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Operation Garage Sale: The “Not So Hot” Items


Yesterday, I discussed the items that sold like hotcakes. Today I’ll detail the things at my garage sale that didn’t very well at all and ended up being ones that barely anyone looked at.

Books – We had a ton of adult and children books to sell and we only sold a few of them. Most people strolled right by the section without stopping. Sort of a bummer because we have so many books. That could have been part of the problem, though. The next garage sale we have I will try to display them better (out on a table versus a shelf) and see if that helps.

Christmas Items – I knew this one wouldn’t be a big seller because almost all of the garage sales I go to have Christmas items left late in the day. I’m not sure how to get rid of these except for maybe offering them dirt cheap or putting them in the “free” bin.

Clothes – I had done a lot of what I said when I wrote about selling clothes. The major thing I couldn’t do was hang everything because I ran out of hangers and room. I think there was too much there and that lead people to pass right on by. Yesterday, I boxed up a lot of the clothes and gave them to St. Vincent de Paul. By thinning out the clothes, I hope that will help highlight what is left and help them to sell. I can also get all of them on hangers now.

I want our next garage sale to be awesome in terms of getting rid of what we have left. Since most of our “hot” items are gone, we are going to have to try to make these “not so hot” items more attractive. I think a major part of that will be the presentation of these items to where it works to make people to stop and look versus passing them by.

I’m not sure exactly how to do that, though, so I’m glad I have some time to think about it. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears πŸ™‚


  • Reply MOMM |

    What about having a huge section being ‘everything $1″? I’d love to do that sometime, or even have the whole sale being $1 for everything.

  • Reply MVP |

    Don’t worry about the books, they never sell well. We practically gave them away for 10 for a dollar or something. I just didn’t want to haul them away later and was happy if someone took them.

  • Reply MVP |

    Don’t worry about the books, they never sell well. We practically gave them away for 10 for a dollar or something. I just didn’t want to haul them away later and was happy if someone took them.

  • Reply Amethyst |

    It’s funny because clothes are the first things that sell when I have a yard sale. This is what I’ve noticed (and done). If the clothes are positioned in the front of my yard, they sell a lot better than if at the back. I hang everything (use those dry cleaning wire hangers and then throw them out). I sometimes create “outfits” out of the clothes I am selling so it gives people an incentive of how to wear it and the option of buying a total outfit. I hang and treat the clothes I sell in a yard sale as though they were new in a store. It makes the people who think buying used clothes is “icky” better of them. I also hang a sign with the prices (all negotiable) of course. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Jeremy Bettis |

    What my wife has been doing is selling clothes in local periodic consignment sales, in fact she is getting ready to drop off clothes for http://www.munchkinjunctionsale.com/ right now.

    It is a lot of work, since each item has to be on a hanger and labeled. Also, the consignment organizer takes a big chunk of the money. But it seems worth it to us, since usually over 50% of the items sell, versus about 10% at a garage sale. Also the items sell for much higher prices than a garage sales.

  • Reply Amethyst |

    Re: selling books. For some reason, that’s my tough part too – selling books. I’ve tried doing 25 cents each or take the whole box for $5.00 (and it’s overflowing with books) – but still no takers! Go figure…Donate to a library and consider it a tax write-off.

  • Reply arduous |

    I agree with Amber. Books are verrrry easy to sell on Ebay or Half.com. They’re also cheap to ship because you can sell them media mail. I’d say, any books you don’t sell, put on Ebay and sell for a couple bucks plus shipping.

  • Reply angie baby |

    Amber’s suggestion of putting clothing in the front is a great idea. I’ve never had luck selling books on ebay, I’m going to try to move some current contemporary hardcovers through Craigs list.

    For your X-mas decorations, maybe package it as a group with one price?

    At the last sale I had, I used jump ropes tied together between two trees to create another clothes rack. It worked really well.

    My biggest sale mistake ever was being late. I had people waiting in the driveway and the hagglers really distracted me. I find the more organized you can be, the better you’ll be at “up selling.”

    Most important – try to have fun, it will make the time go faster! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lynnae |

    I use half.com a lot for selling books, too. I came across two more book selling sites yesterday, also. Cash4books.net and bluerectangle.com. They won’t buy everything, but you might be able to unload some of your books their.

  • Reply Jennifer |

    This is sort of funny and tells a little about me. I got to garage sales looking for clothes and books. I prefer books laid nicely so I can see them. I am no digger. I prefer clothing on hangers also displayed nicely so I can see them. If I find a sale with my size. Look Out….

