Garage sales are a ton of work, and there’s nothing worse than putting in the time for a measly $200 – $500. I will show you the steps we take to bring in $3,500 – $5,000 each year for our 8 family garage sale (and $1,500 of that is mine)! In Parts 1 and 2, we have covered in detail the planning, preparation, advertising and set up necessary for a successful sale. In this final Part 3 ultimate guide to a successful multi family garage sale, I will give you guidelines on how to actually run a successful multi-family sale.
In This Article
Because of all the information included, I have split this ultimate guide to a successful multi-family garage sale into three parts. Read the full tutorial in the links below.
For the past ten years, I have participated in yearly (and sometimes twice a year) multi-family garage sales. Every single sale I make $1,300 – $1,500 dollars, and the total for all families is $3,500 to over $5,000 per sale! I do sell some leftover items from my online vintage Etsy shop, but most of this amount is from selling household goods we have decluttered from our home. (Isn’t it amazing how un-used items seem to just appear?!)
I know holding a garage sale can be discouraging. You might put in hours of work and maaaaaybe make $200. I’ve heard so many people say that it simply is Not.Worth.It. to make so little money. But if you follow these guidelines, you will have a shot at a wildly successful sale. Just note that your first one or two sales might have glitches and problems. Don’t give up! If you’re new to this whole thing, it may take a couple times before things run smoothly and you really see that extra cash.
Part 3 Ultimate Guide to a Successful Multi Family Garage Sale
Setting Up Your Garage Sale
Remind Participants of Their Volunteer Times
If you went through Part 1 of this guide, you will have already filled in all your time slots for volunteer participants in the schedule to help run the sale. Believe you me, a multi-family sale is NOT a one man show. And if you let people drop things and run or skip out of their volunteer times, you will be headed for disaster.
Make sure before each day of the sale that you confirm with participants when they will volunteer for their jobs.
Have a Donut Person
Ok, this is totally optional, but having a morning set up person also bring donuts for the group is a great way to rewards yourselves for having to be up and working so early! We usually take the cost out of each person’s balance sheet and transferring it to the donut buyer so one person isn’t footing the bill.
Morning Set Up
You will want 2 – 3 people at least to pull everything out of the garage each morning of the sale. We always start one hour before the advertised start time, so for our 7:00 sale, we get started with setup at 6:00. Yes, it is early. Yes, it is worth it. We have a ton of items to pull out of the garage (even though they’re already organized on tables for easy access) and customers start coming around 6:15 anyway, so we are busy even with that much time.
Don’t be tempted to open late on the big day and don’t be tempted to turn potential buyers away before your opening time. THIS is what all these weeks of hard work have been for. You want lots of early birds because these are your most interested buyers and lend a more profitable garage sale!
Train Participants at the Cash Table
This shouldn’t take much time, but if you’re using my easy system keeping track of sales on our Excel worksheet on a laptop, then you will need to show people how it works. Some people may be nervous at typing everything into a computer, but they will quickly see that it is an easy way to automatically add up all the totals for each person and the grand total owed.
Also, you will need to show people how to accept credit cards if you are choosing to add that to your sale.
Get my free Google Docs Excel record keeper HERE.
Ask Members What Prices Are “Firm”
You will probably want to do this before the morning of the sale, but you need to know your limits on “dealing” for participant’s items. Garage sale culture is wheeling and dealing on the price, so expect it. Our general rule is that we don’t go down much if at all on prices the first day. The second day is more lax on prices, and the third day we are practically advertising our willingness to lower prices!
Overall, we leave it up to the person at the money table if it’s just coming down a little on the price. For big price cuts, especially on big ticket items, we text the item’s owner.
However, on large items, some participants may want to deal a little on the price right away just to get rid of it, or some participants may not want to deal at all. It’s nice to know ahead of time on the really expensive things how much the owner is or is not willing to come down.
Running Your Garage Sale
Set Up a Cashier’s Table
If you have a successful garage sale, you will need 1 – 2 people to stay at the cashier’s table at all times. Customers don’t like to have to track down the person they need to pay. AND you definitely don’t want to leave the cash box unattended. It is helpful to have two people to help add participant’s totals before putting them in the computer, bag up items and text participants for questions when necessary.
