19 Garage Sale Tips (How to Have a Successful Garage Sale)

We can all agree there is always cleaning or organizing to be done, but what to do with it?

…Why not throw a garage sale?

Make money while getting rid of your stuff. Use our best garage sale tips to host a successful garage sale! So, get out those signs, organize those piles, and get to pricing.

Tips for How to have a Successful Garage

19 Best Garage Sale Tips & Tricks

How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Been eyeing those new shoes, maybe planning a Disney vacation (stay tuned on that one!) or maybe you just want some extra cash to help pay for back to school shopping?

….We could all use extra dollars in our pockets.

So, let’s have a garage sale!

I feel awkward walking around people’s garages, but some people are downright experts. My mother in law, for instance, is a pro. I gave her an “ask” last year; size 10 tap shoes because my oldest was starting tap in the fall. By the end of the day she had in her possession not one but two pairs of tap shoes.

Some of you out there are experts in going to garage sales, but how are you in having garage sales?

These quick & easy garage sale tips will have you a successful garage sale in no time. So, get your pile of stuff and price gun ready! It’s sellin’ time.

Quick Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

#1 Get a Tough Skin

That incredible collection of beanie babies, once worth well over $400, is now reduced to a few pennies. Don’t let this get you very upset. Get some tissues and put the 5 cents sticker on them…they are moving out! You will be happier when you are using your garage sale items for new family fun!


#2 Price to sell. How to Price Garage Sale Items:

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

Garage sale items need to be priced at you-don’t-need-this-but-it’s-so-cheap-you-kind-of-do-now prices.

Even though you paid $20 for a brand new item does NOT mean that you will get $15 out of it.  Depending on the item, you will probably get $5. Rule of thumb: 20% of what you paid for it.

Pro tip: Kid clothes can be hard to part with, but if you want to move them, price them $1 piece.

Quick tip: If you want to get the most money out of your stuff, a garage sale is NOT the way to go. Try eBay, CraigsList or Facebook’s Marketplace to connect with buyers searching exactly for what you have to sell. Then, figure out how to price your garage sale items.


#3 Garage Sale Signs: Get the word out.

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

Clearly direct cars to your house from the main streets. Pick up signs at The Dollar Store and put bold arrows (we’re talking black Sharpie here, not a pen) on them.

Find out if your neighborhood (or a nearby one) is planning on doing a neighborhood-wide sale and piggyback on that traffic.

You can also post your garage sale for free on CraigsList.org.


#4 Keep Your House Locked Up & Safe

Make sure that you, your family and your home is safe. The house should be locked and by no means a stop for the restroom for anyone. Doors, gates, windows should be locked and blinds should be closed.

As for yourself, make sure that you have a cell phone or house phone nearby. Larger bills and money should be hidden; if you can bribe a friend or spouse with lunch and have them sit with you, all the better!


#5 Keep the Kids Occupied (Make Your Life Easier)

Get a babysitter for the kids or organize a playdate. You don’t want to have to keep an eye on them around cars and the busier-than-normal street. There’s also a chance if you put a toy in the sale, they are going to want it back!

OR, if your kids are older…


#6 Get your kids involved.

Garage sales are a geat excuse for our whole family to be outside. My kids learned quickly the advantage of clearing out old stuff in exchange for some cash. They each took a table and offered help (probably too much) and assistance in selecting items. If anything sold from their table, they earned a commission.


#7 Clean out the garage

First, you want to make sure all items you aren’t selling are out of eyesight to potential buyers and unfortunately thieves. If you can’t hide them, it’s best to put a tarp over them so there is no question.

Second, you are going to need a place to lay out everything to make it easier on sale morning to just drag out and go.
Having a clean space to organize & prepare will help your garage sale run smoother.


#8 Use tables to lay your stuff out

If you didn’t store your belongings on the ground in your home; people aren’t going to want to buy them if you put them on the ground during the sale. The only thing that should be lower than table height are kids toys & games.

Make tables out of sawhorses and plywood if you have to.

If you have to have things on the ground put something under them, like a sheet, blanket or tarp.

Pro tip: Tables & tarps will also make it easier for you to drag your things out of the garage each morning. (Hello, extra 15 minutes of sleep!)


