Are you looking for an easy way to make some extra money? Or maybe declutter your house? If you answered yes to any of these questions, having a garage sale may be the answer. Below we’ve outlined some of the best garage sale tips, best yard sale tips for sellers, yard sale tips for pricing your items, and printable price tags for your garage sale. Garage sales are a great way for people who want to get rid of their old goods to make some money by selling their items.
Our Best Garage Sale Tips for Success
Set a date for your garage sale.
Plan a date that is a few months out before your sale’s actual date. In most areas, you’ll attract the most customers on weekends. Saturday morning and Sunday morning are always good days to attract the most customers.
Get any necessary permits for your garage sale or yard sale.
It’s always a good idea to check with the local city hall or city clerk’s office to see if a “garage sale permit” is needed. While they are on the phone, see if there are any city-wide garage sale dates set.
I’ve heard some communities offer a neighborhood sale. Consider holding the sale on one of those dates to increase the traffic and sales if there are any in your location.
Our city has two dates, one in the summer and one in the fall. These two dates seem to bring in more traffic for us than holding a separate sale.
People are ready to start looking at your stuff in the early morning, sometimes as early as 6:00 a.m. The earlier you can open is prime for getting a lot of traffic. It seems that everyone is looking to see your best stuff before everyone else.
Side note: Check with your city to see if they have a large trash pick-up scheduled right after these sales. This is to help individuals dispose of leftover items that you might not want to keep. If your city doesn’t offer this, you may need to contact your trash company to set up a large trash pick for bulky, oversized items you wish to throw out.
Make a list of people that can assist you in the yard sale.
Make a list of friends, family, neighbors that might consider helping with the sale. More hands are always better to help organize, price, and move any heavy items to get the sale ready for the big day. They may also be great to help on the official sale day. Move some of the tables, clothes hanging racks, boxes, oversized items out onto the driveway. A couple or more strong guys will come in handy.
Once the list is complete, start contacting them and letting them know the date of the sale. Confirm as many people as you can so you have enough help if someone must cancel last minute.
Consider asking several of your family members or friends if they’d like to bring some of their items to your sale. It could help them sell some of their things, and they probably would be happier to help you set up and clean up after the sale. It will also provide your customers with more items they can purchase.
Set up a staging area.
Use your garage for the staging area. Start by removing all unnecessary clutter from the garage. Move any unnecessary items to the basement or put them in the backyard if they can be stored outside.
Next, move all your stuff out of the garage’s center and towards the walls as close as you can get them. Consider using a tarp or painter’s cloth to cover all the items, not for sale. It will help cut down on all the questions and makes your garage items stand out.
Once you have all these things in place, it should open an area where you can set up all the tables you will be using. You can set up any long folding tables or card tables to help save you from back pain. I recommend the garage, so you don’t have to move all the items to the garage once you’re ready to have the sale.
You might have another area of your home which you’d prefer or works better to set up your staging area. It doesn’t matter as long as you have space to do the next step.
Declutter your home room by room.
Start with one room and remove all the items you want to sell. Take all the things to your designated area for organizing and pricing.
(Tip: To declutter the closest, think about pulling all items out and onto the bed and floor. Physically touch each item and make sure it’s something you love and wear regularly before deciding to keep it. You can make a pile of keep or sell. After the sale, you can determine if you’d like to donate any leftover items or simply trash them. This works well for those hidden items you might not see or have forgotten about in bags or boxes in your closet. This process can really help to declutter your closets while helping you find more things you want to sell and get out of your home).
Repeat this process throughout your home, closets, garage, and basement.
For extra motivation, I always remember this saying. “If you haven’t worn it or used it in one year, it’s time to get rid of it.” It makes sense as it is an unnecessary item that you are storing. If you want to declutter your home, this is an excellent way to start on that journey. Besides, if you ever need an item, you get rid of you can always go back and purchase a new one.
It’s always hard getting rid of things that are like-new or are new with the tag still on the item. We sold a lot of baby clothes that still had tags on them. Someone got a great deal while helping us declutter. Have a look online to compare your item’s current value when you price them, especially when selling clothing that is like new. Try to price items at 10 to 25% of their original value while not pricing anything above $100. If you have something that expensive you may not want to put it in your yard sale. Most garage sale shoppers are looking for a deal so price items accordingly while making the most money possible for your garage sale or yard sale.
