Preparing for a Garage Sale

garage sale

Looking to make some decent pocket change? Consider a garage sale. If you put some effort into it, you can reasonably expect to net a whopping $500 to $1,000 from your sale, according to the New York Times. The key is to treat it like the money-maker it is. As an experienced garage sale buyer and seller, I’ve put together a list of the ten most important tips for ensuring a successful, money-making garage sale.

Tips for Setting Up Your Garage Sale

#1. Advertise: The best ways to advertise your sale are through social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and web sites, such as Craigslist and Many people now use garage sale finder apps, such as Yard Sale Treasure Map, so it’s worth posting your sale on those as well. And don’t forget to hang posters!

#2. Be Organized: A successful garage sale takes a lot of planning and tremendous effort. You cannot simply get up that morning and decide to have a garage sale. Items must be organized, clean, and in working condition. It’s a good idea to place extension cords near electronics. The way you have your items displayed speaks volumes.

#3. Keep Valuables Near You: If you’re selling big ticket items, such as jewelry, video game consoles, or laptops, keep them in a locked box or case when not showing to an interested person. You can also take photos of the items and have a friend or family member bring the item out only when someone shows real interest.

#4. Put Items Not for Sale Away: If you have things that you have no intention of selling, you may way want to consider putting them away, or at least covering them with a blanket. I’ve even seen people use caution tape to barricade areas in order to keep buyers from asking “Is that for sale?”.

Tips for Pricing Your Garage Sale Items

#5. Price Everything: As an experienced garage sale buyer, a sale without clearly marked prices is one of my biggest pet peeves, and is often the reason behind me walking from a sale. Price your items as you set them out. I recommend pricing items just slightly above the lowest you’d take as most people will offer less than the asking price.

#6. Group the Small Stuff: If you have a ton of gently used receiving blanks, small toys, or kitchen utensils, consider sorting the items into groups. Buyers love getting a good deal. And you’re more likely to sell all of your lower priced items if you offer them in groups.

Tips for Maximizing Sales and Profit

#7. Create a Neighborhood Sale: You don’t have to get the whole block involved, but if you have at least one or two other houses involved, the more traffic you’ll receive. Multi-house, or multi-household items, are a big draw for garage sale buyers. Make a few fliers a week or two before the sale, and leave them on your neighbor’s doorsteps.

#8: Be Approachable: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up to a garage sale and the person having the sale barely acknowledged my presence. Don’t be one of those people! Always greet your customers – even if it’s only to say “Good Morning.” Some good conversation starters include:

  • “Are there a lot of garage sales out there today?”
  • “Can you believe how lucky we are with this weather today?”
  • “Are you looking for anything special?” This is my personal favorite.

#9: Guard Your Money: Don’t ever leave your money unattended – not even for a second. There’s nothing worse than doing all the hard work just to have your money stolen from you. Don’t leave young children in charge of the money without supervision either. I recommend carrying the money on you in a fanny pack or carpenter’s apron at all times.

#10: Involve the Kiddos: Kids love to be involved in garage sales. Set up a lemonade, water, or coffee stand that they can be in charge of. They’ll get a kick out of it! You can also set up some pre-packaged, not homemade, snacks such as granola bars or donuts that they can sell as well. Donut holes and coffee are almost always a hit.

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