10 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated July 22, 2021
Little girl makes a garage sale sign
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Following these 10 tips will have you running a successful garage sale and raking in the cash

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If you have a bunch of unwanted items cluttering up your life, why not get rid of them—and turn a profit, too? By following some easy garage sale tips, you can unload the things that aren’t sparking joy and score some extra pocket money while you’re at it.

1. Declutter Your Whole Space

If you’re planning a garage sale, there’s no better opportunity to clean out your whole house. After all, the more items you have, the greater chance you have to make some cold, hard cash. Make it through your entire spring cleaning checklist, picking up forgotten-about items along the way, and you should have a good amount of things to sell once garage sale season hits.

2. Advertise Online and in Your Local Newspaper

Any way you can get the word out is another opportunity for foot traffic. Advertise your garage sale on social media and other online platforms and marketplaces. You can also consider advertising in your local newspaper.

3. Consider Organizing a Community Yard Sale

Multi-family garage sales tend to capture the interest of more buyers, as they know there will be tons of different things for sale. If you’re up for the extra legwork, hop around your neighborhood and knock on some doors. You can organize a profit-sharing system, or you can keep things separated by household.

4. Put Up Lots of Signs

There are plenty of garage sale-goers that regularly scope out neighborhoods for deals. Reel them in with plenty of colorful, quirky signs that advertise the items you have for sale.

5. Organize Your Items

Garage sale items set up on tables
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Many of your shoppers are on the hunt for specific items, so you’ll maximize your sales by keeping things organized and easy to find. Group like items together, similar to how you’d find them in a retail store. 

Some of your departments might include:

  • Clothing (separated by size and type)

  • Collectibles

  • Tools

  • Furniture

  • Sporting goods

  • Home Decor

  • Linens

  • Books

  • Toys

6. Make Your Garage Sale Highly Shoppable

Running garage sales is a lot like running retail stores—you want to make the buyer’s experience as pleasant and simple as possible. You can do this by tailoring the setup and general atmosphere of your garage sale. Below are a few garage sale tips for creating that must-buy experience for your customers.

Maximize Your Curb Appeal

Before you have a yard sale, clean your home’s exterior and spruce it up as much as possible. This will help captivate interested passersby, as it hints that there will be quality items for sale.

Display Items on Tables

Got an aching neck and back? So do your buyers, and no one wants to keep bending over or straining to shop. Displaying things on tables keeps the items at eye level, creating a more comfortable experience for customers.

Hang Up Any Clothes for Sale

If you’re selling a lot of clothes, do everyone (including yourself) a favor and hang them up. Displaying them like this will make them easy to sift through and will prevent you from having to repeatedly refold items throughout the day. You can use clothing racks if you have them handy, or a horizontal ladder will work in a pinch.

Maintain a Comfortable Atmosphere

When your shoppers are comfortable, they're more likely to stay longer and pick out more items. Pop on some easy-listening jams for ambiance. Then, put out some fans and sell bottled water to keep everybody cool. If you have a pop-up canopy, or if you’re able to borrow one, a little extra shade goes a long way.

7. Label Your Things With Price Tags

While some hardcore yard-sale enthusiasts are born hagglers, most people will be more comfortable having a price tag to reference. You can create your own labels or pick up premade stickers if you have a lot of inventory to work through.

8. Make Sure the Price is Right

Figuring out what to put on your price tags can be a challenge: You don’t want to sell yourself short, but you also don’t want to price so high that you can’t move your items. Twenty percent of what you paid is usually the happy medium here but go with your instincts. Be ready to haggle with bargain-hunters if you really want to unload your things. You can check out our ultimate garage sale pricing guide if you’re not sure where to start.

9. Carry Plenty of Small Bills

It would be a colossal shame to miss out on sales due to a lack of change. Go to the bank in advance and grab more small bills than you think you’ll need. If your garage sale stretches over multiple days, check on your stash and return to the bank before opening the next day.

10. Part Ways With Any Leftovers

While it’s nice to score some extra cash, the main objective of a yard sale is clearing out all the things you don’t need. If you were willing to sell it for cheap, then it probably doesn’t have a place in your life anymore.

Once you’ve had a successful garage sale, donate any leftover items to local causes. If you live in a high-traffic neighborhood, you can also leave a “free” box near the sidewalk.

No matter how you do it, just let those extra things go, count up your cash, and enjoy some well-deserved chill time in your clutter-free home.

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