Once you’ve collected all of your items, it’s time for the next step.
Printable Price Tags for Garage Sale
Items you’ll need to prep for your garage sale.
- Masking tape. Masking tape is an easy and affordable way to price all the items. Stickers are another way but can get expensive. They can be a bargain deal if you are looking for a quicker, easier way to mark all your items.
- Marker. A black marker stands out on the masking tape to make the prices easier to see.
- Printable price tags for garage sale – We were tired of trying to use tape to mark our items, so we created a Garage Sale Printable Toolkit (289 pages with customized pricing labels) and also offers you printable price tags for your next garage sale. It includes customized templates for dot-size peel stickers. Once printed they can be peeled and placed on the items. Check out this page, Garage Sale Printable Toolkit to get your easy-to-use toolkit. We also include 8.5×11 category signs Click the link to see all the other items in this toolkit. Once you purchase, you can use the files over and over again for any other future yard sales or garage sales.
- Spreadsheet or Signs. Make a spreadsheet of the items and print a few to place on tables if your grouping items by the price, but this can get confusing. If you are grouping similar items, make a sign for each table with the price. It can be demanding as you will have to remember which table all the things are on when purchasing. We’ve always priced each item with a piece of masking tape by marking the price on it, making it easy to total their purchase.
- Homemade signs. If the city allows signs/posters, it’s a great way to post them on major roads near the sale with a simple statement of “Garage Sale” and the garage sale’s address and date(s). (Note: Be sure to check with the city to ensure you comply with all the rules and regulations. If you don’t, there could be a hefty fine.)
- Money to make change.
- One roll – Pennies
- One roll – Nickles
- One roll – Dimes
- 25 One Dollar Bills – $25
- 6 Five Dollar Bills – $30
- 2 Ten Dollar Bills – $20
- 1 Twenty Dollar Bill – $20
Once the sale gets going, you should have plenty of money to make the correct change, so you don’t have to run and get more money. Having enough small bills when opening your sale is important so you can make proper change.
- Fully charged phone. There are a couple of reasons for this. In this day and age, some people may ask if you accept online payments such as PayPal, Venmo, Stripe, Apple Pay, etc. You’ll want to give them your info to pay and make sure that their payment went through before they leave with the items.
- Safe location to keep your money. Some examples are a shoebox, old cigar box, drawer, etc. Once we started to sell items and started bringing in cash, we quickly took the extra inside and placed it in our money box. We used an old cigar box to keep the funds inside our home, so the cash was accessible to make change, but no one had to watch the cash box.
- Have an Extension cord handy. Extension cords are a must if you are selling anything that runs on electricity. You can quickly plug in a small refrigerator your kids used in college, an electric weed eater, any power tools, etc. Most people will want to verify that the item works before they purchase it. Having one plugged in can quickly show that the thing works while keeping an eye on your sale. If you have to stop and hunt for one, you might miss a sale or, worse yet, have some items disappear without your knowledge.
- Lawn chairs, fans, light jackets, etc. Be comfortable during your sale. A lawn chair or comfortable chair will come in handy if you plan on spending the day or a couple of days outside. Prepare for a chilly day or a hot day. Check to make sure there is no inclement weather forecasted for the day of your garage sale. A light jacket or fan is a great idea depending on the weather that day.
- Prepared snack items. It never fails that you are having a great sale, and you start to get hungry when there are a ton of people at your sale. Having a light snack prepared ahead of time can help you continue your sale without stopping it and packing everything away to get something to eat. Examples of a few easy recipes are a casserole prepared ahead of time, cut and ready veggies, premade sandwiches, cut apples, fruit, as well as a bag of chips, and your favorite drink.
- Flashlights. Flashlights are handy if you are getting an early start. It can still be dark outside if you want to open at 6:00 a.m. for the early birds. Setting things up in the dark can also be challenging.
- Bags for your customers. Start saving your old grocery bags to put the items your customers purchase in a bag.
- Tips on pricing your garage sale items.
