Garage or yard sales aren’t just an easy way to make a few extra bucks; these are also a great way to purge and reorganize those areas of your home that end up collecting all of our odds and ends. Keep reading for some garage sale tips on getting organized, pricing your items correctly and what to do with things that don’t sell.

Pick a Date

When picking a date for your garage sale, give yourself some time. Depending on the amount of items you are planning on purging, it will take time to get them cleaned out, cleaned up and ready to be on display for the neighborhood. So give yourself a few weeks and keep the following best practices in mind when deciding on the date:

  • Saturdays are the most popular day for thrifty shoppers
  • Check the weather (but have a contingency plan if it doesn’t go to plan)
  • Avoid national holidays. People could be camping, traveling, etc. And you want the most customers as possible
  • Start early, but not too early. 7:00 AM is the most common time to start. You will get early birds that are ready to shop, who want to see everything your yard sale has to offer before anyone else

Make Your To-Do List and Delegate

Any good coach will tell you that “the best defense is a good offense,” and that is even true when it comes to planning your garage or yard sale. The key is to plan which rooms to tackle and when, where you will organize items that will be a part of the sale, know when you will start advertising and who’s in charge of cleaning everything, etc.

It will also take a team to do it, so don’t feel like all the responsibility sits on your shoulders. Whether it’s a friend or two, immediate family or your fun Aunt, enlist dependable help to assist before and on the yard sale day. This will lighten the workload and make for a fun experience when the day of your yard sale comes around. It will also take a team to do it, so don’t feel like all the responsibility sits on your shoulders.  

Clean, Sort & Organize

To say this isn’t a daunting task would be a fib. But the key is to put on your favorite playlist or podcast and just get to work with your yard sale team.

Start by organizing your things into three basic categories of Keep, Sell and Trash. Then as you are sorting your Sell category, further organize it into the groupings you plan to have at your garage sale like clothing, children’s items, furniture, etc.

If you can’t assign cleaning to a member of your team, then clean as you go so that you can assure yourself that your items will be ready to present the morning you are planning your garage sale. Cleaning the areas you are working to purge and organizing as you work will also give you an incredible feeling of accomplishment. This can also help you decide what to keep or sell, especially for items you may be on the fence about keeping.

Set Your Prices

Below are a few suggestions when it comes to general garage sale pricing:

Garage or Yard Sale Prices Tips

There is a cardinal rule when it comes to pricing the items you’re putting up for sale: Don’t price your things sentimentally. Do your very best to remain objective, and you can always get a second opinion from one of the people on your team if you are unsure of what price to assign. When in doubt, google the item and price it as close to what you find. Another way to determine prices is to price things a quarter to a third of what it cost you when it was brand new.

Also, don’t hike up your prices expecting to haggle. People decide whether to stay and shop the sale within the first minute they are there, and if they determine all of your prices are steep, they are more likely just to leave than haggle.

Shop for Supplies

Some items you will need for your garage sale can be found around the house, and others you will need to acquire at least the day before. 

Make sure you have folding tables and shelves for your items that are for sale, a few chairs for you and the customers to rest, poster boards (for yard sale signs), masking tape or pricing stickers, big black markers, duct tape, an apron or a fanny pack for your money bank and phone during the event, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and shopping bags/boxes that people can use to bring things home.

Marketing and Advertising

Do yourself a favor and put out the word. Post about your sale across your personal social media accounts, but then also maybe consider Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, your local newspaper and maybe even throw a flyer or two around to your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, the public library and post one or two flyers in the neighborhood. If you have highly collectible items, you may want to post to their message boards as well. And lastly, tell your friends and family so that they can spread the word by letting their circles know.

The Day Before

To have an enjoyable garage sale, take the day before to set yourself up for success. You will want to double-check that everything is spotless, that everything is priced, and that all of the yard sale signs you plan to put up in your yard are made. Also, make sure you have enough change (about 50 $1 bills, about 10 $5’s, a few $10’s, a few $20s and a roll of quarters), charge your phone, and straighten up the area that you are planning to put your sale in the morning. Try and stage as much of your garage sale as you can before the day of because the early bird gets the worm when it comes to thrifty Saturday shopping.

The Morning Of

Get an early start and get that sale set up. Make sure you and your team have applied sunscreen, ate breakfast, have thermoses of water, and are excited to start. Set up your tables, shelves and arrange your things in a nice and organized way. Place larger, more showy items nearest to the street to attract customers and be sure to set up a mini-hand sanitation station for people to use before shopping. Move any items that are not for sale away from the area you wish people to shop. Grab your apron/fanny pack full of change and your phone, lock your doors and windows, then smile. Because it’s SALE-TIME!

What to do With Unsold Items

Have a plan for what to do with items that are leftover from your garage sale. Not everything is going to sell, and that’s fine. Some places allow you to just put up a “Free” sign and wait for people to come and help themselves. You can also plan a thrift store pick-up, or some charities will pick up extra items free of charge.

Try not to bring things right back into the rooms you spent so much of your time organizing and cleaning. If you wanted to purge it in the first place, it’s most likely time to let it go. However, if those items are too high-dollar just to get rid of, post them online. Just remember to include a photo.

Enjoy Your Profits

Count up your cash, do a little happy dance and then sit back and enjoy the freshly new organized spaces you created in the process of completing your yard sale. Whether you made enough to treat for a yummy dinner or maybe to help out with the family vacation, whatever the financial boost--you and your team did a great job, so make sure to treat for some great after-sale refreshments.


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