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How to prepare for the perfect rummage sale

Many sellers opt to have a garage sale to get rid of a lot of the unnecessary clutter to free up space and make their homes look even more attractive to potential buyers… and to earn some extra cash to help with the moving.

And even though a garage sale looks super easy from the outside – you just take your stuff and pile it up on a table – it’s not quite that simple. Sure, you could approach it that way – but you’ll find it’s not very effective.

Take stock of your stuff

This is the most hated part of the process. Why? Because most people have trouble parting with stuff. Take stock of your stuff, organize it and keep reminding yourself the more stuff you don’t have to pack up and move – the more money and time will be saved. A good rule of thumb, “If you haven’t used or worn it in a year – you probably never will”.

Once you’ve gathered all the stuff from the attic, garage, closet, shed and the deep corners of the basement it’s time to take inventory. Assign prices to the items.

Assign the price tags

Another good rule of thumb is 25% of the original purchase price for most items. Most garage sellers are bargain hunters; and remember, something is only worth what someone will pay for it. You don’t want to have to take all your stuff back to the house when the sale day is over. So take caution that you don’t overprice your stuff.

Advertise your garage sale properly

People won’t come to your sale if they don’t even know it’s going on so spread the word. Placing an ad in your neighbourhood newspaper. Social media marketing should never be underestimated. Websites like is a pretty powerful medium. Even consider listing any really desirable merchandise like brand new jeans, antiques etc. Include the days, times and, of course, the address of your rummage sale.

Place durable signage and posters in strategic spots around your neighbourhood a couple of days before the event. Keep in mind a lot of people will be seeing these signs while driving so make sure it’s legible and contains the basic information.

Appearance is everything

Arrange the tables to look neat, tidy and inviting. Lay it out with enough space in-between the items so they can be seen clearly and inspected easily.

Avoid putting stuff on the ground. If you don’t have enough tables, borrow some from your friends or rent some folding ones.

Play some relaxing music in the background. Hang balloons. Use REALLY bright price tags. Rent a popcorn machine and offer popcorn and lemonade to keep people there even longer. Appearance, sounds and smells are the key between a successful rummage sale and an unsuccessful one.

Tap into your inner salesperson

Treat every customer as your guest – welcome him or her with a smile. That initial greeting should exude friendliness and make them comfortable at your lawn sale. Be ready to negotiate with the bargain hunters, answer questions that never end. Put together, “Discount bundles”. It can be either really fun or very frustrating. The choice is yours. Tap into your inner sales person and try to have fun with it.

Keep on your toes

Even though you should be having fun, making a few bucks and enjoying your day… there are certain dangers that will always creep up when you have a bunch of strangers gathering. Here are some final tips (safety tips) to help keep you out of trouble:

  • Use a fanny pack
  • Make sure you have lots of change
  • Know where public bathrooms are for when people ask if they can use yours
  • Keep all doors and entrances to your home locked
  • Be prepared for Mother Nature to rain on your parade. Be ready to move quickly or prepare waterproof covers.
  • Watch out for counterfeit money and shoplifters – don’t think it can’t happen to you

Hopefully this, “How to” guide will help you prepare for a successful sale and upcoming relocation. Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact our buyer’s specialists for any tips and tricks to help you keep on top of things.


Be sure to check out the newest homes for sale in Edmonton through our new and improved Edmonton MLS listings.


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