Garage Sale Secrets

Garage Sale Secrets

My dad and step-mom are having a garage sale this coming weekend and it got me thinking back to when my brother and I had one a couple years ago. We hardly made any money at all. In fact, I lost money because the cost of the newspaper ad was more than I earned. So here are some tips that I’ve learned since then. aka If I knew then what I know now.

  • Use as many tables as you can. This lets you organize items at a comfortable height and prevents items from accidentally getting stepped on. For clothing, if you can hang up the clothes it’s even better. Think about it this way. If you went to a store, would you rather sort through the clothes on a table or on a clothing rack?
  • Organize by type. Clothing in one section, toys in another, kitchen items together, etc.
  • Make sure all items are clearly priced, either with individual stickers (that will come off cleanly) or signs indicting everything in a certain section is the same price. Example “all clothing $1”. You could use pricing stickers that have pre-printed amounts on them, blank stickers to write in your own, or you could even use blank address labels (like Avery labels) to print the pricing amounts you need.
  • Make sure to have plenty of cash and change on hand. Also make sure that someone is sitting with the money at all times. If you’re having the sale by yourself and you know you’ll be getting up to help potential customers, it might be a good idea to get a friend to help or consider wearing a fanny pack to hold the money in.
  • If you’re having the sale to clear out a bunch of stuff you haven’t used in years, be stern with yourself! Once you’ve decided it’ll be for sale, don’t look back. Put the items in boxes or bags so you’re not tempted to look through them every day until the sale and pick stuff back out. If you haven’t used it in over 6 months, are you ever going to?
  • Plan a date – try planning your sale for early in the month. people have the most extra cash right after payday, so plan accordingly. Holiday weekends might mean lighter traffic to your sale since a lot of people head out of town. Also watch out for other events going on in your town that might pull potential customers away (town street fair, carnival, graduations, etc).
  • Women stop more than men (it’s shopping, it’s in our genes), so you’ve got to do a bit extra work to get a guy to stop. Lawn equipment, tools, sporting goods, etc should be close to the curb so men can see them from their car.
  • If you’re having the sale on a hot day, you could sell bottled water. Keep it cold in an ice chest and you may get people stopping just to get a drink. Safeway regularly sells 24 packs of water for about $3 each. If you sold the water for .25 a bottle, you’d make a $3 profit (not counting the cost of crv).
  • If you need some signs to print out, is a good place to go. They have a good variety of pricing signs, signs to help direct people to certain tables, etc.

Want some other garage sale tips? Check out this post from

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