Estate Sale Success

A Weekend Schedule of Sales

Estate Sales, Garage Sales, Flea Markets and Junk Stores are a weekend ritual for me.

I figure out my Itinerary for a Saturday Journey by putting into my agenda the address, time and special sale items as advertised for each type of sale.

I load up on my quarters and one-dollar bills and drive the planned route.


Some of the sales are loaded with shopper’s spending money like they have been lost in a gold mine!!! While other sales have a few people wandering around looking over piles of items placed on blankets and large plastic tarps on the grass.

I have wondered (over and over again), why do some sales succeed with lots of attendees and money made, while others seem to barely attract sale aficionados like me and they don’t make enough money to even cover the cost of the signs at the end of the block?

I had a Big conversation with my new friend Shawn about this exact subject and I want to share some of his observations.


Shawn The Stager

Shawn closeup Shawn

I met Shawn a while back at a Garage Sale that just EXPLODED with style.  I felt like I had walked into a Department Store!.  There in the middle of what most of us would call “One Man’s Junk”, stood Shawn smiling with such satisfaction.  I finally asked him what was making him smile.  He said, “Success!”  Shawn is a Stager for a local estate sale company.  He goes into the sale after the company owner and family have signed contracts, and he sets things up to look attractive and to also entice customers to buy…a lot!!!

Straight out of a Decorating Magazine

Everything in this sale had been set up to look like it would appear in Your home.

The TV Hutch had a neatly stacked pile of baskets with flowers cascading out one side.  The additional shelves were laden with books and a picture was hanging from one side.  It looked so warm and cozy, that it made you feel like you wanted to buy the whole vignette!

Glassware and other dinner dishes were situated to look as though they were ready to be set for dinner and the collection of clothes were hung neatly on a rod between two tree branches with a small tent like area behind it for a dressing room.  Shawn was doing a very brisk business and I needed to start shopping if I was going to buy anything!!!

table scene  pink chair set up  teddy bear ladder  table in middle of room

I saw Shawn again at another sale the very next weekend and soon he became a fixture on my weekend tours and a friend.  So, when I asked him to give me pointers on what makes a Sale a Success, I completely trusted his advice.


Words of Wisdom

  • *Number one Rule: Entice, Entice, Entice!!!
  • *Catch the Customers Eye, Create Desire, Influence the Buyer
  • shelf with glasses  bette davis eyes
  • *Place more expensive things near the front of the sale so Everyone passes these items. Make sure they are clearly priced and set so people can walk all around the item. Try to put Big things with Small things to set up a “Scene”.
  • bamboo shelf vignette  books and cds
  • *Put “Like” Items together: Christmas items, glassware and dishes, jewelry, clothing.  They should each have their own “Department”.
  • jewelry
  • *All items for sale should be clean and in good condition.  Make sure the items “Show Well”.  This means that clothes should be ironed, glassware should be shiny and spotless and the same for silverware and dishes.
  • *Glassware, crystal, pitchers, sparkly bowls and figurines should be displayed in very good light so they Twinkle.  If they are displayed on a hutch shelf, make sure you have a lighted lamp or spotlights on them so they Standout!
  • *HOT ITEMS are things that are very popular right now.  Showcase these items by having them set up in an area that shows off their BEST characteristics.  Waterford Crystal,  Royal Dalton and Mid century items are HOT HOT HOT right now.  If you are selling items from 1950 to 1975, Do Not Under price!!!! If someone recognizes what these items are, they will know they are very valuable these days.
  • glasses on a shelf  weird wood mirror
  • *Do your research!! Try to find your items on craigslist, ebay, swipswap, etsy, and sell for a bit less.  Your customers don’t have to pay shipping so bring your prices down so they sell, but allow yourself room to make some money!!
  • *Don’t spread out items on the ground! No one likes to bend over and pick things up. Plus, on the ground, items are not at their best vantage point.  Try to keep everything at eye level.  If you have things on the kitchen counter AND in the cupboard above, as things sell on the counter, move things DOWN to the open counter space!
  • *Taller items and unstable items should be placed in the middle of a table and the display built around them.  If something is tipsy, it will just fall onto something else on the table and not come crashing down on the floor.
  • *While you are setting up, have a “Map” of your design. Leave room for people to walk around and between items. Keep the small things and expensive items like jewelry in the back and close at hand.  You don’t want things to go “walking out the door”!!
  • garage sale set up
  • *Have friends help you with not only the set up, but the sale too.  While you are busy talking to customers, your friends can be moving items around placing them at the best vantage point.  Plus, they can help with the sale, answer questions and keep a general eye on things.


Get Ready - Get Set  GO!!!!

Shawn has been very busy staging a few sales every week.  So I can only see him when he is working!!! But he always saves a treasure or two for me!!

Shawn at the sale

Here in Florida, we are winding down our HOT season.

Now is the time our Estate Sales, Garage Sales and Thrift Events begin to happen.

The air is cooler and the breezes are gentle off the ocean.

My Saturdays are chocked full trying to get to every sale possible.

But, at the end of each tour, I am always amazed at what incredible Treasures I have found and what little money I have spent!!!


Remember to sign up for Storage Unit Auction List so that you can receive listings of all of the auctions and sales going on in your area!!!


Well, I have to run and count my Dollars and Quarters!!! Exciting weekend ahead!!


Until next time!!

Keep on Junkin!


yellow heart green background 2

Back to Blog
Leave a reply