Garage Sale Season: 12 Tips to Bank Serious Cash

by Alex ThatcherJune 13, 2016

Prepping for a Garage Sale: One Way to Get Rid of a Few Things

For anyone who has moved from one house to another, the thought of roping in friends, hiring a moving service, and prepping all the furniture for transport can be daunting. This is especially true for movers who may also be in the process of downsizing from a larger home to a smaller one.

So what are you supposed to do with all that extra furniture and the home goods that you just don’t want to take along with you? The easy answer is that it’s the perfect time to host a weekend garage sale.
garage sale tips
Garage sales can be a great solution for getting rid of some extra clutter while you potentially turn it into a little bit of extra cash. While you’re prepping for the move to your dream home, it’s as simple as putting aside a pile of things that you don’t want or need anymore. The hardest part of having a garage sale, in fact, is making sure you get the customers to come out to your house. With that in mind, we have a few tips and tricks so you can get the best results from your next garage sale.

1) Get the Word Out

This is definitely one of those occasions when the Internet is your best friend, whether you advertise through your social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or you take advantage of online tools like Craigslist,, and You’ll want to start getting the word out early – we recommend about a 1-2 weeks ahead of time. This will allow customers to set aside time to visit your sale.

2) Free Is a Great Price

Who doesn’t love the word “free”? Knick knacks, stuffed animals, kids toys or anything else you think may not sell should be prominently placed in front with the word “free” written in big letters on a sign. This will tempt potential shoppers driving or walking by to stop and take a look at the free pile, so that you can lead them directly into the real sale!

3) Categorizing Is Key

Now is your chance to let your inner design expert shine. Set out your items by category, organizing them by their use or by what room they may be associated with. For example, group lawn tools, kitchen accessories, and small furniture together in areas. Making your customers dig through boxes, or laying everything out in disorganized piles will make it difficult for your customers to find what they may be looking for.

4) Put a Sticker on Everything

Just in case you get very busy with tons of visitors, you won’t want to lose customers who may be reluctant to interrupt you with a question about the prices of things, make sure you add a price tag to all of your items. Many people don’t like asking how much things cost, so instead, they might just pick it up and then put it back down. It may seem very tedious to put a sticker on every item, but in the end, it pays off.

5) Everything Must Go

It’s better to get less money for an item than nothing at all, leaving you right where you started with too much extra stuff you don’t want to move. Price your items to sell so there is nothing left at the end of the day, offering serious bargains and reducing prices if anyone wants to haggle. Let’s face it – 25 or 50 cents is much better than nothing.

6) Entice Your Customers

A great way to draw in customers is to display some of the big ticket or most desirable items out near the front of your sale. Appliances, clothes (especially children’s clothes), lawnmowers, antique or valuable tools, stereo equipment and speakers, unopened beauty products, sofas, home repair items, or building supplies are a few great examples of things that will draw in customers looking for a great deal.

7) Post Items Online

Items that are of high value like dressers or credenzas and antiques can be listed on websites such as or in advance of the garage sale. This is a great way to get a few items sold before your sale even starts. When the person comes to pick up their newly purchased goods, you can let them know exactly when you will be hosting a garage sale, and to come back with a few friends.

8) Shelter and Shade

If you’re hosting the garage sale during the late spring or summer months, take heed. No one likes looking at items while standing in the blistering hot sun. Also, some items may get too hot to hold or otherwise damaged if they sit long enough in the sunlight. Providing shade for that hot noon sun will keep your items from getting ruined, and allow your customers to browse in comfort.
garage sale tips

9) Get Your Beauty Sleep the Night Before

Garage sales can be exhausting business, when you consider the set up, a long day in the sun, and plenty of socializing with strangers and neighbors. We recommend getting plenty of sleep the night before your garage sale. This will ensure you are well rested and ready to get up early – remember, you’ll have plenty of things to do to get everything set up before the sale. Categorizing items before the sale and arranging them in your garage or an unused room in your house will speed up the process.

10) Snacks and Drinks

It’s easy to make your customers feel comfortable, and it can be an important thing to do. Making sure you’ve got plenty of bottled water on hand, as well as chips, soda, and other small snacks (you can always charge a small fee like 50 cents each) for your customers to munch on while they browse your wares is always a strong move.

11) Have Bags or Boxes Ready to Go

No one wants to carry around all the items they are looking to purchase, especially if your garage sale is a large one. Offer your customers bags like the ones left over from the grocery store, or small cardboard boxes to place their items in while they browse. This will allow them to grab as much as possible before it’s time for them to check out.

12) Make Friends With Your Customers

Watching customers closely will help you direct them to the things they may want to buy, but you may also make new friends just by striking up a quick conversation. Here are a few things to look and listen for. If your customer is a carpenter, direct them to your tools or home repair items. If your customer is wearing something like camouflage or workout gear, direct them to your camping gear or sporting goods.

Have a Great Garage Sale!

Combine these twelve easy techniques along with great salesmanship, and your garage sale is sure to bring in as much profit as possible. This will put some extra cash in your pocket, get rid of the old clutter, and get your house prepped to go up on the market!

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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.