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Birds Eye View of Dishes, Furniture and Odds and Ends Displayed at a Garage Sale.

5 Successful Garage Sale Tips

Out With the Old, In With the Money: Yard Sale Tips for Sellers

If your garage is just a storage space for clutter, if you can’t park your car in its designated home, it might be time to sort through the mess and set up a garage sale. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks so sellers can have a successful yard sale, including advice from Simplify Experts, Clever Girl Organizing and Goodwill.

What to Sell at a Garage Sale

“As Jerry Seinfeld once said, ‘The word garage seems to be a form of the word garbage.’ Everything goes to the garage to die,” said Denise Allan, a certified professional organizer with Simplify Experts.

If clutter has inspired you to have a sale, start by cleaning out your garage and organizing your home to see what you need to get rid of and what may be worth some money in your pocket. When deciding what to keep and what to part with, Kathy Vines from Clever Girl Organizing suggests asking yourself the following questions.

  • How often do I use this and why?
  • Could someone else get more use out of this?
  • Does it have sentimental value? Is it irreplaceable?
  • Is it in good shape? If it needs to be repaired, is it worth spending the money?
  • Do I own another item that serves the same purpose, or can I borrow it from someone else?

As you cut through the clutter and part with the clothes in the back of your closet or the bike hidden in your garage, decide if the things you’re keeping are in good enough shape to resell at your yard sale. 

Sell This, Not That
Sell
Don't Sell
Tools
Food
Bikes
Candles
Clothes
Swimsuits
Handbags
Dirty items
Furniture
Mattresses
Kitchenware
Used shoes
Sporting gear
Recalled items
Camping gear
Stuffed animals
Designer items
Travel souvenirs
Costume jewelry
Broken appliances
Working appliances
Used undergarments
Sports memorabilia
Used toiletries (shampoo, lotion, makeup, etc.)
Toys (clean and not broken)
Mismatched items (like containers without lids)
Gently used kid/baby clothes
Old electronics (clunky TVs, computer monitors)
Simplify-Experts-Logo

“Be authentic to the life you are leading. If you have not camped in years, donate your camping gear. If your kids have launched your nest, let some of your ample sporting good equipment go. I have clients who have had landscape services for years with a full arsenal of yard tools. Donate those so they can bless someone else.”

Denise Allan, Simplify Experts 

Rent a dumpster to throw away anything beyond repair, or that no one else would want secondhand. Some examples might be stained sofas, broken appliances and used mattresses.

Our Customers Typically Choose a 20 Yard Dumpster for This Project.

5 Tips to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Now that you’ve figured out what to include in your yard sale, follow these tips to prepare and get the most out of it.

Basket of Yard Sale Items Labeled $1 Each.

1. Price Items for Your Yard Sale

When it comes to putting a price tag on items like books, clothes and golf clubs you dug up, remember that you’re trying to get rid of these things. In order to get them to sell, you might need to ask for a lot less than you think. 

So, how do you price items for a yard sale? Generally, items should be tagged at about 10% to 20% of the current retail price. For example, if something sells for $50 in store, price it at $10 if it’s in good shape or $5 if it’s a bit worn. Of course, factors like the item’s condition, demand and whether or not it’s in season can affect the price.

Before applying this rule, research to see how similar things are priced in your area. Go to other garage sales to see how much they’re selling those items for. Watch the shoppers to see if they respond to the prices or walk away. You can even check Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and other online resources to compare prices.

Here’s a starting point for some items. However, keep in mind that in addition to the item’s condition and demand, name brand and size may cause you to fidget with the price as well.

Recommended Prices for Common Garage Sale Items
Toys $1 - $5
Dishware and glasses $1 - $3
Home décor $2 - $7
Pots and pans $1 - $4
Adult clothes $1 - $5
Kid/baby clothes 50¢- $3
Costume jewelry 50¢ - $2
Coats $10 - $15
Furniture 33% of the original price
Silverware $3 - $5 for complete set, four items for $1
Books 25¢ - 50¢ for paperbacks, $1 - $2 for hard covers
Electronics 33% of sale price for used items, 50% of sale price for new items still in packaging

Pro-Tip: Put a price tag on everything. Don’t make people find you and ask how much you’re selling an item for, because some just won’t bother. Use neon-colored stickers so people can’t miss the price. 

Looking at Items at Garage Sale.

2. Pick a Place and Date

Where you decide to set up is important. You need to be in a high-trafficked area in order for people to see your garage sale. If you live in a rural or quiet area, ask friends or family in a busier neighborhood if you can use their yard.

When picking a time, choose weekend mornings, about 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and avoid holidays when people are out of town. Look ahead to the weather forecast to avoid rain or extreme heat. It’s also best to aim for the beginning of the month, when you can count on people’s purse strings being at their fullest.

Stamp Marked "Approved."

