How to have a Successful Garage Sale

Tips for a successful Garage Sale!!

There are a variety of tips out there for having a successful garage sale! But garage sales do not happen over night!!!  Oh sure!  You could take a bunch of your old junk and throw it out on blankets in your driveway and hope that someone comes by to buy it all up!!  But, Garage Sales have become an Art form!! And a SUCCESSFUL Garage Sale has become a Work of Art!! So I thought I would provide my top ten tips for a successful garage sale!


Over the years, I have attended garage sales that were Fantastic and those that were Disasters!! I have even HAD a couple of garage sales that could be categorized the same way!!  So, when I began to research the difference between good and bad, it all made sense!!  I am going to list just the GOOD tips for  a SUCCESSFUL garage sale. Follow the list of tips and you WILL make MOOLA!!!


Set a date:  Getting up this morning and deciding that you are going to sell half of what you own is not a wise idea.  Setting a date gives you a deadline for organizing items, allowing you to really go through closets to find the old clothes and shoes and emptying out the back corners of garages where there are boxes full of things that you haven’t seen since you moved in.  Having a planned date gives you the skeleton to create a SUCCESSFUL garage sale! 05-yard-sale

Title the Event:  “Moving Sale” and “Estate Sale” usually means that “Everything MUST Go!”  These titles also indicate that prices are negotiable, especially on the last day of the sale.  “Garage Sale”, “Tag Sale” and “Yard Sale” mean that you have selected things you would like to get rid of and have a particular price in mind.  I have seen these types of sales to include “Art Sale” where an artist is selling off their abundance of paintings.  “Craft Sales” include selling craft materials and equipment.  There are “Tool Sales” and “Automotive Part Sales” and “Baby Stuff Sales”.  “Specialty Sales” allows the seller to only get rid of certain items instead of going through the whole house!


Check with Officials on Rules and Regulations: Each community seems to have its own rules regarding garage sales.  Some communities are very stringent in what they will allow the seller to do.  They control signage, frequency and hours of sales along with permits.   Other communities are more relaxed on their requirements and will work with the seller.  Then there are Other communities who will sponsor an ALL Community Garage Sale once a year!! These Community  Affairs have been proven extremely successful and thousands attend from far and wide


Advertisements:  Signage is Excellent!! Post simple “Yard Sale” or "Garage Sale" signs on strategic corners with the address and time clearly posted and readable from inside a car.  Also advertise on Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter.  Local newspapers usually have a column dedicated to sales for just that weekend.  Don’t forget to advertise in the weekly free publications and put up signs and flyers on bulletin boards in grocery stores and churches.


Time:  Most Garage Sale Followers start very early, sometimes too early.  Clearly designate what time you will begin and stick with it!!! 8 am is an excellent time to throw open the doors of the garage!  By mid afternoon, many sellers are exhausted hot and ready to pack up.  When advertising, make sure to clearly indicate the hours of operation!!  I have been to many a sale that has closed up shop 2 or 3 hours early!!! It is frustrating since I have driven far to make it to the sale.  Stay open until your final advertised hour!


Set Up:  Set up as much as you can as early as you can inside your garage.  This will leave only the items to be pulled out onto the driveway on the day of the garage sale to contend with.  Make sure to leave room between tables for people to comfortably walk around items.  I always think, “bull in china shop” when setting tables in the garage. Also, group “like” items together.  Put all the kitchen items on one table and tools on another.  Have a short table or boxes set up for toys so that children can go through them.  Blankets, curtains and quilts should be hung from hangers.  I have attached a rope from my garage light to the front yard tree and hung these items.  Clothes can be hung on hangers from another set of ropes and be divided by Men’s, Ladies, and Children.  Books can easily be presented on a table or in boxes.  If possible, divide the books or magazines into categories and sell the whole box for a set price. Dishes should be gathered in sets and can be sold individually or altogether.


Layout: Where you put things in your Layout is also very important.  Put the heaviest items closest to the end of the driveway.  Not only is this closer to the buyers truck or car, but you don’t have to haul it through things and risk breakage. Expensive items should stay close to where you are going to sit or keep your closest vigil.  Jewelry and heirlooms and antiques should be kept under a roof and close to the household door.


Haggling:  This is a talent to deal with, unfortunately, not one I am good at. Some people simply refuse to price anything and allow the haggling to go on par for the course.  Others price things as per the layout: everything on this table is $1, everything on that blanket is $2, etc.  Then others have spent days and weeks applying stickers to absolutely everything and they are going to “Stick” with the price!!  My experience of 45 years going to garage sales has taught me that by the last day at the last hour, the seller is willing to take whatever they can get just so that they don’t have to haul the item back into their house!!!  I have bought a whole leftover garage sale for $15 and resold it all at my own garage sale.  But, the art of haggling must come with some kindness.  The owner had this item in their life with a purpose and offering an embarrassing low price on something is simply that – embarrassing!!! If you start by saying, “Is this the best price?” more than likely the owner will come back with another price lower than what is on the sticker. If you don’t like that price, you can always set the item down and come back later with another offer! 09-yard-sale

Ambiance:  One sale I went to, the seller had classical music playing in the background. Their children had made an adorable lemonade stand out of boxes and they had a box of FREE kitties!  It was like going to a grand opening of a boutique!  I ended up lingering and buying more than I usually would because the ambiance was so contagious and positive!  They even had furniture set up as it would look in a living room and a dressing room made from sheets handing from the tree!!  Another sale had a series of Artist Tents set up with like items displayed under each canopy.  I felt as though I was at an art show or a Flea Market instead of a garage sale!  Again, I spent a lot!!! Ambiance makes the shopper feel good.  A shopper who feels good spends money.  Spent money makes the Seller Happy!!


Money:  Money is what this is all about and there are some tricks to handling your cash!  First…everything is CASH!! No checks, credit cards or debits.  It is a rule and everyone adheres to it!!  Price everything in round numbers:  25¢, $1, $5, $20.  Have Change!!!! The first customer of the day will probably ask to break a hundred!!! Of course, you can’t but have plenty of change and lots of ones and several fives handy.  The rest will accumulate during the sale! And KEEP YOUR MONEY CLOSE!  Wear an apron with pockets or keep the money in a change purse in your pocket. Do Not Use a moneybox!!! Temptation is not needed!!! shutterstock_125292026


Having a Yard/Garage/Tag/Estate/Moving Sale is hard work!!! It takes time and labor and organization. It takes a little bit of up front cash to get it started, but in the end it can be so worth it!!!


You meet the most interesting people at these garage sales! There were the two sisters who bought my original (made by my mom) Barbie House.  They investigated, tested, scrutinized and analyzed that house!  Finally they offered $2. I told them my mom made it for my sister and me. They looked at me and asked, “Do you really want to sell it?”  I told them I was a grown up now and yes, I would sell it to them for $2.25. They looked at each other and then me and said, “DEAL!”  Those two sisters gingerly set the house on their red rider wagon and carefully took it home where new memories would be made from my “Old Stuff”. shutterstock_53340598


Until Next time!

Keep on Junkin’


Amy's Heart

Back to Blog
Leave a reply