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How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Amelia has been writing online articles for over ten years and has self-published over a dozen books, including fiction and nonfiction.

Garage Sale

Garage Sale

Planning for a Garage Sale

First things first—start by cleaning out your attic, garage, closets, and basement. Next, make a list of items you can sell. You might want to consider sorting things into several piles, including items to keep, items to give away, items to trash, and items to sell. If you're not sure you want to keep something, ask yourself why you need to keep it. Does it have sentimental value? Does it serve a purpose?

Garage Sales - Items to Sell

Garage Sales - Items to Sell

Items you might consider selling at a garage sale may include:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Furniture
  • Lamps
  • Knick-knacks
  • Vases
  • Candles
  • Jewelry
  • Jewelry boxes
  • Old videos/CDs
  • Tools
  • Christmas decorations

Organize and Sort Your Stuff

Some items are more popular than others at garage sales. The two items that were the most popular at my garage sale were Tools and Jewelry.

If you have boxes of books, drawers of old jewelry, and a garage filled with unused tools, and other items, go through all your items and sort them into four piles:

  • Keep Pile: items you just can’t part with
  • Trash Pile: old, broken or otherwise hazardous items that are only trash worthy
  • Donate Pile: items that won’t sell, but that can be used by Goodwill (your donate pile may increase after your garage sale is over)
  • Garage Sale Pile: items that are in fair to good condition that you can sell

Pick a Good Time of Year to Have Your Garage Sale

The best time to have a garage sale is spring and early summer. If the weather is too cold or too hot, this may deter visitors.

Timing is Everything

If you know of other neighbors who are having a garage sale on a certain day or weekend, join in the fun.

In my case, it was all about the timing. I had already cleaned out my garage recently, and then I saw a sign posted by a neighbor that a neighborhood garage sale was to take place on an upcoming weekend. Once I confirmed the date (including a rain date) and made sure I would be ready, it was time to advertise and do a little social networking.

How to Advertise Your Garage Sale

Once I knew that neighbors were planning a garage sale, I looked online to check for online ads for nearby garage sales. I found some postings on Advertising on this website was free, so I wrote up a description and posted an advertisement for my garage sale. I also include a couple of pictures of items for sale, including an animated Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause and a game table.

I also posted a message on Facebook to alert all my family and friends.

Finally, I invested a couple of dollars and bought a study poster board and some metal stakes for my sign.

Here is my completed sign, which I placed at the end of block at an intersection, about a week before the garage sale:

Garage Sale Sign

Garage Sale Sign

I also used some cardboard from old boxes and made smaller signs to adhere to my mailbox for the day of the sale. The smaller signs contained the words “Garage Sale Today.” I placed them on both sides of my mailbox.

What You’ll Need

  • Several tables
  • Tablecloths
  • Tarp (to lay large or heavy items on grass)
  • An apron with pockets
  • Some small change (dollar bills, and some fives, etc., to have ready if customers need change)
  • Post-it notes, pens, and tape to mark prices on items or tables
  • Radio to play music (this is more relaxing for the customers)
Garage Sale Table

Garage Sale Table

The Day Before the Garage Sale

A day or two before the garage sale, be sure to move all the items you will be selling in your garage or in an area in your house where the items are in close proximity to where you have to move them the morning of the garage sale.

It’s also a good idea to place some items on tables ahead of time and plan how everything will be laid out. This will save you a lot of time and headaches the morning of the garage sale.

I laid out a lot of my items on tables beforehand and took pictures of how I would set everything up.

Tape post-it notes and post prices on as many items as possible. For tables with similar items, such as a book table, post one large sign with a general price for all books.

Garage Sale Table

Garage Sale Table

The Morning of the Garage Sale

Get up very early and eat a good breakfast. My garage sale was scheduled for 8 am to 2 pm, and we started setting up tables outside at about 6:30 am. People were driving up as early as 6:45 am, no lie! There are some early bird garage sale buyers that will arrive extra early, and they will be looking for specific items.

Set up early and be on the lookout for very early visitors! Several older gentlemen arrived early and wanted to know if we had any vintage, antique items, and jewelry. Look out for very early risers and potential buyers!

