Many people think garage sales are just good for  getting rid of unwanted junk, and often don't realize that you can make good  money from this paid hobby. Your old bric a brac may be just what someone else needs!

Back in the day, I was a huge garage saler, both going to them and holding them myself every couple of months. I was renovating the house and putting down a herb garden at the time, and so would frequently have timber, tiles, paint etc. left over, as well as herb cuttings and seedlings,

I always did well, even with very little. I never took less than $275 and once even $2,500. I'd usually take $4-500.

What sells: You can sell virtually anything at a yard sale. I found that books, clothes, herbs and plants, garden items, furniture, art,  lamps, timber, tools, CD's and audio players always sell.  Of all items, plants probably sell the best, especially culinary herbs, which people can use in their cooking immediately, although dried herbs and flowers are also good.. Raise them from seedlings and it's pure profit!. Fresh flowers from the garden also do well, as do any kind of gardening tool.

Most  handmade items also sell well, and this includes jams and jellies, cremes and lotions, macrame and knitted wear.

Office furniture such as  desks, executive chairs and filing cabinets are particularly in demand, Beds,  drawers and tables will also go. Larger items bump up your proceeds considerably, and can often be obtained from friends and neighbours who will let you sell them and split the proceeds.

As an avid garage saler myself, I also acquired lots of super cheap household goods and knick knacks from other garage sales, which I would often include in my own sale at a profit.

Before the day:  Take out local newspaper ads. Don't skimp on the ad, and invest in as many as you have newspapers servicing the area.. They're relatively cheap, and sometimes have special deals for garage sales. Depending on region, you should also advertize online, especially if you have some unusual or rare items which people are prepared to travel for.  

The key is to be prepared. Clean, sort and price everything the day before. You would be surprised how much more this can return on your sales when you have priced everything with a cool head. People will often pay $4.00 for an item you may have priced at $2.00 in a rush, since it's all just loose change anyway, but it will double your revenue. Plus,  people don't try and talk you down so much with a fixed price sticker. Put price stickers on everything -small ones, easily removed.

Set up everything you can the night before, for there will be very early birds, and while these are sometimes dealers looking for a steal, often these are your best customers. When setting up, remember that you should be able to be easily seen from the street.

On The Day: You should allocate the whole day to the sale, as people will come and go all day long, albeit a bit thinner in the afternoon, but they're all potential buyers. It's  a good idea to have some help, for bathroom breaks, and for when things get busy, like at mid morning.

Having everything pre-priced allows you to keep your head when it's a hoi polloi. You will also need plenty of plastic bags for their purchases, and a money wallet (fanny pack) on your person, as well as plenty of small change. Organize this the day before.

Get up super early and go and put the Garage Sale signs up on street corners in the area, especially on any adjacent main roads, as well as right outside. Make these the day before with cardboard and texter. The bottoms of large cardboard boxes are good  for this, as  they are sturdy and windproof. Use black or red texter, and be sure to include the address on the sign.  Use a hammer and small nails to attach them to wooden lamposts, and don't forget to retrieve them when you're done.

You can even sell coffee or homemade lemonade for extra revenue, and it keeps people there a bit longer. Make up a large (commercial sized ) thermos of coffee early in the morning, and use polystyrine cups which you have pre-purchased. You can also sell muffins and cupcakes or even hotdogs. You would be surprised how much this can add up for those needing a quick bite of breakfast or snack while they're browsing.

Playing relaxing music and providing chairs for people to take a break also keeps people there longer, and makes you look busy - always a good sign.

Business Idea: As well as my own garage sales, I also did them for friends, with much success, and I considered doing them professionally for people, which no doubt would have taken off. But I was living out of town at the time, so it wasn't practical, (city dwellers need more help than country folk) but I'm sure that I could have charged 15-20% to run them, and the householder would  see much more than that in increased revenue. This is potentially a good part-time business for anyone so inclined, and you could get fancy  Garage Sale signs printed up to give you an edge.

The trick is preparation and organization, and holding onto your prices.

Have fun!

Garage Sale