Congratulations! You’ve picked the perfect weekend for your garage sale to be rained out. So.Frustrating, right? But don’t be so quick to close up shop. I’m going to give you 20 best rain plan tips for a successful garage sale so all your hard work and planning isn’t wasted.
Garage sales are a LOT OF WORK, there’s no getting around it. And if you’ve organized a multi family garage sale, rescheduling might not be an easy option. But what are you to do if rain forecast for one of your garage sale days threatens to turn your perfectly laid plans into a soggy mess?
In This Article
Is It Worth Opening Up on a Rainy Day?
Yes. Yes, it is. Our last three day, multi-family sale, had one entire day that was rainy, windy and just overall blech. And yet we still made a total of $5,500 those three days with over $1,000 of that coming from our rainy day.
I have held many, many sales and a good number of them have had one rainy day included. When you plan a yard sale in the spring or even fall, it’s hard to have perfectly good weather 100% of the time.
Garage salers are a weird lot. Many times, they are in it for the thrill of the hunt. And many shoppers are re-sellers, so this is their job. This lot does not stay away just because of some wetness in the air. In fact, they can become more intense because they smell an opportunity for a good deal and fewer crowds. I know because I am one of those people.
But Wait…Rainy Garage Sales Take Extra Work
But don’t expect to open up like normal and people just show up. You have to put in extra effort to make your rainy day into a successful yard sale. And also don’t expect there to be as many potential buyers as a beautiful day. It just ain’t gonna happen. But like I said, if you put in the effort, you will most likely still make a decent amount of money.
Supply List for a Successful Garage Sale
- All-Weather Neon Garage Sale Signs
- All-Weather Generic Garage Sale Signs
- Neon Poster Board for Signs on Garage
- Small Neon Signs for Tubs
- Large Tip Permanent Marker
- “We Accept Credit Card, Paypal or Venmo” Free Printables
- Garage Sale Price Tags Free Printable
Best Rain Plan Tips for a Successful Garage Sale
1. Begin with a Successful Garage Sale Plan
It is very important to plan and work for a successful rummage sale in the first place. Poor planning and a teeny tiny garage sale without enough stuff will not make extra cash even on the best of days. Some good things to keep in mind for a profitable garage sale are:
- LOTS of good condition items for sale – multi family garage sales are best. Read my post on 30 Top Items to Sell at a Garage Sale HERE.
- Killer advertising – read my post on How to Advertise for your Garage Sale HERE.
- Reasonable garage sale prices – read my post on 20 Tips How to Price Garage Sale Items HERE.
- PLAN ON RAIN when planning for your sale so you’re not scrambling at the last minute on the day of the sale.
2. Schedule During a City Wide Garage Sale
It is not imperative to schedule your garage sale during your local city wide or community yard sale. However, if you run into a rain day, city wides definitely help to get shoppers out. In our area, garage sale shoppers put city wide garage sales on their calendar, and they are eager to find deals. Since city wide garage sales are typically not re-scheduled, people will come no matter the weather since there is the draw of multiple garage sales across the area.
3. Use Weather Proof Signs
I can’t emphasize this enough…people will NOT come to your sale if they can’t find it. Signs, signs, signs…with arrows and at every turn.
Ok, now that that’s off my shoulders, I will preach about what kind of street signs. You need to have matching, bright, large signs. And most importantly for your rainy day garage sale is that they need to be weather proof. You don’t want to be worrying about your yard sale signs the morning rains hits.
We use these garage sale signs HERE, and I highly recommend them. They have lasted 3 years already and are still going. (Make sure to add arrows and have them at every turn.) You NEED to invest in good, matching signs for your garage sale to be successful (and please don’t worry about the cutesy, funny signs…people just want to find the darn sale).
If you don’t want to draw arrows on a sign, HERE are some more generic signs. I don’t like them as much because they are generic and don’t stand out as much, but they will work and are also all weather.