If you’ve ever been to or held a garage sale, then you’ll already know that you won’t be able to pull a premium price for your items. Potential customers are looking for the cheapest bargains or the best deals they can find and usually will walk away from too high-priced items even if it looks like good stuff. So, make sure to set your prices accordingly to have a successful sale while still being able to draw people to your yard sale.
I remember my aunt holding a sale, and one of the shoppers was going to walk away from a lovely glass vase if she didn’t lower her price from a quarter to a nickel.
Garage Sale Printable Toolkit (289 pages)
We created the Garage Sale Printable Toolkit to help with making our garage sales easier when trying to organize and price our items.
The Toolkit comes with 289 pages of different layouts, colors, sizes, and different items.
Best Yard Sale Tips for Pricing
- Consider going to a few yard sales or garage sales in the weeks before the sale.
- While browsing items, listen to the conversations, see if someone is asking for a lower price.
- Listen to see how much lower they are asking for the item.
- Find out if the sale owner is willing to come down any amount.
- Does it sound like they are having a successful yard sale?
- What do their garage sale prices look like? Too high, too low, etc.
- If so, how much were they willing to come down on their price? It can give you an idea of what others are willing to pay in your area.
Tips to Advertise Your Garage Sale or Yard Sale
Best Yard Sale Tips for Sellers
There are several online sites where you can list your yard sale to advertise. Gsalr, Garagesalefinder, or Yardsales are three search sites where you can list a garage sale and see if a featured placement is right for you. They are a fantastic way to find some garage sales in your area if you want to check some out ahead for pricing items.
Advertise on Craigslist. It can be another site to list your sale. It is easy to do, and the ad is free.
I’ve seen several people list their sales and took pictures to include in the post to show all the different items to draw more people to their sale.
Make a simple flyer with the garage sale information, the date, and location. Check with all the local businesses you frequent and ask if they would hang the flyer. Grocery stores usually have a board to post on. Just ask if you can hang the flyer on their board. Other places are local small businesses such as beauty shops, pet groomers, and your church.
Word of Mouth
Tell all your friends, family, neighbors, church friends, people at your barber or beauticians the date. Tell them about the best items to draw more people, and you might even sell some things before your sale. Next, share the sale details with your friends on social media such as Facebook. If you have a lot of friends, you never know who might show up.
Signs are a must-have item to get the most traffic. They can be inexpensive. Use some old cardboard boxes that are lying around the house and some markers. Put up enough signs starting at the most traveled roads around your home and work your way into your subdivision, then to your home. It’s sometimes what real estate agents will do when holding an open house. Use the best color marker to make it easy to see and read. Put “Garage Sale” across the top in large letters. Then put an arrow directing them in the right direction. Next, place the address, making it clear and easy to read. In our area, you can put them on homemade stakes on public property. Be sure to check with your local city hall before placing them to ensure you aren’t violating any laws or ordinances. Usually, on the weekends, I’ll see big trucks putting out signs and taking them down before the weekend is over. These larger companies may get a permit to place signs on weekends. Your city hall or clerk’s office should be able to tell you what is allowed in your area. Write down and keep the person’s name that you speak with at city hall if someone complains and calls the police. You can simply explain who you spoke with and, if needed, show any permit(s) you obtained. You can check out the garage sale kits on Amazon to see if any kits or signs may help you with your marketing to cut down on a potential sale.
Tips to clean and prepare your garage sale items
- At this point, you should have all the necessary marketing items ordered and piles or groups of items for your sale. Now, you are ready to clean and prepare all the things for your sale to bring in the most money for them.
(Note: Scheduling a weekend to get all the cleaning done can be helpful, but you might like doing little cleaning tasks throughout the week to save your weekends. Just remember those more oversized outdoor items may take some time to clean and dry before the big day.)
- Power wash any outdoor items that need to be cleaned. Things you may need are a power washer, garden hose, buckets, old cloths, soapy water, brushes, gloves to wear, eye protection, etc.
- Once all the items are washed and dried to your satisfaction, it’s time to start going through the articles. Grouping them before you begin can be very helpful. For example, place all hanging clothes on a rack so people can see each item. Borrow tables if needed so there is enough table space to display all your clothes in an organized order, and collect storage containers and boxes, etc., for when you get all items priced for staging them.
