5 Tips For A Successful Garage Sale In San Francisco

April 11, 2012 3:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

Great preparation is the key to a successful garage sale. First, keep an eye on the 10-day weather forecast before setting a sale date. Rain tends to keep outdoor shoppers away. Increase your chances of success by observing weather predictions. Team up with neighbors or friends for a combined yard or block sale to bring increased foot traffic your way.

1. Put it in print. Create a flyer with a street map highlighting participating addresses and distribute them in neighborhood businesses and cafes. Take an organized approach to marketing by announcing the sale on Craigslist or in the SF Advertiser, which is also online.

2. Make the announcement. While printing flyers and posting them around highly trafficked areas of your neighborhood is a great way to grab the attention of foot and car traffic, putting your sale online will reach a broader audience. This is the best way to hook San Francisco area residents who may not necessarily live in your neighborhood into coming to your sale.

3. Price it right. Pricing is a big consideration when having a garage sale. If you simply want to get rid of clothing your family no longer wears or household items you no longer use, price everything to move quickly. Fill a box with t-shirts at 50 cents each. Price other clothing from 50 cents to $2 or $3, depending on style and condition. Toys, books and household items sell well at 50 cents to a $5 maximum. If you must charge more, be willing to negotiate to get rid of the lot. Any big ticket items are better off being sold online. It’s rare for buyers to shell out over $100 for anything at a garage sale.

4. Take it out of the neighborhood. If you don’t have a yard, or you live in an apartment or an area where there’s not much foot traffic, consider selling your goods at a flea market. Flea markets are a great way to sell and naturally attract lookers and buyers far beyond the neighborhood. While you pay a set fee to rent a designated space, the returns are usually worth the investment. 

5. Have a backup plan. Have a backup plan to donate items that do not sell. Giving to a charitable organization imparts new life to your belongings where they’re needed most. San Francisco’s Donation Town allows you to schedule a pickup online. Charities such as the Humane Society, Out Of The Closet, Salvation Army, United Cerebral Palsy, Vietnam Veterans of America and others will pick up your donations for free and leave a tax deduction receipt.

Here are some local businesses and organizations that may be able to help:

Jim Nelson Printing Company
90 Moss St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 431-1557

Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jim Nelson Printing has been serving San Francisco since 1977 by emphasizing good work at reasonable prices. Company owner Jim Nelson says his business ad says it all, “personal and professional.” From design to final product, Jim ensures his business can cover the bases. Whether you need an eye-catching garage sale flyer or a detailed neighborhood yard sale announcement with a map pinpointing the participants, this local printer will do it right.

SF Advertiser
132 10th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 861-8370

SFAdvertiser has been in business since 1970, providing small business owners and individuals with a low-cost way to advertise. Placing an ad here is both free and easy to do by emailing in. SF Advertiser is available to view online, so access to it is virtually guaranteed.

Alemany Flea Market
100 Alemany Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 647-2043

Hours: Sundays – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The city’s popular Alemany Flea Market, open every Sunday, is another way to showcase your wares. To sell in California you must have a seller’s permit, available from any Board of Equalization office at no cost to you. Becoming a vendor here may even be addictive, as many vendors return weekly. There is an application process and selling rules to adhere to, but it’s a good choice if you want to sell in a group setting with hundreds of passersby each week. Each fixed sized space costs $45 to rent for the day.

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSSanFrancisco/YourHome.

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Melanie Graysmith is a freelance writer and educator living in San Francisco. She often writes about adult education, culture and lifestyle topics. She enjoys writing short stories, poetry, and scriptwriting, and is also a member of an independent film making group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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