4. Use Price Tags That Won’t Fall Off
You’ve all seen those neon dot price stickers at garage sales. The problem with those is that they fall off even in the best of weather. When humidity or rains comes, they are completely worthless. I have been printing these FREE customizable printable price tags off on neon paper and attaching them with Scotch tape. Folks, these things STAY PUT. Even on the weather proof items I set out in the rain, the tags STAY. Yes, they get discolored when wet, but honest to goodness, I’ve never had one fall off, and they don’t damage things like books either (usually, test in a small area on paper items).
Print these free tags (customizable with your initials) on bright neon paper and tape them on with name brand Scotch tape for garage sale price tags that will stay in all kinds of weather.
5. Clear Out Your Garage for Clean, Extra Space
Part of a successful sale is having a clean garage with plenty of open space anyway. This is something you should plan on ahead of time for rain OR clear weather. Obviously the bigger the garage or more cleared out space, the better since in rain you will want to put as many items inside as possible.
- Remove as many items NOT for sale as possible
- Move all items NOT for sale to one side or area of the garage
- Hang sheets over everything on or along the walls that is NOT for sale
- Have a swept out, generally tidy garage
6. Have Canopy Tents Ready
One of my best rain plan tips for a successful garage sale is to have 1 – 2 canopy tents available. (The more the better, but 1 – 2 will work.) If you don’t own any tents, talk to other members of your multi-family garage sale or friends and family not participating AHEAD of time to see if they have any canopies in case it rains.
As you find canopy tents as backup during the general planning of your sale, make sure of the following:
- Ask or make sure they have no holes or missing parts
- Have something to weigh down the legs in case of wind (tie to cinder blocks, set in 5 gallon buckets with rocks, sand bags, etc)
- Know how to set them up so you’re not frustrated in the middle of a rain storm
7. DON’T Open Super Late
In my experience, opening later “after the rain has past” does not work very well as a garage sale rain plan. If shoppers are going to come out at all, they will be there pretty much at the normal time to get the good deal. (I told you, garage salers are a weird lot…think Black Friday kind of shoppers.)
The only reason you might open late after the rain is because you don’t have any coverage for your items such as a cleared out garage or tents. We typically open sales at 7:00 AM. During rainy days, we push that back to 7:30, but it is still early. Will it be slow for the first couple hours? Yes, but there will still be sales you would miss out on if you opened at say, 10:00. You’re already up and geared for a garage sale…just get your bum out there and sit in your garage to take advantage of the early birds.
8. Update Your Ads – Say “Rain or Shine”
Many garage sales will close during rain. It is absolutely necessary to update your online ads with “Rain or Shine” at the beginning of your subject line and in the top of the description. Advertising is the #1 MOST IMPORTANT task for a successful garage sale, and tweaking it during rainy days is just as important.
Don’t assume people will come. They won’t. THEY will assume you’re not open. Make it easy for them to know.
9. Put Signs in Your Yard or on the Garage
People will often do “drive bys” during rainy garage sales. You will need to work extra hard to tempt them to get out of their car and get wet just to browse your stuff. Put up bright neon signs on the garage or a large sign in the front yard (wrapped in plastic wrap) with the following lures:
- “Come on In!”
- “Rain or Shine!”
- “We’re Open!”
List out general items you have (in LARGE LETTERS) like sizes/genders of clothing, teacher supplies, antiques, etc.
10. Put Items on the Driveway that Can Get Wet
Just like a garage sale during sunny weather, if you don’t have anything in the drive, people can’t a.) see that you’re open and b.) be tempted to stop and see all the fun treasures. You will always have something that can get wet. Even if you have plenty of room in your garage, consider putting the following yard sale items on the driveway just to tempt people:
- Workout equipment
- Gardening supplies
- Outdoor tools
- Outdoor furniture
11. Use the Down Time to List Items on Facebook Marketplace
Your sale is going to be slower, meaning you will have some extra time. Instead of wasting it perusing Instagram, get to work! After you’ve updated all your listings with “rain or shine” create new listings specifically advertising your Rainy Garage Sale. Our last sale, I gathered rain boots and a rain coat that were for sale and made a special post highlighting the rain.
Also, use the time to list bigger items individually on Facebook Marketplace. We sold a weight bench and other big-ticket items on our rainy day simply because people saw the posting and came by for that very item.