Tidy and Reorganize the Sale
You need to have one additional person in charge of rearranging and tidying your garage sale (almost constantly or at least consistently). Things get messy quickly at a successful yard sale, and you want to show everything in its best light. Also, when a lot of items sell, you want to start combining tables of similar items or bringing up sale items from the ground that you didn’t have room for. During slow times, this can be the second person helping with the cashier’s table. But during the early – mid morning busyness, you should have a separate person.
Personally, this is my absolute favorite job of a garage sale. Having a participant volunteer who is happy to style the front of the sale is an excellent way to rearrange and tidy up!
Have an Adult Help with a Kids’ Food Stand
I have written a post about the best foods to sell and how to run a kids’ food stand at a garage sale HERE. An important aspect for a kids’ food stand is to have an adult or older teen help run the stand. Kids usually need help restocking, having good food handling practices and making change. If you have a food stand, make sure there is someone to help supervise!
Have an Adult or Teen Watch the Kids
Many yard sales are held by moms. And moms have kids.
I am alllllll about involving kids in the garage sale process. However, they are not going to be able to be out there all day with you, and if you try to run a garage sale and get lunch for them and break up fights, well, it’s not going to go well for your sanity. Many participants leave kids and babies at home with dad or grandma, but if you do have kids at the sale, then it’s important to have an adult or responsible teenager inside with them.
Packing Up the Sale Each Night
Usually, whoever is running the sale at the end of the day also helps bring in the tables and all items into the garage or designated area each night. Make sure your volunteers know this and are able to lift items. I advise having 3 – 4 people for this (and husbands coming home from work count as a volunteer if they are willing!).
Tally Up the Cash at the End of Each Night
This is a very important job that needs someone who pays attention to the details. At the end of each night, the money person will need to take the cash box, divvy up the proceeds into bags for each participant and get a little cash ready for the next day’s change. If the cash and tally sheet do not balance (which happens sometimes), we usually split the difference whether a gain or loss among the participants. We are always up front with participants about a problem with the balance sheet (and this should not be a difference of more than $3 – $10, and ideally everything balances perfectly).
You do not need to actually give the money out until the end of the sale. But totaling everything each day keeps the headache to a minimum, and if there is an issue with everything balancing, it will only throw one day’s total off.
Finishing Your Garage Sale
Set A Required Pick Up Time
As the host of a garage sale, you do not want boxes of unsold items cluttering your space. The whole point of the sale was to create breathing room, not to hold onto friends’ items until they get it “someday.” We close up our sale between 4 – 5:00 on Saturday, so that is when everyone needs to come pack up their “junk.” After a successful garage sale, it usually doesn’t take long since there’s not much stuff left. Usually one person will take everyone’s donation boxes, so we immediately load those into the designated vehicle.
I always have boxes that go straight to the donation center and boxes that I do take home to sell online. To find out the best places and charitable organizations to donate garage sale leftovers, visit my post HERE. To learn how to sell garage sale leftovers on Facebook Marketplace and Ebay, visit my post HERE.
Pick Up Your Signs
Don’t forget to pick up your signs after you close up shop. It’s a good idea to have a driver and a “runner.” It’s usually a fast job but something that’s easy to forget after a long weekend of garage sale selling.
Have a Pizza Party!
No one wants to cook after a garage sale week. It’s always fun to keep a few tables set up in the garage (if the weather is nice) and ordering pizza when everyone is picking up their garage sale leftovers. And if you’ve had a successful garage sale, making all that extra money, it more than pays for the pizza!
And that wraps up my part 3 ultimate guide to a successful multi family garage sale. The more you do it, the better you will get. However, you must first decide if this endeavor is right for you because it IS a lot of work. But for our group of friends, our annual multi-family sale has become a fun tradition to gather together, work together and make quite a bit of money from our decluttered homes. I trust this will be helpful in getting started in your own fun multi-family garage sale tradition!
Complete your multi-family garage sale tutorials in Parts 1 and 3 of this multi family garage sale guide in the links below!
Supply List for Your Multi-Family Yard Sale
Neon Printer Paper (for your free price tags printables)
Large Neon Poster Board (for signs AT your sale)
Kid Hangers (look for them first at thrift stores)
Adult Hangers (look for them first at thrift stores)
Pin for Later Part 3 Ultimate Guide to a Successful Multi Family Garage Sale