Garage sales are a great way to clean out clutter and meet your neighbors. That said, please be advised that garage sales can make your home vulnerable to criminals. Follow these ten tips to keep your sale, your home, and your family safe:
1. During your sale, close your blinds & curtains, and lock your doors. Keep your garage doors closed. You don’t want people observing your belongings.
2. Have your sale out on your driveway and/or in your front yard, NOT in your garage.
3. Greet EVERYONE–it’s friendly AND lets shoppers (and any potential thieves) know that you’ve seen them up close!
4. Never let someone you don’t know enter your home to use the restroom.
5. Don’t discuss travel plans or your daily schedule within ear shot of people you do not know. You may be giving them the perfect opportunity to return and burglarize your home.
6. Don’t call your children by name in the presence of strangers and be alert when/if buyers are having extended conversations with your children.
7. Never leave a cash box or cell phone unattended–it is better to wear a carpenter’s apron with pockets or a fanny pack (blast to the past!) to keep your money and phone on your person at all times.
8. Make sure your sale is always being monitored by at least two adults; enlist the help of family and friends. Criminals may work in teams with one or two people distracting attendants, while someone pockets small items or seeks potential entry points for a later break-in.
9. Make sure you total all the buyer’s items (rather than allowing them to give you a total), and that you are focused solely on that transaction. See and say the amount you are being paid before counting back change. Don’t let a buyer tell you he gave you a twenty, when he really gave you a ten. Do NOT take personal checks unless you know the buyer very well.
10. Check inside sale items like hampers, decorative boxes, purses, jacket and pants pockets to make sure no sale items have been hidden inside.