10 Tips for Having a Killer Garage Sale

Have you ever shopped at a garage sale and thought about how much time actually went into putting it all together? Or maybe you’ve wanted to have one for years, but aren’t sure if it’s worth the effort.

Don’t let such thoughts keep you from planning your own sale. Sure, setting up and hosting a yard sale takes work. But one person’s trash is definitely another’s treasure, and there are tons of avid yard sale shoppers eager to take your unwanted items off your hands.

There are 165,000 garage sales taking place on any given week in the U.S., according to research by the Statistic Brain Research Institute. If you have anything of value, a yard sale is a quick way to make a nice chunk of cash.

Here are 10 tips for doing it right:

1. Plan ahead

4832148549_e9c5fddb45_b

Once you’ve decided on a date, it’s time to gather your inventory. Start by retrieving anything you haven’t used in six months, sorting the items by category and placing them in labeled boxes. Now, step back and admire how you have successfully decluttered.

When should you host the sale? Obviously, winter is not the best option unless you live where it never snows. Avoid the intense heat of summer if you can. Avoid holiday weekends, because most people will be preoccupied with other activities or traveling.

Stand out from the competition by starting your sale on Friday, rather than Saturday morning. And be aware that people will show up at 7 a.m. even if the advertised start time is two hours later.

2. Prepare your space

16281739966_38ba8008dc_k

Mow the lawn, weed the flower beds and smooth any uneven surfaces that could be a potential problem for customers. The last thing you want is for guests to take a tumble.

If you park on the street, move your car to make room for customers.

3. Simplify pricing

14562774557_11ab39f38d_k

Adopt a simplified pricing structure so you won’t have to make a lot of changes. Group items of the same price together and clearly display the price.

You can use a color code, or put a sticker with the price on each item. Or make a sign: “Each item on this table goes for $1.”

If the price of an item is firm, indicate that on the sales tag. For big-ticket items, it may also help to attach an advertisement for a new version of the item with its normal asking price to show that you are offering it at a greatly reduced rate.

4. Make it easy to shop

14950433815_eaff88d10b_k

Group similar items to make it easier for customers to navigate the sale. Also, keep items off the ground. Hang up clothes. Offer an outlet for customers to test electrical items. Be sure to start the sale with plenty of small bills and change.

On the other hand, don’t let customers score a surprise deal. Check the pockets of all clothing, and go through all boxes to make sure you haven’t accidentally included something that shouldn’t be there.

Also, make sure you know the real value of your stuff. We’ve all heard stories about people who paid very little for something the seller didn’t realize was worth a lot more.

5. Advertise — and do it right

4052091107_c6a6a870ab_b

Aim for consistency and use bright colors with a minimal amount of words on your neighborhood signs. Your signs should also include clear instructions on how to get to the sale and a phone number in case customers need to contact you.

It’s a good idea to put signs up a few days before the sale to create buzz. But check with city officials first to make sure it’s permissible. Check the signs each day of the sale to make sure they’re still in place and legible.

Advertise on community bulletin boards. If you place a classified ad in the local newspaper, the paper may give you a free yard sale sign kit. Advertise for free on sites like Craigslist and Yard Sale Search. Also, people in your community may have created a yard sale Facebook page. If so, use it.

6. Don’t go it alone

530058360_51bb9993f0_b

You can’t run a yard sale by yourself. At the minimum, you need someone around for when you take a potty break.

Also it’s good to have more eyes to make sure people don’t make off with your goods without paying. Never leave your money unattended. Keep it on your person. And never let customers you don’t know inside your home.

If you have a good relationship with the neighbors, ask them to help out and also display their items at your sale. Provide them with cold drinks and snacks.

7. Be flexible

2509408406_c548f3b46e_b

Some people always offer to pay full price, but many more love to haggle. Hear them out, and be willing to lower the price as the day goes on. Your goal is to make money from your stuff, rather than taking it to the thrift store.

8. Provide plastic bags

428681674_2fe503b679_b

Want to score cool points with shoppers? Have free plastic bags on hand — the ones you get at the grocery store when you’ve forgotten your canvas bag at home. That way, your customers won’t have to lug around a bunch of small items.

You can also offer a “fill a bag special” on select low-priced items, such as baby clothes, small toys or books. I did this at a flea market sale a few years back and walked away with almost double the amount I anticipated earning for the day.

9. Don’t be a stalker!

7533435008_6b7ac27e4e_k

You want guests to be as comfortable as possible, so have a pitcher of water and disposable cups available. Let them roam freely among the sale items without you standing close by. Always offer a kind greeting and let them know you’re available if they need assistance.

10. Donate what’s left

8087233424_acb066ba43_k

Figure out beforehand which charity will receive what you haven’t sold at the conclusion of the sale. Call and ask about the best times to make deliveries. Some charities will come to your home to pick up large items.

Finally, put the money you’ve earned to good use. If you’re saddled with debt, allocate the funds toward the outstanding balances. Or you can give your savings a boost.

Do you have any great garage sale tips? Share them in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
14 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use
14 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use

Save your money. These items seem alluring but they often end up as coat racks and dust magnets.

7 Hidden Ways to Get More Out of Amazon
7 Hidden Ways to Get More Out of Amazon

You don’t have to be a Prime member to take advantage of these little-known perks of shopping on Amazon.

17 Items Under $40 That Will Organize Your Home
17 Items Under $40 That Will Organize Your Home

These clever products on Amazon can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask
14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask

With these companies, it might be easier than you think to negotiate your monthly bill down.

Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks
Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks

One company claimed the top ranking in several categories.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

8 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
8 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?
Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?

The status of another round of direct payments to taxpayers is a mix of good and bad news.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill
8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill

No matter what price you are paying for internet service, taking these simple steps can lower it.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.