Garage Sale Tips: The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Garage Sale
I’m going to share 16 of the absolute best garage sale tips on the block with you, so you can have a super successful garage sale – the most cash with the least hassle! The funny thing is that if you had asked me 6 years ago, I would have told you NOT to bother with a garage sale and just donate all your stuff.
I’ve only had two garage sales in my life, and they had drastically different outcomes. What changed? I have a friend who is an absolute garage sale PRO – we’re talking sales that bring in over $1500!!! So I got her best garage sale tips and tricks, tried them myself, and am now here to pass them on to you!
My first garage sale? It was about 6 years ago, I brought in a measly couple bucks, and swore off ever holding a garage sale again – that is, until 5 years later my husband talked me into trying again. I had baby clothes my kids had outgrown, plus all the clutter that accumulates over 5 years of life! I knew it needed to go, and I needed a deadline to get it out of the house.
This time I got advice from an expert and we actually made a lot of money in a pretty short time PLUS I was super motivated to declutter. It was a huge WIN – WIN!
Our Top Garage Sale Tips – and the answers to all your questions!
Keep reading for my top garage sale tips and be sure to sign up below if you want a free step by step guide to hosting a super profitable (and super organized) garage sale. PLUS keep scrolling to the bottom to find out how you can get the ultimate garage sale printable kit that has absolutely everything you need for an organized, profitable garage sale.
If you want to see my video with all my best garage sale tips ready to set you up for a successful garage sale, then click below to view it:
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Question 1: When Is the Best Time to Have a Garage Sale?
Garage Sale Tip #1: Pick a date for your garage sale and commit
Obviously if you live in a subdivision that is hosting a community garage sale event, that would be a fantastic time to hold your garage sale since lots of shoppers will already be out and about. (And check with your HOA because they might have some awesome garage sale tips of their own to offer! Did I miss any? Post it in the comments below!)
But even if you’ll be going it solo, make sure you pick a date and stick it on the calendar. One of the biggest benefits to having a garage sale is that it forces you to declutter and gives you a deadline to get it done. (Although don’t get me wrong – bringing in a little extra cash isn’t too bad either, right!? ?) Don’t fret too much about the exact date, just pick one and put it on the calendar.
Garage Sale Tip #2: Two days are better than one day for a garage sale
Different areas have different typical days for a garage sale, but in my area it’s Friday and Saturday starting at about 8 am. In most areas the morning is prime time. Shoppers start to dwindle by around noon, so I think you can consider ending your sale at noon if you have to.
When picking a date for your garage sale, keep in mind that if you can host it on two days instead of just one, you’ll likely sell a lot more. You’ll have more shoppers if you have more time available to shop.
My BONUS Secret Ninja Trick
If you are able to, leave your garage sale all set up and host it again the next weekend. You’ll get a lot more shoppers this way and you only do the work once! This worked out super well for us.
Question 2: How Do I Prepare For My Garage Sale?
Garage Sale Tip #3: Declutter Ruthlessly
Don’t forget that a big reason for having this garage sale is to DECLUTTER. As soon as you have the date for your sale – get to decluttering like a crazy lady! Now is the time to go through your house and pull out anything that you don’t need or want.
The great thing about decluttering for a yard sale is that extra motivation that comes with knowing each item you get rid of might mean a bit more money!
The more you can plan (and actually do) ahead of time the better. Trust me, you will thank yourself on the day of the sale when things can be crazy.
Go ahead and write up descriptions, price things, etc. I sometimes even put price stickers on items as I am decluttering. My free printable step by step garage sale guide will help you think of everything you need to do ahead of time. Print it out and follow it.
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Question 3: What Sells at a Garage Sale?
Garage Sale Tip #5: Understand that not all things sell equally at a garage sale
When it comes to a garage sale, some items are more popular and sell better than others. Obviously, anything in good condition will sell better that something in poor condition.
Baby & kids clothing, toys, and gadgets sell super well as well as kitchen stuff (dishes, cookware, etc). Adult clothing can sell, but it’s generally not as popular as kids clothing. If you don’t have many of the best selling items, a garage sale might not be worth your time. Having things that are in high demand really is key to making good money at your sale.
Garage Sale Tip #6: Clean Your Stuff
Clean items sell much better than dirty, dingy looking items. So go ahead and clean any items that are dirty or dingy looking: wash the clothing so it smells fresh, clean any dishes or vases, and dust off anything that’s been in storage for a while. Dirty items can turn some buyers off completely. Even if they see just a few dirty items they may assume that everything is dirty.
Question 4: How Do You Price Items at a Garage Sale?
Garage Sale Tip #7: Price Everything Clearly
Well, the short answer here is CLEARLY.
Prices should be clearly, visibly marked for each item. Avoid making people ask or just saying “best offer.” This will turn a lot of shoppers off because some people (myself included) hate the awkwardness of having to ask prices or having to come up with an offer. When every item has a clear price it will make it easier for buyers to purchase.
