garage. It’s an important source of income to them.


Families often join together for yard sales.


We have edited and reproduced an article  here to help you have a more successful yard sale. JUST SCROLL DOWN TO THE ARTICLE. The children’s story follows the article. CLICK HERE  to go directly to the children’s story.




Pick almost any city or town in the country, drive through any middle class neighborhood or residential area on the weekend, and you’re sure to spot at least a half dozen garage sales.


What’s being sold at these garage sales?


It is the accumulated junks that people no longer use or want taking up space.


Are they making any money with these garage sales?


It’s not at all uncommon to make $600 with a weekend garage sale.


Is it hard to put on a profitable garage sale?


Well, yes and no.  It takes some of your time, and it also requires an awareness of a few merchandising tactics.  But the problems in running a successful garage sale are small in comparison to the profits.


Who are the buyers, and how do you get them to come to your garage sale?


Your customers are going to be everybody, and you get them over to your garage sale with advertising and promotion.


Let’s look at the background:  


Everybody accumulates the kind of garage sale item that other people are searching for and are willing to buy.


These items range from no longer wanted or outgrown items of clothing to furniture, tools, knickknacks, books, pictures and toys.


Many garage sale items are objects of merchandise purchased on impulse, and later found to be not what the buyer wanted.  It was discovered that he or she really didn’t have a use for it, or no longer had a need for it.


Many items found at garage sales are gifts that have been given to the seller, but are the wrong size or incorrect choice for the recipient.


You can generate an enterprise of an ongoing garage sale.


You might sell some items donated and collected from people who lack the inclination to put on garage sales of their own. You take a percentage of their sales. Some of these items may be those you purchased at other garage sales or that you dug out of grandmothers barn.


Step one is education:


Visit the garage sales, swap meets and flea markets in your area.  Find out what’s being offered for sale, what people are buying, and how the merchandise is being sold.


Generally an item is tagged with a price, but the seller is open to almost any reasonable offer from the customer.  Another thing you want to make mental note of is the way the merchandise is displayed, and how the customers are allowed to browse.


You start your own garage sale by cleaning out your own basement, attic, closets and garage.


Talk to your relatives and friends; tell them what you’re going to do and ask them for donations of no longer used or unwanted items.  It’s here that you’ll get your first experience in negotiating and finally, an agreement for you to display and sell other people’s merchandise for a percentage of the sales price.


You’ll find people explaining that they really don’t have a use for a specific item or they really don’t want to keep storing it, but because of sentimental reasons just hate to give it away. Once you’ve had a little experience with this type of seller, you will be able to advertise in the newspaper that you buy garage sale items, or take them on consignment for a percentage of the final sales price.


The advertising angle is really quite simple.


Does your local radio station take calls for yard sales or for items for sale? Call them.


You should run an ad in your area shopper newspaper for about three days in advance of, and up through the day of your sale.


But in getting started, go with small classified ads simply announcing your garage sale, emphasizing major items with cost and major categories.


To get ideas on how to write your ad, check your news pa per and cut out all the garage sale ads you can find and tape them on a piece of paper.  Then, with a bit of critical analysis, you’ll be able to determine how to write a good ad of your own by determining the good and the bad in the ads you’ve collected.


Something to remember:  


The bigger and better your sale, the bigger and better your “getting started” ads should be.  And the secret to obtaining outstanding garage sale profits is in having the widest or largest selection of merchandise.


You should have made an old-fashioned sandwich board sign to display in front of your house when your garage sale is open for business.  This will pull in your neighbors, if you haven’t already informed them, and attract the people driving by.


Sandwich boards are sometimes set out at key traffic intersections not far from the site of the garage sale, to attract attention and point the way.  (Check local ordinances to see if this is permitted in your area.)


Be sure to check your local ordinances before you start nailing signs to power poles.


Search out and use all the free bulletin boards in your area.


It’s better, and usually much more profitable, to take the time to make up an attention grabbing circular you can post on these bulletin boards. An 8.5″ x11″ poster made on your computer should suffice. Always answer the questions where? what? when?


Inside secrets for maximum profits.


First, call attention to your sale.


Don’t be shy, bashful or self-conscious about letting everybody for miles about know that you’re having a garage sale.  Some sharp operators do the next best thing to having the Goodyear blimp overhead: They rent miniature blimps, send them up above the housetops, and tether them there on their sale days.  Of course this giant balloon or miniature blimp has some sort of sign on the side of it, inviting people to your garage sale!  This is one of the strongest available advertising ideas for pulling “traffic” to a sale of any kind.  For more details, write to Pie-In-The-Sky Company, PO Box 5267, San Mateo, CA 94402.


Second, you have to give your sale some flair.


Put some posts up across the front of your property and run some twisted crepe paper between them.  Even better than crepe paper, run brightly colored ribbons.  Invest in some colorful pennants and fly them from temporary flagpoles.  And don’t forget the balloons!


Make your garage sale a fun kind of event with clusters of balloons anchored to your display tables and racks.  Be sure to “float” them well above the heads of your customers as they are browsing through your merchandise displays.


Cover your display tables with colorful cloths.  Don’t hesitate to use bright colors with busy patterns.  Regardless of what you sell, effective display is still predominantly essential!


Take time to organize your displays.


You cannot “dump” items haphazardly on a table, sit down, and expect to realize great profits.  The people doing the most business – making the most sales – are the ones with interesting displays, action and color.


Try to have as wide a selection of colors as possible in your clothing racks, and mix them for a rainbow effect.


Make sure that your jewelry items shine and sparkle.  Arrange them in and with jewelry boxes, jewelry ladders and other items sold for the purpose of showing off jewelry while keeping it neatly organized.  (And keep your eye on it. There are thieves at every garage sell.)


We know one lady that regularly arranges jewelry items in a battery operated lazy susan.  Seeing this jewelry slowly turning on the lazy susan never fails to draw attention.


Think about it, and then study the methods of display used by “rack jobbers” in the stores in your area.  These are the wire racks that usually hold card-packaged items.  This kind of display rack would lend itself beautifully for anchoring a cluster of balloons.  Keep these things in mind, and build your individual displays as part of the whole; make it pleasing to the eye as well as convenient for your customers to browse through and select the items that appeal to them.


Get an eye grabber.


Look for some kind of interesting and unusual item to call attention to your sale—something you can set up or park in front of your home during your sale.


Some of the displays we’ve seen along these lines include a horse-drawn surrey, a restored Model T or an old farm plow.  But anything of an unusual and interesting nature will do the trick for you.


One couple we know put up a display using a mannequin dressed in an old-time farm bonnet, long dress and apron.  The display depicted a farm woman of old, washing clothes with a scrub board and two steel wash tubs.  You have to believe this drew crowds and made people talk!


Try to be distinctive.


Wherever your imagination takes you, you have to be different and distinctive, or you’ll get lost in the hundreds of garage sales going on all around you.  If you’ll take the time to employ a bit of imagination and set your sales up with the kind of flair we’ve been talking about, you’ll not just draw the crowds, you’ll end up being the one holding the most profits.




It’s a compulsion of many women to go shopping, to search for interesting and sometimes rare and valuable items.  This fact alone will keep you as busy as you’ll ever want to be – staging and holding garage sales.  The market is so vast, and the appetite so varied, that anything from a brass bedstead to a used diary of somebody’s long-for-gotten grandmother will sell, and sell fast at garage sales.  Put it all together, use a little imagination and you’ll easily make all the money you want!


 For The Children
Paco looked out the window. It was a school holiday and it was raining. “Mom, what can I do? It’s raining.”
His little sister, Regina, said, “What are we going to do, Paco? We can’t go out in this rain.”
Mother came into the room. “Well, children, I have an idea. Why don’t you go up to your rooms and get your old clothing and toys. Then go out into the garage and see what is there that we can sell at a garage sale next Saturday. We will take the money we earn and go out to dinner and to a movie. Won’t that be fun?”
This made the children very happy and they ran off to their rooms.
Paco found an old train in his room that he never used anymore. Regina found a dress that didn’t fit her anymore. The children gathered up the items and brought them downstairs. Then they went into the garage and found some more items they could sell, including some of Daddy’s tools.
When Daddy came home from work, he pushed the auto door opener and saw  the  children in the garage. There were things everywhere and Daddy could not drive into the garage. He parked in the driveway and ran from the car into the garage. He was all wet and not too happy. He said, “What are you kids up to now? Clean this mess up so I can get the car out of the rain.”
Regina said, “Daddy, we are having a garage sale on Saturday. The car will have to stay in the driveway. It needs a good washing anyway.”
Father laughed. “So that’s what you are up to! I guess that was your idea, Paco.”
Mother came into the garage from the house. “Actually, it was my idea. The kids needed something to do. We are going to take the money we earn and go out to dinner and to a movie.”
On Saturday, the sun was shining and many people came to the garage sale. Paco said, “What are we going to do with the extra money? We have much more than we need for dinner and a movie.”
Regina’s big brown eyes sparkled. “I know what we can do with the extra money. We can buy some  paint and paint Mrs. Green’s porch. She gave me a cookie yesterday and said that she would like to paint the porch, but that she would have to wait until her ship came in. I don’t think she has a ship. She just doesn’t have enough money for paint.”
Mother beamed. “Why that’s a wonderful idea, Regina. You are so thoughtful. Don’t you think so, Daddy?”
Daddy answered, “I’m  proud of you, Regina, for being so considerate. We will buy the paint and next Saturday we will paint Mrs. Green’s porch. Won’t that be fun, Paco?”
Paco laughed. “Well, I was going to suggest that we buy a fishing boat.”
Daddy smiled. “That sounds like a good idea too, Regina.”
Regina gave them a look  that would make an ostrich dig two holes for it’s head instead of one.
While Mother was laughing, Paco said, “Oh, we’ll be painting Mrs. Green’s  porch next Saturday, Regina.”
Daddy said, “Well, we can have another garage sale some time for the fishing  boat.”
The next Saturday, they painted Mrs. Green porch. Can you guess what color they painted it?
Copyright©2002-2012 by John Taylor Jones, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


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