Organizing a Garage Sale

Written by Debra Wyatt (last updated June 29, 2021)

Is this your first garage sale? Or, perhaps, you have had several and the sales just didn't go well for you. Either way, you can have better success if you try using some of these organizing tips. The idea is to make sure you have the most successful garage sale that you can.

  • Gather inventory. You can gather your inventory over a short period of time or spend a couple of days de-cluttering your home. As you go through each room ask yourself "have I used this item in the past twelve months?" As part of a de-cluttering plan, plan on eliminating ten percent of all items in any room.
  • Get help. Doing a garage sale with someone makes the job easier and a lot more fun. Having someone else doing a garage sale with you can bring more people to your garage sale. Getting someone else to help with the garage sale can bring more items to your sale, and the more there is to sale, the more money there is. Variety also helps in a garage sale. It also helps to have someone helping on the day of the garage sale—one person to collect money and another to help motivate the buyers to buy more and to answer any of their questions.
  • Research. Find out what other garage sales in your area are selling their items for. This will give you a better idea on what your items should sell for. Also look into the local ordinances on having garage sales in your area. Do you need a permit for holding a garage sale? Are you limited on the number of garage sales that you can have in a certain amount of time?
  • Set a date. Choose the date that you will have your garage sale. When planning the day, limit the garage sale to a one-day event. Have a fixed time when you will be starting the sale and when the garage sale will be over. This is the time to decide on how you will handle the "early birds." Some people aren't bothered by early birds, while others simply do not want the hassle. Early birds will show up as you are trying to set up. They like to take advantage of you not being prepared for customers. There are two different strategies that help with this problem—make a sign that says "Early birds pay double" or one that simply says "No early birds."
  • Advertise. The success of a garage sale depends a lot on the traffic you get. To get more foot traffic you need to advertise. People really do need to know how to find you. Placing an ad in the newspaper is one way to advertise. Some areas have ads on the local radio station or on the internet. Another way to advertise is to make signs; use neon-colored poster board with big, deep, black markers. Place the signs on street corners with directional arrows pointing the way to your house. There is also word of mouth. Don't forget to tell your friends, family, and neighbors about the sale—and ask them to do the same.
  • Prepare. Before the actual sale day, go through all your items and mark them. Use adhesive tape and place the amount on the tape. If the item is dirty then take the time to clean it. Clean items sell better and get more money.
  • Set up. Set everything out and place it all on display. Have items arranged by groups—kitchen items, children's toys, clothes hanging, etc. All items should be placed together with like items. Cover up any item or items that aren't being sold. You will also need to have at least twenty dollars for change. That would be small bills and change.

These are just a few tips that help in having a successful garage sale. With just a little bit of planning your garage sale will be a success. Remember to have fun with it.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...


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