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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Successful Garage Sales Take Time and Organization

LAS CRUCES -- A garage sale can provide a successful solution to getting rid of old clothes, furniture, books and other items if a person is willing to invest time and energy.


The first step to a successful garage sale is planning, said Susan Wright, consumer education specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. The items that are going to be sold have to be identified and clearly marked with sale prices.

"A good way to do this is by putting things in groupings, such as a dollar area or a 25 cent area," Wright said. "Sellers also should be familiar with their goods so they know what items should cost."

Advertising should be done ahead of time and should fill the customer in on the exact location and time of the sale, she said. Place ads in the newspaper, but also put up signs on street corners. Take down all signs after the sale. In some communities residents can be fined or restricted from having another garage sale if signs are left up after the sale.

Wright said always have enough change available for the customers. Decide ahead of time if checks will be accepted.

"Another thing that people want to remember is if you are going to negotiate on price, you have to be firm all the way through," Wright said. "Don't go up and down with one person and then be really firm with another person."

Having help during a garage sale is always a good idea, she said. Children and friends are often great assistants. If the garage sale is a group sale, keep the cash box sorted or have records of what is sold so that the money can be divided correctly.

Electrical outlets should be available for customers to test items. The sale products should be in good condition at the beginning of the sale. Plastic grocery bags or paper sacks also should be available for customers who purchase a lot.