Ultimate Garage Sale Guide

Garage Sale Guide Garage sales are a great way to reduce your household clutter and make some extra cash at the same time. This guide will keep you organized throughout the garage sale planning process and assist you with managing a successful sale.


7 days or more before the sale:

  • Gather the items for the sale – Look through your home and garage for all the items you wish to get rid of. This is the time to clean any items that need it, and make sure everything looks good to sale. Children’s items (clothing and toys) are always good sellers, also think about furniture, kitchen items, books, magazines, movies, tools, sporting equipment, etc.
  • Obtain needed permits – Permit requirements vary with location. Check with your local permit department or clerk’s office for your local requirements. If you have a homeowner’s association, you may also need approval from them.
  • Check the weather forecast – If rainy weather is expected, do you have an inside alternative? Consider rescheduling to a different weekend.

 5 – 6 days before the sale:

  • Start pricing – Pricing each item will take some time, so now is the time to start. Put a price on each item so you won’t get stuck negotiating each price the say of the sale. Colored stickers can also be used for either a common price (for instance blue for 50 cents or yellow for $1, or to identify the owner of the item for multiple family sales. Items in “like new” condition can start out at 50% of the new value, and “fair” condition items at 25% of original value; as a rule of thumb.
  • Advertise – If you plan to advertise in a local newspaper, call the newspaper to find out how far in advance they need your ad. You can also advertise online at Craig’s List.

2 – 4 days before the sale:

  • Plan your display strategy – Deciding how to display your items can make or break your sale. It is important for your items to be both attractive from the street and comfortable enough for the browsers to take their time looking at everything. Do you have enough tables for your kitchen items? A rack for hanging clothes? The more you plan now the more relaxed you can be the day of the sale.
  • Curb appeal – People will often make a decision on your sale from the appearance of your home and yard. Does your yard need to be mowed? Any shrubs or bushes need to be trimmed? Does the porch or driveway need to be swept? Small things like this can make a big difference.
  • Gather packaging – Make sure you have enough grocery bags, boxes and old news papers to package the items sold. If you don’t think you have enough, ask your friends or put in a request at freecycle.org.

The day before the sale:

  • Get Change – Obtain plenty of quarters and dollar bills to make change, from the bank. You may want to have $50 – $100 of change on hand, depending on the size of your sale. Place the change in a fanny pack, so you won’t have to worry about keeping an eye on the money the day of the sale.
  • Hang Signs – Hang signs around the neighborhood, as permitted in your area. On the signs make sure to include your address along with start and end times. You may also want to advertise the types of items you may have a lot of, such as furniture or children’s items.
  • Plan tomorrow’s meals – You will be busy the day of the sale. By planning for a quick and easy lunch and dinner for the sale day, you won’t end up wasting some of your earnings on take out.

Sale day:

  • Cluster like items together – Arrange kitchen items together, all the books and magazines together, etc. You may want to have a $1 table or 25 cent table if appropriate.
  • Gather miscellaneous needed items – Gather pens, additional stickers, tape, scissors, and packaging materials you may need and place in a basket or box. This way you will have everything you need in one place, and can work your sale instead of searching for items in the house.
  • Reduce prices as needed – If some items aren’t selling as you thought they would about half way through your sale, consider reducing the price or creating a buy one get one free table (or box).
  • Decide on left over item disposal – Invariably, there will be items left over after your sale. Decide how you plan to discard the remaining items that don’t sell, so they won’t end up cluttering up your home again. Freecycling or a local charity are great options for the leftovers.


Photo Credit: Ayhan Yildiz via stock.xchng

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