- Bulk pricing related items can help save you time when pricing them, and one sign can cover a lot of similar articles. An example may be pricing all used women’s shoes at $1 or $5, whatever price makes sense. Then you’ll know when someone brings up a pair of women’s shoes, they are the price you set. Putting one sign with women’s shoes for $5 is a lot easier than pricing all the items separately. If you forget the price, you can find the sign to verify what you are charging.
No matter what sorting method you use, you are on your way to a successful garage sale. Double-check that all items are marked with your price to cut down on questions and remember what price you were asking.
Tips for the day before your sale
- Sweep or use a lawn blower to clean your driveway and sidewalks.
- Water and clean up any old flowers, flowerpots, etc.
- Mow and trim your yard so your grass is short and looks impressive.
- Wipe down any chairs, stools, tables that you will be using.
- Ask neighbors if you can park your car(s) in front of their home or park in their driveway during the sale. This will give your customers plenty of room to shop and place items in your driveway.
- Double-check all your signs and that you have enough to place around your neighborhood. Be sure to check that everything on the sign is easy to read. Get your tape, stakes, posters, etc., ready to go for the following day.
- Run to the bank to get any necessary change for your sale.
- Make an easy breakfast casserole or souffle the night before so you’ll have something quick and nourishing to eat during your sale. You might want to make up some iced tea or other beverage you enjoy.
- Have all your tables with items ready and any rolling hangers for clothing.
Note: First impressions are essential. If your house and items look nice, they will feel like you’ve taken good care of them and more likely to want to purchase from you.
Garage Sale Tips for the Day of Your Yard Sale
- If you have two or more people helping you, assign one to hang your signs, cook the breakfast and start your coffee, and one to get downstairs to get your garage open and all your items out of your house for your sale.
- Pull all things out of your garage and stage your items.
- Shoes sorted men’s/women’s/kids as well as by size.
- Tables and chairs with chairs placed around the table
- Any expensive items should be watched and kept close by one of the people helping with the sale.
- Folding and putting all clothing in the same direction, similar to a store.
- Keep all sets of dishes together to show the complete set
- Games and puzzles should be stacked and facing outward nicely so everyone can read the name of the game or puzzles.
- Hang clothes on racks and are evenly spaced and not crowded, so customers can easily see each item hanging.
- Open bins are pulled forward to show your items.
- Home decor items can be placed outside if they are large to make more room in your garage if the weather is nice.
Note: These garage sale tips can increase your chances of selling your items to potential buyers.
- Collect your cash box and cash and get ready for your first customers.
- Welcome all your shoppers, with a friendly smile and greeting. Try to chat with them and make them feel comfortable. Striking up a conversation can be a great way to find out what they are looking for and point them in the right direction if you have those items.
- Have your grocery bags on hand and ready for your customer’s purchases near the checkout area.
- Think about offering them a free drink of lemonade you made or a cold bottle of water. Customers may spend more time looking at your items and spend more with your kindness.
- You might have small, partially broken items that still work or are not worth selling. Place them in a free box and offer them to customers. They may feel like they are getting a bargain and spend more with you.
- Rotate bathroom breaks with the others helping you with your sale. Be sure to keep someone out with the customers to avoid theft and for safety.
- If you are having a great sale, frequently deposit large amounts of money inside your home in a safe area. You might also consider wearing a fanny pack to store your money until you can take it inside.
- Stay hydrated during hot days. Wear sunscreen when necessary or stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Remember to frequently arrange your items as some items are sold or have been heavily browsed to create an organized, appealing presentation.
Tips for After Your Profitable Garage Sale Ends
- Take pictures of any leftover stuff. When your sale is over is the best time to take a few shots of all remaining items. You can then list your items online. Facebook marketplace is a great place to start. Join a group if you aren’t a part of one in your area. List all the items you still have remaining to attempt to sell before donating or disposing of them.
- Craigslist or eBay are fantastic online options you might consider trying to list your items. If priced right and it is a hot item, people should be interested and want to purchase those last items.
- Consignment shops are great if you have any nice clothing that isn’t damaged. Most consignment shops won’t take dirty items, worn, or damaged items.