Our ultimate garage sale printable kit has bright colorful price labels that I recommend printing in advance (on ¾ inch circle labels like this) and having them all ready to go. Ideally, you would price things as you declutter, but I didn’t do that, and it still took me less than 30 minutes to get everything priced once it was set up.
Garage Sale Tip #8: Consider Bulk Pricing Similar Items
If you want to save yourself even more time, bulk price similar items. I recommend keeping it really simple and really clear. For example, we priced each item of baby or toddler clothing at $1 per piece. It was clearly marked with a sign, saved us a ton of time, and didn’t seem to add confusion. We had a few nicer clothing items (either fancy baby girl dresses or outfits that were brand new with tags) that were NOT in the rest of our clothing bins that we priced a bit higher, which seemed to work well for us.
This sounds like a great option for every item at the sale, but allow me to add a note of caution. If you have one table with random stuff for $1 and another table of random stuff for $2, how will you know where it came from when people check out? And often they won’t really remember either – it’s like getting to the checkout at Target and finding out something is missing the UPC code. Plus things can get shuffled around. So when bulk pricing, only price similar items at the same price, and clearly indicate which items you are referring to.
Garage Sale Tip #9: Price It Right
Not only is pricing clearly important, but so is pricing right. If you price things too high, no one will buy. You will often actually make MORE money by pricing things lower.
It’s easy to get emotionally attached to your items or remember how much you paid for the items and price them way too high. Avoid this. It’s only worth what someone will pay regardless of how much YOU PERSONALLY love it or how much YOU ACTUALLY paid for it when you got it. I call these items aspirational clutter – and they can be hard to part with! You can read my full post on dealing with aspirational clutter here.
Regardless of what kind of clutter you're parting with, garage sale prices should be rock bottom prices – even lower than thrift store prices. Also, when you price low it encourages shoppers to buy more. For a lot of items (like clothes and movies and even some toys) we’re talking 50 cents to $1. You get the idea – it should be really cheap!
Question 5: How Much Petty Cash Should You Have On Hand Before Your Garage Sale?
Garage Sale Tip #10: Be Ready to Make Change
You know it’s bound to happen. Someone is going to come up to you wanting to buy that 50 cent happy meal toy for their child and they only have a $20 bill to pay for it with. Having some extra cash on hand is important!
Before the sale, make a time to go to your bank and pick up a roll of quarters, $20 in ones, $30 in fives, and $30 in tens – assuming most of your items are priced in the $0.50 to $15 range.
You’ll be bringing in a lot of cash as the day goes on, so you just need enough to get you through the morning rush before you’re bolstered your cash box.
If you’re looking to sell some more expensive items (workout machines and furniture are some popular items) you may need to break $100 or at least a $50 so make sure you have the cash on hand to do that. (And if offered a $100, look for the color changing ink directly to the right of Franklin. The liberty bell will appear and disappear as you gently turn the bill back and forth.)
Question 6: How Much Money Can You Make at a Garage Sale?
Garage Sale Tip #11: Display items nicely – pretend like it’s a store
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have a friend who has made upwards of $1500 at her garage sales! It all depends on the stuff you have, how you price it, who comes – and how you organize it!
The nicer your items are displayed, the more people will browse and buy. When everything is just thrown on a table, it’s hard for people to find what they want plus it just doesn’t look appealing. When you set it up more like a store, it encourages people to stick around, browse, and it helps them find just what they’re interested in.
Garage Sale Tip #12: Organize the garage sale well – everything should be easy to find
Display items nicely and keep them well organized. Group all the clothes by size. All the kitchen stuff should be together. You want to make it easy for shoppers. Also, label everything clearly. We used the signs from our ultimate garage sale printable pack on the front of our clothing bins. That made it super easy for people to go right to the size they needed.
Garage Sale Tip #13: Give it your full attention
Be prepared to give your garage sale your full attention while it’s going on. You’ll need to frequently be arranging things after people have browsed or after you’ve sold a lot.
Regardless of your reasoning, be sure to mark down all the cash you bring in so you can see just how successful your garage sale really was!
Question 7: How Do I Get People to Come to My Garage Sale?
Garage Sale Tip #15: Advertise your garage sale well using photos if possible
Advertising is essential to a successful garage sale. If people don’t know about it, they can’t possibly come and shop. Make sure to put up plenty of signs! If your kids enjoy being crafty this is where you'll want to get them involved!
Advertise everywhere you can. Craigslist and Facebook are great places to start. Also take advantage of sites like Yard Sale Search and Garage Sale Finder. They're platforms that have already been set up to help you get the word about your garage sale out to the community.
Garage Sale Tip #16: Use photos in your ads
Make sure your ads are very specific – state exactly what items you have available. Being specific about what you have will help you attract shoppers who actually want what you have. Include pictures if you can! We set up our sale a day early. We then posted several photos of everything in a local Facebook sale group. Several people told us they came because of that – they saw something specifically that they wanted.
Question 8: Where Can I Get Those Cute Signs and Labels You Used in Your Garage Sale?
BONUS Tip: Get the Ultimate Garage Sale Printable Pack
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