How to Have a Garage Sale

by Michael Franco
garage sale sign on a street corner

Hosting a garage sale is a popular way to clear out clutter, make a little extra money and meet your neighbors. However, to ensure your yard sale is successful and stress-free, careful planning is a must.

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From selecting which items to sell, to pricing and promoting the sale, each step is crucial in attracting buyers and maximizing your potential garage sale earnings.

Planning Steps for a Garage Sale

Choose a Date and Time

Typically, weekends — especially Saturday mornings — are the best times for garage sales, as most people are off work and willing to browse. Check the weather forecast in advance to avoid rainy days.

Gather Items to Sell

Start by decluttering every part of your home, from attics and basements to closets and garages. Group items into categories as you sort them.

Check Local Regulations

Some areas require you to obtain a permit to host a garage sale. Others have one specific day or weekend on which all garage sales are supposed to take place. Check with your local city council or homeowners’ association to ensure you comply with any regulations.

Organize and Clean Items

Once you’ve decided what to sell, clean each item to make it more appealing to buyers. Dust off books, wash clothes and wipe down furniture.

Price Items

Label each item with a price tag or sticker. Be realistic about pricing; remember, these items are used, and buyers are looking for deals.

Think About Payment Options

How will buyers pay for items? If you want to encourage cash transactions, make sure you have small bills to make change. Make clear signs that your garage sale is “cash only.”

In the modern age, however, people don’t carry around cash so much anymore. You might want to offer digital payment options as well — or even think about going cashless. Consider setting up accounts with PayPal, Venmo, Cash App and Zelle, so people with these digital wallets can easily pay you for your items.

Advertise

Effective advertising can significantly increase your traffic. See tips below.

Prepare Your Space

Organize items into sections like a store for easy browsing.

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What to Sell and What Not to Sell

Garage sales profits often thrive when items are in good condition and are in demand by a broad audience. Children's clothes and toys are usually successful because parents are always looking for cost-effective ways to clothe their fast-growing children and entertain them with new toys. Items like these tend to sell quickly, especially if they're in good condition and offered at a reasonable price.

Tools and garden equipment can also sell well. Many shoppers attend garage sales looking for discounts on used home improvement or gardening tools. Similarly, sports equipment like bicycles, weights and tennis rackets appeal to those looking to start a new sport or replace worn gear without the high cost of buying new.

Books and records are perennial favorites, particularly if they're in good condition or are part of a popular genre or a classic collection. Collectors and enthusiasts often seek out garage sales for unique finds, making these items particularly appealing.

Household items such as dishes, home decor, small appliances and furniture that are in good condition usually find new homes quickly, too. These items are attractive to those setting up new homes or looking to replace or add a few touches to their current living spaces without spending a lot.

These Items Usually Don't Sell Well

On the other hand, personalized items like monogrammed gifts have a narrow market because they are customized for specific individuals. Outdated electronics — particularly old TVs, VCRs and old computers — often do not sell due to the rapid advancements in technology that render older models obsolete.

Large, heavy furniture can be problematic to sell, primarily due to the difficulty in transporting such items. Unless a buyer comes prepared with a vehicle and extra help to move heavy items, most garage sale browsers are likely to pass on even the most attractively priced piece.

Items in poor condition don’t usually sell because most garage sale shoppers are looking for items they can use immediately. Selling items that are broken, incomplete or in need of repair is often more trouble than it's worth. Potential buyers are generally not looking to take on a project.

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Pricing Items for a Garage Sale

  • General rule: Price items at about 10% to 30% of their original retail value, depending on condition. Desirable, antique, rare or collectible items may go for more. Items you really want someone to take off your hands should be priced lower.
  • Bundle items: Offer deals like "3 books for $5" to encourage more purchases.
  • Be prepared to negotiate: Shoppers love to haggle at garage sales, so set prices slightly higher to allow for negotiation. This will make people feel like they got a better deal.

Best Ways to Advertise Locally

  • Signage: Place signs in high-traffic intersections near your home a few days before the sale. Use large letters and bright colors to catch people’s attention.
  • Online: List your sale on local classified websites, community groups on social media platforms and apps dedicated to garage sales and local events.
  • Word of mouth: Tell friends, family and neighbors, and ask them to spread the word.

Setting Up Your Garage Sale to Attract More Buyers

  • Visibility: Arrange items so that the most attractive items are at the front to lure passersby.
  • Organization: Group similar items together to make browsing easier. For example, keep all books, clothing and kitchenware in separate areas.
  • Accessibility: Ensure there is ample space between tables for people to move around comfortably.

A garage sale not only clears out your home and earns you some cash, but also gives items a second life with a new home. And remember: a successful sale will help you avoid a big trip to the dump once the sale is over.

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The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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