10 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

by Dusty RogersJuly 23, 2014

Looking for a little extra cash for moving expenses, a summer getaway, or home improvements? Now is the perfect time to have a garage sale! Hosting a garage sale is a lot of work, but these helpful tips will make it well worth your time.

1. Sort throughout the year.

Have a designated garage sale storage area and move things to that space on a regular basis. This will save you loads of time when you’re ready to host your sale. Instead of scouring through every room and closet of your house and making decisions all at once, your garage sale items will already be designated and ready to go.

2. Be selective.

The better the condition of your garage sale items, the more successful your garage sale will be. Remove sentiment from the equation and ask yourself, “Would I spend money on this now?” It may have been beautiful or useful in its prime, but if it’s dreadful now, you shouldn’t try to sell it. Keep in mind that first impressions matter. Shoppers may see one dingy item in your garage sale and get turned off from shopping.

3. Have a “free” bin.

Although I don’t recommend trying to sell damaged or dingy items, I don’t like the idea of them ending up in a landfill, either. We offered up a lot of our daughter’s bibs and clothes that were stained (but in otherwise great condition) for free, along with a few other items that could still be used for parts. Shoppers seemed to really appreciate this option, and I liked that these things would continue to be used.
Garage-Sale-Free

4. Price everything.

Some people will leave prices off of items to allow for negotiation or say, “everything on this table is $1,” but I recommend that everything has a price tag attached to it. Many people feel uncomfortable asking about prices and would rather not purchase than ask. Pricing everything also makes it easier on you, the seller (and anyone else who helps you with your sale), to add up totals when shoppers are checking out.

5. Yes, that means kids’ clothes, too.

It takes extra effort up front, but taking the time to sort, group and tag kids’ clothes will lead to higher sales. I had a difficult time deciding how to price our daughter’s clothes and found very few suggestions online, which was frustrating, so I’ll share our pricing system, which worked great for us:

  • $1 for Old Navy and Target shirts
  • $2 for Old Navy and Target pants, shorts and skirts
  • $2 for Gap, Carters and Gymboree shirts
  • $3 for Gap, Carters and Gymboree pants, shorts, and skirts
  • $3 for pajamas
  • $2-10 for outfits (pinned together), depending on brand and how many pieces

Nearly all of our daughter’s clothes were purchased new and remain in excellent condition. Adjust your prices accordingly, based on how old or worn your items may be.

6. Display kids’ clothes by size.

We had several card tables set up for kids’ clothes and arranged them by size with newborn clothes at one end, followed by 0-3 month clothes, 3-6 month clothes…in order, all the way up to 4T. This makes it a lot easier for customers to shop clothes without having to do too much digging. I also tied twine between the two front legs of each card table to create a space for hanging items. This was a great way to highlight outfits since hanging clothes are more noticeable (and sell better) than folded items on the table. When a hanging item sells, be sure to refill the hanger with a new outfit from the table.
Garage_Sale_Clothes

7. Use baskets and bins for display.

I borrowed wicker baskets from our home and stacked them on their sides to get more display space from our garage sale tables. This was also a great way to group similar items. For example, I used one basket for crib sheets, one basket for burp cloths, etc. This helped our garage sale look more organized and made it easier for customers to shop.
Garage-Sale-Bin

8. Wear comfortable shoes.

Setting up and working a garage sale leads to a lot of time on your feet. Skip the flip flops and opt for a more supportive option to save your feet and back from aching at the end of the day.

9. Advertise for free online.

In addition to posting general garage sale ads on Craigslist, we also posted ads highlighting individual items for sale and added our garage sale details to those listings. We had a lot of people who stopped by in response to one item they saw for sale on Craigslist, and they stayed and shopped our entire sale. Be sure to advertise on Facebook, too!

10. Have great signage.

Make sure the signs you create are large enough for people to read as they drive by. Keep your signs uniform in appearance, too. This will help drivers know that they’re heading in the right direction for your garage sale. We taped our garage sale signs (and some balloons) to the sides of large cardboard boxes, which we weighted down with rocks. This made our signs noticeable and prevented the wind from changing the direction of our arrows. In addition to arrows, we also wrote “Top of the Hill” on our signs to give people a frame of reference on where to find us. Last, double-check your signs the morning of your sale to make sure someone else’s garage sale sign isn’t cutting off your traffic. Remember – no matter how much work you put into your garage sale, you can’t make money if people can’t find you!

Check out more great ways to declutter your home and get organized! Thinking about having a garage sale of your own? Homes.com would love to hear your tips and what you’re saving up for!

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About The Author
Dusty Rogers
Dusty Rogers is the blogger, mother, maker, decorator and drinker of the wine at All Things G&D - a lifestyle blog where home décor, DIY and organization, healthy meals and kid-friendly snacks, party planning and entertaining all happily play together in the sandbox. Dusty lives in Madison, WI with her husband Greg and their daughter Kate, and she spends her days balancing high maintenance tendencies with a desire to keep things simple.