3. Research Local Laws and Regulations

Some municipalities require you to have a permit in order to hold a garage sale. Make sure to check your city’s website for more information. Some may allow you to get the permit online. If your city or town does require a permit, make sure not to skip this step, or you could end up with a fine and get your garage sale shut down.

Sale Sign with an Arrow in Front of Flowers and a Brick Wall.

4. Advertise Your Yard Sale

Go back to basics. Take out an ad in your local paper and draw up handmade signs. Use bright-colored poster board and thick, black markers. These will catch people’s attention and be easy to read from a distance. Make sure to place them at main intersections near the sale location and at all turns leading to your yard. Don’t forget to draw arrows to point drivers in the right direction. You can also take out an ad in your local paper.

Make sure to include the following information on your signs:

  • Time
  • Dates
  • Address
  • The words “Garage Sale”

Pro-Tip: Keep the signs simple so potential buyers can quickly read them as they’re driving by and easily get to you. Make sure to put the signs out at least the day before so avid yard sale-goers can plan to make a stop at your home, and so you don’t have to rush around the morning of. 

How to Advertise Your Garage Sale Online

Handmade signs in your neighborhood are effective, but people have the internet at their fingertips everywhere they go. Try taking out an ad on your local news sites and Craigslist to expand your reach. Because they’re probably a little more expensive than a Craigslist ad, start ads on your local news sites one day before the sale and run them through the sale period. On Craigslist, you might be able to afford starting the ad a day or two earlier than that.

Pro-Tip: Draw people in by listing your big-ticket items and popular things like kids’ toys and collectibles. Snap photos of in-demand items to attract more attention. 

It’s also a good idea to use social media accounts to let friends and family know you’re hosting a sale. It’s the easiest way to spread the word to everyone. If your community has a Facebook page, use it to let neighbors know they can stop by.

You might also try using the following yard sale sites:

People Looking Through Books and Boxes of Items at Garage Sale.

5. Prepare Your Items for the Sale

Now for the most tedious part of all – setting it all up. Follow these tips to help you make some sales.

  • Put like items together.
  • Cover up anything visible that you’re not selling.
  • Try bundling some items, like sets of baby clothes.
  • Clean and polish items to make them look presentable.
  • Put toys on a blanket in the yard at kid’s level to save table space. 
  • Display valuable items close to you so you can keep an eye on them.
  • Set up a few days in advance if you’ll be using your (now clean) garage.
  • Hang clothing on a garment rack so it’s easy for customers to look through what you have.
  • Give yourself at least an hour before the start time to get everything set up, but know where you plan to put everything in advance.
  • Use folding tables to display your merchandise. If you use a coffee table or other furniture from your home, people might think it’s for sale.

Pro-Tip: Greet shoppers as they arrive so they know who’s running the sale, but then leave them alone to shop so they don’t feel pressured. Let the items sell themselves, but be available for questions. 

Extra Garage Sale Tips and Tricks

Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your yard sale goes as well as can be planned.

Ask Your Friends and Family to Join Your Sale

Do your in-laws have some things they can sell? Is your sister also cleaning out her garage? Market this as a three-family yard sale. You’ll likely attract more customers with the additional items up for grabs.

Limit Your Inventory

While it’s good to have a lot of items to attract customers, having too much for sale can be overwhelming. Make sure you’re only putting out what will sell.

Have a Checkout Station

Have a designated area where you can pack up anything customers purchase. Gather all the grocery bags you keep under your sink and any extra boxes you have lying around to package items for buyers. Use newspaper to wrap up anything fragile.

Have Multiple Payment Options

If you accept credit cards, you’ll likely increase your sales. A Square reader makes it easy for a customer to make payments with a credit card. Advertise that you accept card payments – it’s a big selling point.

Make sure you also have change handy for those who decide to go the more traditional route and pay cash. If a customer tries to buy something and you don’t have change, you’ll lose the sale.

Pro-Tip: Wear something with pockets. An apron or fanny pack will give you a place to hold cash (a much better alternative to risking leaving a cash box unattended), your Square reader, extra pricing stickers, a marker and anything else you may need. 

After the Yard Sale 

Chances are, you have some lingering clothes, books or sporting gear you didn’t sell that you don’t want to bring back into your home. Try selling them again online on eBay, OfferUp, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or donate them to Goodwill, Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity

Goodwill Logo

“Everything that can be found in your garage is fair game for donations. (When it comes to TVs, flat screens only.) We do recommend that oil and gas be drained from any lawn equipment prior to donation. We encourage people with any questions to give their nearest location a call to double check.”

Darcie Goodman, Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland & East Central Ohio, Inc. 

Get Ready for Your Garage Sale

It’s time to start decluttering to build your inventory and prepare for your yard sale. If you find damaged items or need to clear out space before the sale begins, check out our disposal guides to find the best ways to get furniture, appliances and electronics out of your home.

Feeling inspired? Keep the momentum going and visit our organization page to keep your house orderly.