Ultimate Guide to a Successful Garage Sale

No, it’s not spring cleaning time.

However, with the Holidays around the corner, we know your display shelf of quirky gifts from well-meaning relatives is soon to have more eccentric companions joining the party. Of course we love these unorthodox presents aunty gives us every year, but after years and years of collecting dust, they deserve a second chance at life. What better way to find a new home (and get some quick cash) than with a garage sale? 

Garage sales aren’t just for lost relics—or things in garages—you can sell anything that has gone unused in your entire house that you no longer can stand to look at. But to maximize the elimination of these unwanted items (and make some good money), you need to be prepared! 

Here’s how:

  1. Start With a Goal: Do you need to recoup money? Declutter? Find a new family for items you once loved? Knowing why, can help you determine the price of your items and stay focused on the task at hand. For example, if you want to declutter, keep prices fair and be willing to negotiate, because at the end of the day, you just need to get rid of things, and your patrons are doing you a favor. 
  2. Pick the Right Date: Weekends are the best days for a garage sale—bonus points if you host it multiple days so people can come by at their convenience. Don’t start too early, or too late. Choose your date a month ahead of time. 
  3. Collecting the Items: Sorting your items while collecting them saves time when the day of your sale arrives. You’ll already have things organized into categories (kids toys, kitchen wares, etc.) which will simplify your set up when people come to shop. If your sale is messy, people could get overwhelmed and might give up when they don’t find what they’re looking for. 
  4. Advertising: Online ads, flyers, and telling everyone you know on social media is essential! Use catchy phrases and advertise your sought-after items. For example, “Sarah’s Sale, Featuring Like-New Kids Toys and Supplies!” Consider the following online ad options: Craigslist or the CPlus app, Facebook and Facebook Marketplace, GarageSaleFinder.com, Garage Sales by Map, Instagram, Local paper, Yard Sale Treasure Map, YardSales.net
  5. Signage: Hang easy-to-read, weather-proof signs within a mile of your house with heavy-duty tape or nails at traffic-heavy intersections so people can easily read them. Provide all the necessary information, make sure each sign looks the same (so they know it’s the same garage sale). Consider posting directional signs to guide people to your house. 
  6. Have Proper Tools: You’re going to need some essential items to make for a successful sale. You need lots of tables, a cash box, extension cords, light bulbs, batteries etc., so people can make sure things work. Consider these additional items: zip-lock bags, cooler for drinks, hand sanitizer, music, paper clips, pens, receipt book, scissors, sold tags, tape, tape measure, tarps, treats/drinks, etc. 
  7. Set Up the Day Before: Don’t scramble the day of getting things together. If items will be kept outside overnight, cover them with a tarp. 
  8. Plan for After-Sale Pick-Up: We like to think that nothing that went into the sale should go back into your house, even if it wasn’t sold. You set those items out in the garage sale because you didn’t want them—be strong! It’s time to let go. Some charities require a month’s notice to schedule one, so plan ahead. At closing time, let people keep shopping but start moving items to the designated pickup area so you can wrap things up.