Planning & Running Your Garage Sale

Filed Under: Garages

How to make a garage sale profitable and successful

Ever tried selling your stuff by having a garage sale? If you haven’t and really want to try it or if you’ve tried but the sale failed, read on to find out what makes a garage sale successful. Without planning and preparation, your first garage might soon be called your last. Yes, you can actually make money but you must put time and effort into the sale. So, if you don’t have a full weekend to devote to the sale or if you don’t have help from your family or friends, don’t take on the challenge. Being organized, planning for your sale and having the support from family or neighbors makes the sale a lot easier.

Weeks (or months, depending on how fast you want to prepare) leading up to the sale, spend time going from room to room in your house looking for things to sell. Be thorough, making sure to open every closet, drawer, and cabinet in the room. Don’t forget to look at your furniture and what’s hanging on the walls. If you no longer use or like the item, put it in your garage sale pile. People are very surprised at what sells, but the obvious no no’s are things that are stained, broken, missing pieces, or torn. Everything else might be worth trying to sell.

Some people that have a garage sale each year gather things year round and designate a shelf or table in their basement to hold things until the sale weekend. That might be something to consider if you want to slowly gather things over months. After you’ve gathered items in one spot, sit down and pick out a weekend to run your sale. A one or two day sale will do but make sure you get a garage sale permit from your local city or suburb officials. Most villages or suburbs will have guidelines and be sure to get those guidelines early so you know what is and isn’t allowed.

Garage Sale Essentials

  • Buy Garage Sale pricing stickers (found at your local office supplies store) and price everything. Large poster boards with general pricing guides can be posted to sell clothes and books.
  • Schedule a charity to pick up the stuff that doesn’t sell the week after the garage sale. That way your garage won’t be filled with leftover stuff that didn’t sell.
  • Make sure you have plenty of change- different dollar bills and coins, when you open the morning of your sale.
  • Clear out all those shopping and grocery bags you’ve been saving. You can now use them up as people buy things.

Supplies to Advertise your Garage Sale

  • Buy Flag Banners and Balloons (found at party supply stores) for your front yard to catch people’s attention
  • Make Garage Sale Signs on Poster Boards-include your address, an arrow pointing people towards your house & time of the sale.
  • Place an ad in your local town’s online wbsite or newspaper. The newspapers usually have a section specifically dedicated to garage sales listings.
  • Placing an ad insures traffic to your sale and it doesn’t cost much. This is definitely a must.

Optional Supplies to Consider

  • If you don’t have enough tables to place your items on, try asking family, friends, or neighbors to borrow theirs. If all else fails tables can be rented at a low cost.
  • Save your hangers from the dry cleaners so that you can hang some of the nicer clothes. Two ladders and a pole create a makeshift clothing rack.
  • Get creative by looking around the house or garage to see what you can use. Boxes or crates can hold books on the floor and the furniture you’re selling can hold a few items as well.
  • Making your items to sell presentable and organized to the shopper will make a big difference. Don’t just toss things into piles for customers to dig through. Presentation does count.
  • Consider enlisting neighbors to host a sale on the same day of your sale. The more garages or yards open with sales, the larger the crowd it will draw. You can also split advertising costs with your neighbors.
  • If you’re still on the fence about hosting a sale, read my tips on whether or not you should host a garage sale.
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