12. Update Photos Online
I know I’m talking about online ads a lot, but really online is one of your best ways for drawing people into your sale during bad weather. Not only do you need to update your general online ads, but you also need to take new photos of items. State in the description that the photos are updated so shoppers know what they see is still available.
13. Answer ALL Online Questions
I never understand when people state in their Facebook Marketplace garage sale ad that they won’t be answering questions. Yes, it takes time (have a participant in your multi-family sale in charge of this). But these are INTERESTED BUYERS, folks! Show the courtesy of answering questions, and they will repay you by buying your stuff. Bonus: when you “like” or reply to a question or comment on your post in a group, it bumps your listing to the top so it’s more visible to others.
14. Make it Easy to Make a Purchase
The easier it is to pay, the more items people will buy. Make sense, right? Even garage salers can be unprepared with enough cash. Or they might find a high dollar item you’re selling that they don’t have enough extra money for.
Be prepared ahead of time to accept credit cards, debit cards, Paypal or Venmo so it is easy to buy your items. Have signs around the sale saying you accept these forms of payment. You can download free printable payment signs below.
15. Be Willing to Negotiate Prices
When buyers make the effort to come to your sale in rain, you have to repay them by negotiating a bit more. You won’t make as many sales as a good day, so try not to let that sale get away just because you wouldn’t come down a couple bucks. Use your best judgement. You don’t have to give things away, but you will probably need to deal a bit more and potentially offer a lower price.
16. Categorize Items in Tubs
Tubs are going to be your best friend during rainy garage sales. While it’s normally best to set things up on tables, when you’re crowded into a garage, categorizing similar items in tubs and setting them partially under a table will work wonders. Kids clothing, adult clothing, books and toys are especially good for putting (neatly) in tubs. Just make sure it’s not SO piled in that people can’t see.
Once you have small items and similar types of items in tubs, put labels on the outside of the tub stating what’s inside (like sizes, etc). Again, make it EASY to shop even in bad weather.
17. Stack Items and Use Floor and Wall Space
If you have small shelving that’s not for sale, bring it out and stack under clothes racks, on top of tables or anywhere that possibly might have extra space. This is a great way to achieve double decker visibility when space is at a premium.
Also, consider putting some nails in your wall for lightweight wall décor that can hang so your table space is freed up. Look everywhere for blank spaces and try to fill it!
18. Stack Furniture for Sale on Tables
Ideally, in a garage sale you would have things spread out enough so it doesn’t look crowded. However, during rainy weather, you will be cramming a lot of items in your garage. One way to maximize table space is to stack benches, (short) shelves, stools and (small) chairs on your tables. This way you can still use the table space under these items but also use these items as extra shelving to put small stuff on. Just make sure you add a clear price tag to the stacked furniture so people are aware that it’s also for sale.
19. Utilize the Eves of Your Garage
Most houses and garages have eves about one foot deep. This is especially helpful when you’re running out of dry space. Choose items that can stand a few drips of rain on them. But these eves give you just a tad bit of extra display space that’s fairly dry. Just don’t block the entrance too much since people will already be crowded when entering.
20. Grab a Friend and a Donut and Enjoy the Day
No, the weather isn’t ideal. Yes, it will cut down on the number of people who come. But if you follow all these 20 best rain plan tips for a successful garage sale, chances are that you will still have a profitable day. So grab a friend to keep you company (you should be scheduling at least a couple people to work your multi-family garage sale anyway), get a donut and cup of coffee and just enjoy your time.
Potential customers will feel at ease coming into your garage if you are friendly, not grumpy about the weather. You might even consider lighting a candle and putting on some relaxing music to match the dreariness of the day. Hey, at least it isn’t 95 degrees out!
And that wraps it up for my best rain plan tips for a successful garage sale! These ideas are all things we have done on our rainy day sales. If all the days you’re planning a garage sale have heavy rain in the weather forecast, yes, you might need to reschedule. But if it is just one rain day in the midst of a three day sale or scattered showers for a couple days, you can definitely make your garage sale successful!
Read more Profitable Garage Sale Tips Below
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