#9 When to Plan Your Garage Sale

The earlier, the better. People can shop before work or before starting their normal Saturday. Make sure it is convenient for you, but count on one person there earlier! Once you set the time, people will be at your house bright and early to buy your stuff.

Most people go with a Friday and Saturday morning (sometimes throw in a Thursday or Sunday). My sweet spot seems to be 7 am to 4 pm, but you could throw in a “moonlight madness” sale to catch shoppers after work too.


#10 Have Change Ready!

And change—don’t forget this important thing. The first sale of the day will be a 10 cent item paid with a $20 bill. Make sure that you have fives, ones, LOTS of quarters, dimes and nickels.


#11 Group Your Items by Price 

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

I don’t have the time or patience to individually price all my items, so I group 90% of my items by price. (a $1 table, $2 table and $5 table) For bigger items, I use the price stickers from Walmart.

Pro tip: Use sidewalk chalk to advertise prices for large tables. Ex. $1 each

Don’t mess with coins. Round everything up (or down) to the nearest dollar. If anything isn’t worth a dollar, throw it in the FREE box. Getting something for free will usually encourage shoppers to find something to buy, too.


#12 Group Smaller Items Together

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

Get rid of items easy. Instead of individual kitchen tools, rubber band 3-4 together and sell as a set.

We had a bunch of toy musical instruments and I put them in one box; as “A Band in a Box.” Some cool, but foolish mother loved the fun kids’ activity idea and bought them.


#13 Ensure All Items are Clean & Complete

Make sure your items are clean and all parts are on, or near, the item. If parts are missing, make sure they are clearly marked.

For baby clothes; try and hang as many as possible, especially outfits and new clothes that may have the tags still on them. Expecting parents say they want all new things for their baby (and they may spend the money on the first) but chances are, for a second or third kid, they are looking to garage sales!

For anything that is damaged or stained, put this in a free garage sale bin. It could entice buyers and some of those clothes can be used for other things like doll clothes.


#14 Try to Organize by Category

Keep your “shop” organized so shoppers can find items easily. You can organize your items like you would see in a department store, keeping like things together (kitchen, bath, etc.) Also organizing one area for men’s items is always great as well. If you are lucky enough to have your spouse help you then park them over there; it will help fill their time too!

Pro tip: Make sure there is enough space to walk around and try not to hover over people as they shop but be available for questions or negotiations.


#15 Use Pinterest to Give Shoppers Inspiration

Instead of taking up room in my “I will find something on Pinterest to do with this later” file, why not search on Pinterest now for something to do with it? Print out the picture and tape it on the drawer. Now someone could be “Pinspired” & buy your item!


#16 Show What a Great Deal it Is

I also laughed at my cousin for doing this at a garage sale we had many years ago, but it worked for her every time! Everyone who bought said it was because of this attention to detail and it showed them what an amazing deal they were getting. She had plenty of kids’ highchairs and strollers. She went online and printed out the product specs for the same or similar item along with any recalls associated with it and made sure it listed the price.


#17 Beware of Theft

Garage sales are prone to theft, so be alert and smart. Avoid selling anything small and valuable that you can’t keep an eye on.

Keep your sale money on you at all times. Avoid using a purse or cash box that someone can walk away with.

Examine large bills. I once had two teenage kids pick up the first cheap thing they saw and try and pass off a counterfeit $100 bill at my garage sale. Fortunately, my eagle-eyed sister rejected it before we lost $95 in change. 


#18 Don’t Get Stuck Haggling, Get rid of it.

If someone wants your beloved lamp for $30 instead of $40, just give it to them and be glad to see it getting a new home.

Right around the noon mark, start making deals. This is about when all garage sale goers pack it up. People will buy more when tempted by a good deal. We had one last car pull up while I was just starting to pack up, so I told them everything was half off. I made another $90 off stuff that was just going to be packed up & donated.


#19 Give it to a good cause.

Repeat after me:  Do NOT bring anything back into the house. Box up anything that didn’t sell and donate it to charity.  These organizations upcycle your items for a good cause and offer free pickup:

Ozana, Sherwood Center, or drop off your items at a Goodwill location near you. Don’t forget to get a receipt so you can claim fair-market value tax deductions for your donation on your next tax return.

If you are looking for garage sales near you, you can use Garage Sale Finder.

Get out there & start makin’ the mullah! 🙂

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