Preparing for a Garage Sale: Best Tips?

by jessicaturner on May 10, 2013

Growing up, we had a garage sale every year. I have fond memories of selecting toys to sell so that I could earn my own spending money, going from house to house in my neighborhood looking for Baby-Sitters Club and Nancy Drew books to buy, and having lemonade stands with my sister.

I am so excited to be planning my first garage sale next weekend. We will have lots of kids clothes, home decor stuff, craft supplies and a bunch of toys. I’m also hoping that a few neighbors are going to join in the fun.

This weekend I plan to be ruthless in our purging to make it the best sale possible. I also hope to start going through what we have and organizing. I’m hoping to borrow a few tables from friends and set-up over the course of a few nights next week.

I’ve been reading a few blog posts to make sure I don’t forget anything. A few good ones that I have read:

5 Tips For A Killer Yard Sale
from Mandi at Vintage Revivals
How to Organize a Successful Garage Sale from Sami Cone
10 Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale from House of Hepworths

One of my mom’s best tips for garage sales was to never sell anything for less than a quarter. If it was worth less, then sell it 2 for a 25 cents. Then you never had to worry about smaller change.

What are your best tips for me as I plan my first garage sale?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

shellie May 10, 2013 at 10:15 am

I’ve only done one garage sale as an adult and I sold mostly clothes. Good clothes! I priced them for what I would pay…$10, $5, etc… They didn’t sell. I ended up almost giving them away by the end of the day. So, my tip would be, if you have nicer stuff that you don’t want to price cheaply, sell it on ebay =)


Shelbie May 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

I can’t wait to see what advice you get! We’re planning our first GS for this summer and I need help to get going! :)


Katy May 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

I just had one last weekend! I find that garage sale items bring much less money than Craigslist or eBay. I realized that it is a huge waste of time to price anything, as people always ask what you want for an item. I was was also surprised that people would haggle on a .50 cent item. Also, make you aren’t too attached to any items that belonged to your kids, it is funny the odd reaction I felt inside when something sentimental would sell, especially if the price was not what I had hoped. When the sale is over, immediately load up your car and drop anything that didn’t sell to a charity. You won’t want to bring it back into your house once you have cut your ties. :). Relax and have fun, it is quite fun to chat with all the shoppers!


Lisa Hamer May 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm

The work and headache of a garage sale always has me just donating. But that extra cash is “oh so nice”.


Shannon Hartman May 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I like the idea of a garage sale instead of doing ebay or craigslist is – it’s one day and done and I don’t have to keep checking stuff and making trips to the post office (but you do get less money, that’s true) I also have been blessed with some great garage sale finds so I don’t mind passing it forward.

Put your big/colorful items out so when people drive by they are attracted to them. Even if they are sold. Keep em out and mark sold on them. Since I am always looking for kids stuff I am attracted to bright colorful things.

Since you are having a garage sale, know that people don’t want to pay store prices for things. I can get great deals at the gap and children’s place for kids tshirts and such so mark accordingly.

Mark half off at the end of your sale, or fill a bag for $1 or something. Then like the pp said pack it all up and take it to charity!


Elizabeth May 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm

My aunt is a pro at having and going to garage sales. Have bags for customers to take home their lot. Do price things as some people just will leave items rather than ask the price. People will bargain be ready. It’s a garage sale not ebay or Craigslist so don’t over price. Sentimental value means nothing to those buying your stuff and if you want it gone, then let it go. Have good advertising with signs big enough to see. Make the sale worth people’s time so they don’t see a small lot and drive right by instead if stopping.


amy May 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

From the links having a multi family or advertised “neighborhood” sale will definitely attract people. Last year my friends and I had a 0.50$ sale. Nearly all kids clothing were 0.50 as well as many other items.

For clothing try to rent clothing rack/rounds…like at the stores and use hangers to hang clothes. You may struggle with rounding up enough hangers (I keep the plastic ones from the stores but also en d up using a few from the closet) but it is so awesome! People can look through the clothes easier and quicker and therefore buy more clothes. And it is such a pain to keep folding and organizing clothes that are sitting on a table and things get lost and 2 piece outfits tend to get separated if not attached well.

Have fun and good luck!


Melissa L May 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Don’t price anything as people will always barter the price with you anyway. And when people have to come up with the price entirely on their own they are more likely willing to make a fair price. You will still have people offer a price lower than you were hoping to sell it for, but you can always say no. However, there will also be people that will offer a price higher than what you would have sold it for! Plus, you don’t have to spend time pricing items! Like others have already said, people don’t want to spend a lot of money on garage sale stuff, so if you have higher price items ($50, $100) it is better to sell them elsewhere or expect people to be offering $20, Have fun!


Ashley G May 11, 2013 at 8:17 am

My suggestion is to post an ad on Craigslist and to use words like “high-end,” “like new,” and specific brand names. People were drawn to my ad for housewares due to specifically saying Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, etc. If you have items that go together then set them up together and provide a picture of them displayed; for example, I had a comforter set and had a picture of the bed made with it and the matching accessories. Have an outlet or extension cord handy to demonstrate that small appliances or electronics work. Good luck!


jessicaturner May 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Your comment made me look for a few Pottery Barn etc. items to add to my sale box!


Cara May 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Definitely post the brands or good descriptions in your ad — when I’m searching thru yard sale listings – like this weekend when our citywide yard sale happened – I hit the ones that mention Gap and Gymboree for kids’ clothes and Plan Toys, wooden, and educational toys. It lets people know it’s worth their whole to go to your sale:)


jessicaturner May 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Great tip!


Amy S May 13, 2013 at 10:14 am

Awesome tip about not selling anything for less than a quarter! I’ve never thought about that, and oh my goodness it would have saved me so much time in the past! Ugh! Hahah, another tip I’d add there for ya is to advertise on websites that let you do it for free. It’s pretty awesome when you find a good website for that. I’ve always used It’s always been great in helping me find yard sales ALL OVER my area:)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: