Are you preparing to host a rummage sale? Regular readers may recall from past blogs that I generally host at least one or two rummage sales each year. It’s a generational thing that started with my grandparents, and I have vivid recollections of the sales my family would put together at my childhood home, usually once in late spring and once in early fall. Today I share with you 5 Behind the Scenes Rummage Sale Tips From a Pro Seller.

Now I have taken it upon myself to continue our family tradition, and after years of experience I humbly consider myself a rummage sale expert.

Yet even us old pros are open to learning new and valuable tips and every sale presents itself with new ideas and experiences that influence the next sale that follows. Having just finished a sale this last weekend and preparing part two this weekend, today I take a moment to remind you of some of the tips I’ve shared in the past and enlighten you with new insights I’ve discovered recently.

Putting together a successful sale involves hard work, and what I share will not only lighten the load a bit but assist you in making the most of what you have to offer.

Are planning to SHOP at upcoming sales? Be sure to check out my post here: Tips for Attending a Rummage Sale


5 Behind the Scenes Rummage Sale Tips From a Pro Seller

Use these tips to get the most sales from your rummage sale and make it a smashing success!

1.Welcome Early Birds and Late Comers

I’ve heard of same garage sale-ists who are ridiculously strict with their hours.

They open at 9AM, they close at 3PM.

No one is welcome a minute before or a minute after.

Come on, kids, you’re not WalMart. Not only do I let interested passers-by come a little early or sneak in a little late, I let them take a look while I’m setting up and while I’m tearing down. Of course, I’m not going to entertain the thought of waking up early to appease a 6:30AM early bird. But if I’m setting up at 7:30AM for an 8:00AM start time and someone stops by at 7:45AM wanting to browse, heck yeah. Grab your wallet, empty the loose change from your purse, and buy whatever you want.


2. Keep Original Price Tags Intact

This one is SO very important. If you have brand new items with the original price tags intact, this can really justify charging a little extra than you normally would.

For instance, I came across a small music box in one of my sales for which I anticipated asking a dollar or two, nothing more. Luckily, I turned it over and on the bottom was a $90.00 price tag. Yup! Needless to say, my asking price increased just a bit!

Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to print out asking prices you find on Amazon or eBay to help give you a little leverage. This is especially helpful with older, possibly antique and hard to find items. If the buyer realizes they’d be spending twice as much buying the same item online, they are apt to spend more even if it is at a garage sale.


3. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Items Away

I have learned over time how beneficial being charitable can be in the long run.

I now have at least two or three boxes near the front of the sale full of items that are FREE for the taking, particularly small toys and games that children will enjoy. Nothing is going to win you over more to a potential buyer than putting a a big smile on their children’s faces.

True, some people will just stop to look at what you’re giving away and leave, but the vast majority will visit the rest of your sale and might even buy that picture of owls playing chess you’ve been trying to sell for the last decade. Plus, money reasons aside, charity just makes you feel all warm and toasty inside. The smallest and insignificant item to you may be a treasure for someone else.


4. Rain is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Kids, the sale I had last weekend, for all intensive purposes, was a wash-out weather-wise (pun definitely intended). I knew there was rain in the forecast, but I certainly wasn’t anticipating 5 INCHES along with torrential winds and other forces of nature. It was a nightmare.

My initial thought was just to throw the towel in and spend the rest of the day emptying water from every conceivable item left outside, even under the tent we set up. But you know what, by late morning the rain had let up a bit and although there were puddles everywhere and the grass had turned to mud, I decided to open things up and see what happened. Shockingly, it was just as busy if not more so than the warm, sunny day that had occurred the day before.

True garage sale enthusiasts are willing to brave a little inclement weather in search of a good bargain, and if all the other sales in town close due to weather, you have a potential feast of hungry consumers anxious to spend spend spend!


5. Enlist Family and Friends to Add to Your Enjoyment

Seriously, one of the very biggest reasons I love doing these sales is the time I get to spend with my family and those who offer to help. Coming from a garage sale family, I would love having everyone over to not only help price and bargain with customers but also to laugh, gossip and catch up. It truly can be wonderful bonding experience!

Here’s a suggestion for a little fun: have everyone pick the one item they think will never sell and then do your best to convince customers to buy the items that everyone else has chosen. Last man standing gets a free dinner! It’s little stuff like that which can turn a potentially dull and drab day into something memorable.

I also like to live blog during the sale on social media. Believe it or not, I have had people come and comment that they read my updates and decided to come take a look.


Other related posts:




5 Rummage Sale Tips Infographic|The Holy Mess


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