How to hold a successful Minnesota garage sale

It's yard sale season – here's how to make the most of it.
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The warm weather is finally here and Minnesotans are looking for any excuse to be outside.

What better time then to hold a garage sale to make some extra cash and get rid of your household clutter.

Never held one before? No matter, The Tip Jar has pulled together some top advice on how to make yours a roaring success.

1. Put a price on everything

Don't be one of those sales that require people to come and make you an offer – you'll lose even the most mildly introverted people if you do that even if there's a chance you can get a better price.

Put a price-tag on every item you sell – then if people want to haggle, at least they know how much you value it.

Know the value of stuff as well – most items you'll price between $1 to $100, but if you're selling heirlooms and antiques, check out what they go for on eBay.

2. Advertise, advertise, advertise

Yard sale signs are everywhere during spring and summer, and it can't be understated how important getting the word out is.

Penny Hoarder suggests you should put as many as 15-20 signs up in nearby streets, making sure they're brightly colored and at least 3 feet square.

It's not all about signs either – put adverts on free sites Craigslist and Nextdoor, as well as community pages on Facebook.

3. Location, location, location

Live on back streets with little through-traffic? You're not going to get much love from potential buyers then.

Find a friend or relative who lives on a busy road or intersection and ask to use their driveway/garage, potentially teaming up with them for the sale.

4. Check the weather

Minnesota is the land of unpredictable weather, which is why WCCO suggests you only announce a yard sale within 10 days of it happening – that way you can get an idea of whether you're going to get rained on.


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5. Accept credit cards

Want to really maximize your sales? Then modernize.

We're increasingly living in a cashless society, so accepting payment from credit cards will encourage people to shop and buy more.

Wholefully suggests using a smartphone or tablet app like the Square reader. Although this charges a fee for every transaction, the chances are you'll make it back with more sales.

6. Make your sale stand out

Get Rich Slowly says to make your sale really stand out, pick a theme for it.

You might want to get rid of your now-grown children's baby toys and clothes, so market it as a sale for new parents, or you might want to focus on furniture and homewares.

Keep your branding and color schemes consistent and professional-looking throughout, so it encourages people to pick your driveway over others.

7. Make it like a store

Don't just throw everything onto a table and hope for the best. suggests setting things up in mini-departments, with clothing separated from homewares that are separated from children's stuff etc.

Create browsable sections for items like books, CDs and DVDs – and if you want to cut down on your pricing preparation time, have tables where every item costs $1.

The Tip Jar is BMTN editor Adam Uren's advice column on how to spend, save, and live with confidence. Read past columns here.

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