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Garage Sale Fundraising Ideas & Tips

1. Send an email out to all your family and friends asking them to donate stuff. People may not have money to donate, but everyone has junk they can donate. Do this at least 4 weeks before your sale.

2. Give them suggestions in your email on what they can donate.

  • Clothes, Shoes, Coats, Hats, Belts, Purses/Bags

  • CDs, Albums, Books, Flower Arrangements/Plants

  • Frames, Pictures, Wicker, Vases, Dishes

  • Jewelry, Toiletries, Stuffed Animals, Beach Stuff

  • Toys, Games, Sporting Equipment, Bikes, Pet Stuff

  • Electronics, Kitchen Items, Appliances

  • Furniture, Bedding, Towels, Mattress, Curtains, Rugs

  • Christmas/Holiday Merchandise

If they don’t have any items, what about suggesting they bake some cookies or brownies for you to sell?

3. Tell everyone that if they have any large items (furniture, etc.) and don't have a way to get it to you, you will be available to pick up the merchandise the weekend before your sale. You can rent a U-Haul truck and go around and pick up everyone’s stuff in one day.

4. Send a reminder email out 2 weeks before your sale. You will need to put an ad in the paper. Any money you put out, be sure to reimburse yourself with the proceeds from the sale. Be sure in your ad that you say: Huge Charity Garage Sale! 100% of proceeds donated to X. You will also need to make some signs and put them around your neighborhood at large intersections. On your signs, again, be sure to put Charity Garage Sale. If for breast cancer, put breast cancer ribbons on the sign, maybe with pink balloons, to draw attention to them.

5. Make a flyer to put in all your neighbors' boxes letting them know when your sale is and sorry for any inconvenience it may cause. Tell them why you are doing the sale, etc. and then be sure to put your name and phone on the flyer saying if they have any items to donate to call you.

6. The weekend before your sale you want to go through all the items that were donated and sort them by item. This may sound time consuming, but it is so worth it. You will definitely sell more when you have all the picture frames together, all the sporting stuff together, etc. An organized sale translates into $$$. You will group all this stuff and then put it back into your garage by groups (aka put all frames in one box). Then, the morning of the sale, you can pull the stuff out and everything is already grouped ready to go.

7. We don’t recommend pricing anything. You will put signs up saying 100% of the proceeds are donated to X. We suggest that you have prices in your head as to what you want for certain items. If someone donated a camera and you think you should get at least $20 when someone comes up to buy it and ask how much, say "100% of the proceeds are going to charity; can you make us an offer?" If he says $10, then you can say, These items were donated, and $10 is a bit low. What about $20? it is all going to charity. This way if someone says "I will give you $40," you made more money. We have done many sales and this has worked very well.

8. Think about selling bottled water, canned soda, and baked goods. If someone can’t find an item at the sale to buy, who can resist a brownie?!

9. Here are some other great tips:

a. Get a clothes line and hang on a fence or between trees. Hang as much merchandise/clothes as you can. You can go to your local dry cleaners and ask to borrow some hangers. A lot of people bring their old hangers back to the dry cleaners. Try to sort men’s stuff together, lady's stuff, etc. If you can’t do that then put a sheet on the ground and fold the merchandise by type (fold pants together in one area, then shirts in another area)

b. Get card tables. If you don’t have any, ask family and friends to borrow any tables they may have. The only items that should go on the tables are breakable stuff -- vases, picture frames, anything made of glass. They display much better on the table then on the ground.

c. For any kind of bedding, etc. put a sheet down and display stuff on a sheet on the ground.

d. Drape rugs over fences or spread out on the grass for people to see them.

e. Make sure you have lots of signs saying where the money is going. Also, have a donation jar. People who don’t buy anything may just put $5 or $10 in a jar.

f. Have a table of breast cancer merchandise to sell. You will be amazed how many people are touched by the disease that will buy something. Especially breast cancer silicone bracelets.  They are easy to sell and everyone will give you at least a dollar for them.

g. To display books, get a box and put the books in the box so the spines are showing. That will be an easy way to put the books out and for people to see what they are. Anything left over can easily be put back in the garage.

h. Have music! Why do you think the department stores play music? It puts you in a good mood and makes you buy more.

i. Everyone working the sale should wear clothing to support your cause. If breast cancer wear pink ribbon shirts or pink ribbon hat.  That way people who are buying know who to go to with questions. Plus it ties in with where the proceeds are going.

10. Make sure you have plenty of petty cash. You will need plenty of ones and fives. I wouldn’t worry about change, because if you don’t have change people will most likely donate it to the cause. We don’t recommend accepting checks unless you know the person.

What I love about doing a garage sale are all the stories from people who have been touched by the disease. It really makes you feel like you are making a difference. Good luck and have fun.


garage sale fundraiser