How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Garage sales can be a lot of work. You spend hours of your day trying to sell your stuff. Dealing with interesting customers who want to haggle you down ten cents from a twenty five cent item. Then there is the weather… depending on where you live you can’t really know what the weather will be till it gets closer.

How much money will you make at then end of the day? Is it all worth it? Saving all those items for who knows how long just to make some pocket change and most likely having to take most of your items to the Goodwill or save them for the next garage sale.

With these helpful tips you can change your average garage sale to a successful garage sale that people will remember. You will have comments being made on how organized it is. You will hear less haggling on prices. You will make more money!

PicMonkey Collage

1) Collecting: Keep an area that is easy to get to. Have empty bins ready and labeled(garage sale). Through out the year as you come across items you want to get rid of (that are not damaged) put them in the bin for the garage sale. Keep clothes in a separate bin.

2) Pick a Date: It can be hard to pick a date not knowing what the weather will be but aim for a certain date. That way you have a goal. If a week before you see that the weather is going to be bad then change the date to the next weekend.

3) Advertising: You need people to come, so you need to advertise. There is always the newspaper if you want to pay. Craigslist is free and true garage sale shoppers do look on there every weekend. Then there is always the signs. Most places do not allow you to put signs up on street signs. So purchase some inexpensive stakes at your local home improvement store. Some poster board(Dollar Tree is the cheapest) cut into 1/4’s and a Staple Gun. Make the signs simple but readable. GARAGE SALE w/ an arrow, times, and days (fri & sun). Don’t add actual days (23rd) cause you want to be able to reuse these for a few years. You also want to put up the signs the day before. Place them all over the neighborhood with the arrows guiding the customers to your house. Add balloons on your mailbox with a garage sale sign in grass so everyone knows where its at. Keep the signs all on the same color paper too. Do something unique that will stand out so they can keep track of where to go and not go to someone else’s sale. Pink poster board or white poster board with red lettering, etc…

4) Pricing: A few weeks before you sale start to price out your items. You can buy the pre-priced stickers or buy the blank ones. The blank ones you do have to fill out but either way they both work. Remember, you are going to practically be giving this stuff away. If you over price stuff then they want even offer. If you put too low then they will think its garbage. So don’t price stuff thinking that is what you want for it but price thinking how much would you go down on it. Add a little above that because no matter how much they are they are always going to try to go lower. Even if its ten cents.

5) Prepare: Get ready for the big day. The more you get done ahead of time the easier it will go. Gather all those plastic shopping bags you have. Cash box if you have one or you can use a shoe box. Note pad, pen, calculator and change ($10’s, $5’s, $1’s and change). Draw out a map of your driveway or garage and where you want ever thing to go. Clothes in one section, etc…

6) Staging: Think of your garage sale as a store. You want your customers to come to your store and feel comfortable. Everything should be in order and organized. Everything should be off the floor and on tables or plywood that is on blocks. Use awnings for shelter and makes for nice atmosphere. Hang nice clothes from the awning. Clothes should always be in one section and by size and sex. Cooking items all together, bedding together and so on. If you were to go to a store and every thing was mixed together you would probably just leave. Nothing would look appealing. Place table clothes on tables if you would like. Make the space user friendly too. You want people to be able to move around to all sections with nice isles. Check out should be in the back corner. Money should be covered up and never shown to the customer. Place under table if needed with table cloth on top. Nice flowers, music and a plate of cookies adds a nice touch too.

7) Clean: Always make sure that everything is washed and clean. Nothing is worse then walking into a garage sale and there is a pile of dust on an item. Clothes are stained and smell. If you clean the items before you put them in the bins with a lid on them then they will keep clean till the garage sale.

8) Markdowns: On your last day of the sale you can start marking down items that you want to see gone. Remember, what you don’t sell you will have to deal with again. Better to get rid of then to keep.

Once your garage sale is done and you have items left. Take a look at them and see why they didn’t sell. Did you over price them? Where they just junk and useless? You have a few options. You can have another garage sale to try to sell them, donate them to Goodwill or a similar place or save them for next year. You could also try to find a pregnancy crisis center, MOPS, church or even email your local Chamber of Commerce for a place to donate children’s items or maternity clothing.

In the end you will have a more successful garage sale if you plan ahead and have a organized garage sale.

About Leslie Pleasants

Leslie Pleasants is the founder of Today's Every Mom. Inspired by her own busy life with kiddos she set out to create a spot where Moms of any stage or age could find relevant and resourceful advice.


  1. I love to shop at a good garage sale!! We always mark down items on the last day too!

  2. Thanks for the tips. I’m trying to talk my husband into having a yard sale.

  3. I like this, I don;t think anyone ever did a “How to” on this subject!

  4. Thanks for the tips I really need to clean out my storage room and have a sale, but I dread the hassle of getting everything neat and organized!