Post more signs. Place a sign and/or balloons on your mailbox to let visitors know where the garage sale is being held.

Use blankets and tarp too, for displaying items. Lay tarp down on your grass to display large items, toolboxes and other heavier items.

Garage Sale

Garage Sale

Books For Sale

Books For Sale

Jewelry For Sale

Jewelry For Sale

Have a 50% Off Sale During the Last Hour of the Garage Sale

During the last hour, mark down prices, or consider having a 50% off sale. This will help you sell even more items!

Garage Sale Profits

My profits from my garage sale were $236.00. Considering it was only a few hours of planning and half a day’s work, I was happy with the results.

After your garage sale is over, it’s time to clean up shop. If items have not sold, it’s a good time to pack them up in the car and donate them to Goodwill.

If items are too large, putting them out on the curb with a “Free” sign is another alternative.

Spring is right around the corner. Clean out your garage and consider having a garage or yard sale today!

Garage Sale Profits

Garage Sale Profits

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Amelia Griggs


Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on April 29, 2015:

Yes, peachpurple, our trash can be someone else's treasure!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 29, 2015:

I think the signs are the quicker than FB. Good tips and congrats for your grand sale. Trash can become useful too. Turned them into money

Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on March 16, 2015:

Hi peachpurple,

There are several ways to alert your neighborhood about your garage sale. Here's what I did:

1. I made a sign and posted it at the end of the block (and it's best to make it 2 sided, and buy metal sticks to attach to the sign so you can place it in grass; I tried to just use a stick with tape at first, but that didn't hold). There's a picture of my sign in my hub above.

2. Look for online sites that let you post an ad for free. I used and what was cool is that someone in my neighborhood who was also having a garage sale the same day had an ad, so I was thrilled that it turned out to be a neighborhood garage sale.

3. Post a note on your Facebook page to alert neighbors and friends to past the word.

All this worked and I was happily surprised at the people that came. It was fun!

Good luck to you. :-)

peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 16, 2015:

how do you inform your neighborhood about the garage sale?

Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on January 12, 2015:

Hi rebekahELLE, it's definitely worth it once you have sorted and organized all your goods. and remember timing is everything. If you could find out when neighbors are having a garage sale and network to do it at the same time you will get more traffic!

Thanks as always for your comments. :-)

rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on January 12, 2015:

You have some great tips here. I so need to have a garage sale and start downsizing my home. I know organization is key and taking time to do it right. My biggest issue is deciding what I don't want to part with, like antiques. I'm sure some of my antiques are worth more than I realize.

I like the idea of putting down tarp and having a half price sale at the end.

There are garage sales in Florida year round, but mostly in the fall and early spring. There are a lot of entire neighborhood sales which bring in a lot of traffic. Thanks for the tips and for including pics.

Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on December 10, 2014:

I agree, RTalloni, this was a good experience, helped me get rid of lots of used items, and I made some profit too. Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked the hub! :-)

RTalloni on December 10, 2014:

Neighborhood sales are the best! On top of the positives mentioned here, it gives neighbors a chance to connect amid busy lives. You are so right, beginning to plan at the first of the year for a spring event is going to make the most of it.

Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on December 09, 2014:

So true, kikaina. It's great to clean out old items and either sell, then donate them, otherwise, clutter city!

Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the hub. :-)

kikalina from Europe on December 09, 2014:

A yard sale is a fantastic way to clear out your house and as we know space is so precious that we can't afford to hang onto everything we own.

Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on December 09, 2014:

Wow, $400 in 2 days, now that's impressive, LindaSmith1.

Thanks for sharing your garage sale experience!

LindaSmith1 from USA on December 09, 2014:

Years ago, I had a yard sale with a neighbor and literally sold junk I would have normally bagged up and thrown away. We had a fish tank that was cracked and buyer was shown the crack, but took it anyway. I made $400 in 2 days.

In the town I live in, during the summer months yard sales are constant. However, there is one day where it is a community yard sale. You can drive down street after street and find everybody with their goods sitting in their yard for sale.