  • Reply DAP242 |

    I like to sell my books on Amazon.com Marketplace. You get to see what everyone else is listing the book for and, even better, you don’t have to pay Amazon for listing it (they do take a small percentage commission if it sells though).

  • Reply Jeremy |

    That’s odd, books are one of the few things I even go to garage sales for! Of course, I have hundreds of books I’ve never read scattered throughout my house of in moving boxes that never got unpacked, but I love books :

  • Reply Dasha |

    I’ve been selling my books on Amazon’s marketplace and they are doing much better than I thought they would. Even random soft covers are selling! I’m not making a huge amount of money on it though, but my goal is to get them out of here and to someone who will actually read them.

  • Reply Mary |

    The kids and I always bake cookies the night before the sale. They sell out like hotcakes everytime and we always wish we would have baked more! Also, we sell lemonade or coffee. You can make a lot of extra money by doing this too. I let the kids do that part! Everyone loves refreshments!

  • Reply Kyle |

    We had a garage sale last weekend and I sold some clothes, just sweatshirts for $2 each. My nicer stuff that I can’t bear to donate will go to a consignment shop to see if I can get something for them there.
    Are you in Michigan? What part?

  • Reply Kyle |

    We had a garage sale last weekend and I sold some clothes, just sweatshirts for $2 each. My nicer stuff that I can’t bear to donate will go to a consignment shop to see if I can get something for them there.
    Are you in Michigan? What part? BTW, love the blog…husband and I are going to be doing some debt downing VERY soon!

  • Reply jaye |

    I love my local library and use it all the time. I’m always happy to give books to it as a donation and use it as a tax write-off. I usually figure about $.50-2.00/book unless the book is really special. When you’re dropping off 50 or 100 books, that’s a lot of money to write off! It seems like a win-win proposition to me, I get to support a resource that I adore and get a write off.

    Another thing I’ve learned is to never buy new books (or if I do, for gifts, to buy them from Half.com.) I can go online and order almost any book that interests me from my library. Normally they’ll have it for me within a week. Otherwise, nearly all of my books come from the ongoing library sale for $.50 or $1.00. It doesn’t hurt at all to give those away!

  • Reply booklover |

    Also, my job has set up a booksharing shelf – its been a great free way to get new things to read, and to see my colleagues enjoying books I’m done with!

  • Reply Elena |

    Trish, you might want to do some research with your books before you try to sell them again. Look on Amazon and e-Bay. Some books just do not sell and you might be better off donating them and taking the write off.

    In my experience kids books will sell- usually in lots, cooking books, some religious books as well. Others might have different suggestions as well.

  • Reply Joy Smith |

    I love books. It’s one of the things that I go to yard sells for, just like a few of the others I’ve seen here in the comment section. They also go very well here. Maybe if you organized the books. Romance with romance, Horror with horror. You could even go as far as putting up little signs to categorize each section of books. BTW I’ve been told the kids are not allowed to sell Lemonade here. I don’t know if this is true or not. It’s a problem here because the city’s greedy hands wants to make a profit from them. They don’t want the kids getting rich selling lemonade. LOL Soo sad though.

  • Reply Cat |

    I’m another one who goes to yard sales for books.
    My 2 suggestions are to group the books by type and author (if you have time) and, if you are placing an ad in the paper, mention that you have books, esp. if you can say something like “many mystery (romance, scifi, whatever) books”.

  • Reply Row1 |

    For garage sales, I set up a couple coolers with coke and diet coke 12 oz cans, and water bottles i think 16 oz. all on ice. all with hand-made signs 50 cents each. the cokes cost abt .25 and so you make .25 each. i usually clear abt $30 – $40 during an all-day garage sale.

  • Reply Louise |

    There is a US site that buys old books. I have put a link to it under my name. I have also taken boxes of old books to second hand book dealers and been given $20-$30 for a box of mixed books.

  • Reply pam schwindt |

    On the last day of my garage sales I get paper grocery bags and then I put a sign out that says a buck a bag. Believe me everything goes and I don’t have to cart anything anywhere and I still make a few bucks. Totally worth it.

  • Reply Mike |

    A bit late for this comment, but how much did you have the books priced for? I buy a lot of books and usually there are several other people looking at them unless they are priced high. It seems like $1 – $2 is the top end for hardcover books in my area of the U.S.

So, what do you think ?