How to Have a Garage Sale

Print Friendly

How to Have a Garage Sale

When you have a garage sale, your objective is to make money while getting rid of stuff in your house. The spring is the best time to have a garage sale. After a long winter people are ready to get out and find some good deals. Here are some tips to make the most of your garage sale:

  1. Have as many signs as possible.Put one on every major corner, on the corner to house and any needed in between. If it is more than 1/2 mile from the corner to your house put some signs in between. You really can’t make enough signs.
      • Make your signs large!! At least 12 inches but 18-24 is much better.
      • Use contrasting colors. Black and white are best but other colors such as light colored paper with black ink will work well. A black permanent marker works best.
    • Be sure to put your address AND an arrow pointing the direction to your house.
    • Make all your signs out of the same material. For example, make all of them out of cardboard with white painting. That way people will know it’s your garage sale and know which signs to follow.
    • Check with your city or town and find out if they have any particular rules for garage sales. Our city requires a permit that costs $1.50 per day. When we purchase the permit, they give us a list of rules telling us things like not to nail signs on telephone poles.
  2. Check to see if any of your local papers or thrifty papers have free garage sale ads. Put one in if they do.
  3. Clean out everythingyou can so you can have as large as sale as possible.
    • If you don’t have enough stuff to make big enough sale then ask friends, family or neighbors to have one with you.
    • Give all of your neighbors a flyer telling them when you are having a sale and ask if they would like to have one also. The more sales that there are in one area, the more people will come to your sale.
  4. Price you stuff LOW.There is nothing more frustrating than going to a garage sale and finding items for prices equal to or higher than the same items brand new on clearance, even if it is “Baby Gap”. Name brands can let you get by with a little higher prices.

    I recommend pricing really nice kids clothes no higher than $1 each and clothes that have stains or are not name brand at .50 or less. Socks and underwear shouldn’t be higher than .10 each.

    You may think that these prices are too low but please remember than you are getting rid of stuff!! You don’t want to bring it back into the house and store it for a few more years. If you are not selling to get rid of things, you will keep most of what you put out. You will also get a lot more sales if your prices are reasonable which means more in the long run. If you sell 15 $1 items or you sell 200 at .25 each ($50 total) you will make much more if you sell the less expensive items. A good rule of thumb is to price items a maximum of 10% retail price.

    By the way, people who go to yard sales really don’t care if it’s brand new in the box and you paid $80 for it so you “must” get $50 for it. It has been sitting in your house for who knows how long so you aren’t getting your money’s worth anyway. Price it for $5 and get rid of it!

  5. Expect people to ask you to come down on the price. If you feel your prices are very reasonable then don’t come down, but remember you are trying to get rid of stuff so don’t put too high a value on it. If someone asks you to come down on a price and you aren’t ready to come down at that point ask for their name and number and tell them you will call them later if it hasn’t sold and you are ready to sell it to them at that price.

      Tawra and Jill

If you want to find out how to look for great buys at garage sales, read “Ten Garage Sale Shortcuts”.



  1. Jenifer says

    I just recently found your site and am enjoying it. Thanks for sharing!

    My friends and I have one to two garage sales a year. Items are priced very reasonable to sell and the last hour of our sale we offer all you can fit in a grocery sack for $2.00 or everything (except larger items, i.e. furniture, etc) for 25 cents each. We would rather get the extra few bucks then have to box it up! Anything remaining is donated to the nearest charity.

  2. HuffmanFamilyof4 says

    as for selling underwear, that’s not always a good Idea. No matter how clean you think they are, it always makes me leave a yard sale when I see this type of stuff being sold, it just doesn’t look right. underwear should always be bought new.

  3. says

    Oh, this is good advice. A friend of mine is getting set to have a yard sale soon. I’m going to see if I can sell my stuff along with hers. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :) :)

  4. says

    Here are a few more tips for a great Garage Sale…
    Play music – upbeat music keeps people positive and wanting to look around and buying.
    Sidewald arrows – The morning before the sale, (or even the night before), get some sidewalk chalk and draw arrows on the sidewalks in your neighbourhood pointing in the direction to your house. People walking in the area get curious and will follow them to see what they are about. Great idea for getting your older kids involved but not so great if it is raining. Don’t complete the areas pointing directly at your house until shortly before the sale.
    Sell some snacks – People travel quickly around from sale to sale hunting for the best bargains and get hungry. Selling snacks purchased from Costco or homemade goodies can be profitable as well. Have your kids sell bottled water or pop or even a lemonade stand.
    Stuffed animals – most people don’t want to buy the stuffed animals at a yard sale and we end up with untouched piles of them at the end of the day. Use them as a tool for people to buy and give a free one to their kids. For instance, “Free Stuffed Toy with Every $5 Purchased”
    Charities – Advertise that the part of the procedes are supporting a local charity. People love giving to a good cause and are less likely to dicker down the prices. Make sure that you actually give some to the charity you are supporting, otherwise it’s just in very bad taste. And bad karma.
    And speaking of karma… – In genereal, people are very honest. But garage sales can be busy and the hustle and bustle can get very confusing over who paid for what. Make sure to have a clearly defined way of showing something has been paid for. Believe it or not, there are people who do “lift” things at garage sales. Have a special sticker placed on the item after it has been paid for. Neon green is great because it’s easily seen. They can easily be purchased at dollar stores and can save you from a lot of confusion.
    Be Positive!!! – Welcome people and be happy they are there. Remember, they are there to buy the stuff you no longer want and you want to get the best price possible. Being unfriendly or negative just turns people away and you end up with a ton of stuff you are going to be hauling back into your house or to the curb. Have fun and you never know how many new friends and neighbours you can meet!
    Good Luck! 😀

  5. barb~ says

    Thanks Jill and Tawra!
    I’m going to be participating in my neighborhood garage sale May 2-5th. I have a couple of tips-maybe you know about them already. Marketing is key even in garage sales. Put your biggest/nicest/most colorful items where they can show from the street. I also make coffee on cool days, and have iced water on hot. I give the water out free, and charge 25 cents for coffee. People will hang around longer, and always seem to buy something when I have drinks.
    I have also made brownies, Rice Krispie Treats, etc. to sell. I wrap them in saran wrap, and charge 50 cents-$1.00 depending on size. I always sell out! If I get my brownie mix for 99 cents, even adding an egg and oil, if I cut the batch in 9 squares I make about $8.00 profit per batch. Pretty good, I think! Any thoughts, or suggestions?

    Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 + eight =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>