- Pawnshops could be another alternative if your items would fit what they sell. Pawnshops generally like jewelry, tools, music instruments, firearms, camping gear, and knives. Call a pawn shop near you and let them know the items you have. They may be interested in purchasing them.
- Decide if you might like holding one of the other types of sales. Consider holding another garage sale, yard sale, tag sale, or rummage sale. Holding another sale may be a great way to bring you the most money that you can save.
Tips on Cleanup after the sale ends
If you still have nice items, you may consider folding and storing them in a bag or bins for a brief time. This way they will be clean and ready for your next yard sale. You may want to hold another garage sale later in the year to try and get rid of the remaining leftover items. Consider storing them in a cool, dry area of your home to prevent mold.
If you know you would like to get rid of all the items and don’t want to go through any of the other steps, make two piles. Make one pile for donations to go to a local thrift store and another pile for trash collection. Sort into the correct piles, place all the trash in cans, and be ready for your next trash collection. Hopefully, your town is like ours and offers heavy trash collection just after the city-wide garage sale dates for the year.
Collect all other items and place them in boxes, bins, etc., to take to your favorite donation site such as Goodwill. If you have many items to donate, call them ahead as they only accept so many things at one time. After you deliver them, you can ask for a receipt to give to your tax professional at tax time. (We are not tax professionals and are NOT providing tax help. You should always seek the advice of a tax professional for all tax-related information.)
Tips for celebrating a successful sale
Here are a few ideas to celebrate with your cash.
- Clean up and spend some quality time with your family and friends. After all, you’ve worked hard to pull off a successful garage sale.
- Consider using your new money towards building an emergency fund.
- Consider paying down or paying off any credit card bills that you owe.
- Pay off a car note.
- Save for big-ticket items where you can pay cash and not go into debt.
- Help someone you love that is in need.
- Invest it into one of your investment portfolios. It might even produce more money over time.
What are your best garage sale tips?
1. Get rid of all clutter from your home that doesn’t give you joy and isn’t needed. You can go through literally everything in the house if you want to have a successful garage sale: kitchenware, electronics, items stored in your basement and garage.
2. Add color-coding labels on things that are for sale and those that aren’t with their corresponding prices per item and put them in groups that make sense (i.e., Clothes or Kitchen Appliances).
3.Open your garage sale/yard sale early. Most bargain hunters will be ready to purchase items as early as 6 a.m.
What should I do with items that don’t sell?
- Try selling them on other online marketplaces such as Facebook, Craigslist, etc.
- Try selling them at consignment shops, flea markets, etc.
- Donate them to helpful organizations such as Salvation Army, Churches, or homeless shelters.
- If you are looking to get rid of them, you can always through them away at your next trash pickup time.
How much can you make at a yard sale?
It really depends on what you’re selling, the time of year, and how much of a bargain hunter your customer base is. In general, you can make between $30-$200 at a garage sale.
If you have expensive items to sell such as music instruments, gaming systems, tools, power equipment then you may make much more.
What items do you think are the best to sell at a garage sale?
CDs and DVDs
Clothes/Shoes (depending on the season)
Household items that people are looking to purchase secondhand (i.e., furniture, kitchenware, home decor, etc.)
Do items have to be in pristine condition to sell at your garage sale?
The answer is no, they don’t have to be. Many people are looking for these types of used goods because they can use them as-is or opt to give it a little TLC themselves. There’s not really anything wrong with an item that might need some minor repairs or has one more flaw – it just means that you’re offering things for less than what the new market price would be.
Best Garage Sale Tips Summary
Be sure to bookmark this post for your next garage sale or yard sale. The above tips have taken us years and many garage sales to accumulate. Following all the above steps should help lower stress for a seamless event.
Hopefully, it will help you eliminate all the extra clutter from your home and turn it into some extra cash.
What do you think about these garage sale tips? Let me know in the comments.
Know anyone who might enjoy this post? Feel free to share the link or post to your favorite social media.
I hope you enjoyed this guide on the best garage sale tips.
As you discovered the advantages of garage sales far outweigh the disadvantages and focusing on the yard sale tips for pricing can help you make your next garage sale or yard sale come together easier and more efficient. Now that you know the best yard sale tips, you can incorporate the printable price tags for garage sale and yard sale easier.