Determining a location for your garage sale

You will want to pick a sale location that will allow for maximum exposure while being convenient for all participants.  The best location is your own house when your neighborhood is having a sale.  You can have the sale in the comfort of your own home and not have to take your items anywhere to sell.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is having the sale at your own house when you live out in the boonies and are not very accessible.   There are many other possibilities in the middle that will maximize your sales opportunities:

  • House of one of the participants
  • House of a friend who lives in an area where they have neighborhood sales.  Ask your friend if you can set up shop at their house.  (Needless to say, you only want to do that if they are a good friend.)
  • Flea market – there are many flea markets out there.  Look in your local paper or on the web for the location of flea markets near you.
  • Community garage sales – check with your local town to see if they sponsor a garage sale where you can rent space
  • Local churches and schools – look in the local papers for ads for upcoming sales.  Ask friends and family if they know of locations that host sales.

Things to consider when determining whether to have it at someone’s house:

  • How much traffic will you get at the location?  If you are having your sale during a neighborhood sale or if you are at a flea market or community sale you should get the maximum amount of traffic.  On the other hand, if you live out in the boonies and you are 10 miles from the Thruway exit, you might want to consider another location.  If you have multiple houses to pick from then pick the one that’s on a main thoroughfare as opposed to the one buried at the back of a housing development.
  • How easy is it to find?  If you are advertising your sale in the paper or on line, you don’t want to make it to hard for people to find you.   In the past this was more of an issue.  Nowadays people can look the address up on Mapquest or use their GPS if they have an address.  If you are trying to direct people to your house using signs, the more off the main drag you are, the more signs you will potentially need to direct people to the right location.
  • Is the house located near a neighborhood sale?  If you can hold your sale on the same weekend, then you can potentially get more traffic to your sale.
  • How much parking is there for people at the location?  If you are on a main road, it may deter people from stopping to shop.  If you live in a complex, it may be hard for people to find parking.
  • How much room is there for displaying items for sale?  A house that has a 2 or 3 car garage is preferable to a one car garage.  Even with a large garage you may need extra space which you can do by putting up a pop up tent.  The width of the driveway will also determine how much space you have.
  • What are your options if the weather turns bad? Does the house have a big front porch which you can move stuff to in the case of weather?  Are there some big trees that can shelter items from the sun or light rain?
  • Does one person have significantly more stuff than the others?  Obviously if one person accounts for 80% of the items that are being sold it might make sense to hold it at their house so they won’t have to transport so many items.
  • Are there large items that can’t be easily moved?   Are you selling a piano and you have no intention of moving it except to have the buyer take it away?  Maybe you are selling your old dining room set or jet skis.  It would be difficult to move these items to another location.
  • Can you clean out the garage to the point where you could host a sale inside?  Some people are unable to make room for a sale, so their garage sale becomes a yard or driveway sale.
  • If you have the sale at someone’s house, you have the potential to start preparing the location and setting things up well ahead of time, potentially weeks in advance.

Things to consider when picking a public event like a community garage sale, flea market or school/church event:

  • How easy is it to get to the location to unload your items and setup?  Find out how close you will be able to get your vehicle to the location where you will be setup.  If you are far away then you may want to limit your sale to lighter weight items.
  • How much space do you get at the sale?  The smaller the space, the less you will be able to setup and sell.
  • Do you need to supply tables for the location?  At some community sales you will be provided with a table.  Be sure to inquire ahead of time and potentially bring additional tables, if they will fit in your location.
  • You do not need to advertise when participating in a “group sale”.  So you will save expenses and time as you won’t need to worry about putting up signs. This may be eaten up in the time you need to transport your items to the sale location.
  • When are you allowed to setup for the sale?  How much time will you have to unload your items and setup?  If it is a shorter amount of time, you may not have the time to unload and set up as many items.
  • Is the sale outside?  What happens when the weather turns bad?  If you have a tent, you may be able to stay open if it starts to rain, but it is one more thing to set up.  Obviously indoor sales are minimally impacted by the weather.

Are there other potential locations I am missing?

If you are motivated, you could start a neighborhood sale in your own neighborhood.  Print up flyers and hand them out throughout your neighborhood.  Pick a date and see if other people want to participate in a neighborhood sale.  Offer to have people pay a nominal fee ($3-5) to you for the ad, but if you get people to join you, you should get much greater traffic to your sale and it should more than make up for the ad.

Since I am located in Rochester, NY, I will occasionally add information that is specific to my location.

Rochester-NY specific info:

What: 2009 Community garage sales at the Public Market, 280 N. Union St.
When: Sundays. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on  June 14, 21 and 28; July 5, 12, 19 and 26; Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; Sept. 6, 13 and 27; Oct. 4, 11 and 18.

One thought on “Determining a location for your garage sale

  1. Pingback: Getting started – garage sale season « How to maximize money for your stuff

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