Ready to learn how to have a garage sale?

Have you cleared your attic, basement, and garage and are ready to have a sale? Do you know you want to have a garage sale but the thought of having one overwhelms you?  Would you like to know how to easily and effortlessly have a garage sale?

I’m going to be upfront. I’m not a fan of garage sales. I have done it myself and I have done it for clients before. People now call me and ask me to do, I don’t. I tell them it isn’t worth it for them to pay me.

The best advice to you to not go crazy is to be very clear on the purpose of your garage sale. If you are doing it to make money back, don’t do it.

Make it a social event or with your neighborhood to make it a little more enjoyable.  You can also teach your kids about selling, completing a project, and negotiating.

A good reminder as you contemplate how to have a garage sale.


Start saving grocery bags so you can use them at the sale when people purchase stuff.  Don’t count on people to have reusable bags, although this brings up a good tip: keep them in your car!

Schedule it far enough in advance you can get the word out. Plan it for a non-holiday weekend and check the weather forecast for when you want to have it.

Get the word out. Social media, classified ads and put in community newspapers, NextDoor, on online garage sale forums. You can create a public event on Facebook, too.

Let kids know they get to keep cash from what they sell so they may be motivated to let go of some more stuff.

Be courteous and let the neighbors know. You never know, others may want to join you and multi-family sales seem to attract more.  Want to beef up your sale? Offer to sell stuff for friends for a commission.

Create large, easy-to-read signs for the neighborhood. I have driven by stuff and can’t read it. People are less likely to stop if they can’t read it. Record where you have put up your signs—street, cross street, etc. so that you can bring them down when you finish.

Put start and stop times.  A Friend shared to put out a sign that says early birds pay more to keep people from bothering you early. More people seeing your stuff better chance to sell at the best price.

Make sure there are places to park.

Organized woman relaxed and drinking coffee
Get ready for your garage sale?

The garage sale

Have an extension cord ready so potential buyers can try stuff out. Say your radio works but showing them it works is a lot different.

For clothes, make them look their best.  Have a rack, sorted by size not stuffed. Have a mirror and place to change.

Price everything. Some people prefer not to do that and negotiate everything, which is my idea of a nightmare. 

Use colored dots, masking tape, and a sharpie.

Be realistic when pricing. I had a client who didn’t sell much because she priced it too high. She was trying to make back her money which was never going to happen. Remind yourself you’re doing this to declutter.

If this is Tough for you, have a friend do it. Donate half to charity if that helps motivate you.

Have a quarter or dollar box to keep people interested and mulling about.

Be ready to negotiate.

Nicely display stuff and have it organized. I would put brightly colored signs on each category.   Having general categories don’t super categorize it because you want people to mill around a bit.

Put a rug on the lawn with toys that you are selling.  Let kids come and check them out.

Have fun with negotiating prices. You aren’t good at having a friend do this.

Have a cash register near the entrance to the garage. If you have a large multi neighborhood, consider having an additional station or two so people don’t have to wait and you lose a sale.   

Have small bills, change, cash box, pencil, pen, newspaper, bags, tape to wrap purchases, bubble wrap,

Make sure that someone is watching the house and it’s locked.

Be prepared to slash prices at end of the sale. Time to be like Elsa and let it go.

Release clutter
Feel joy once you’ve decluttered and made some money!

Post sale

Remove your signs from around the neighborhood.  That’s why I had you write it down earlier.

Take your items to your favorite charity or have charity scheduled pick up the next day.

Do something fun with your earnings.

If with the gals, go enjoy lunch or a movie or a space day.

If kids have a wrap-up about the experience and what they learned.

Take actions from today’s blog on tips for having a successful garage sale:

  • Plan your sale on a non-holiday weekend and look at the weather. Get the word out in a variety of places and put stop and start times
  • Be realistic about pricing. Remember, the object is to let stuff go.
  • Organize and categorize all your items to make everything look its’ best and to sell easily
  • Be prepared to slash prices at end of sale. Remember, you cleared your clutter and want it gone!

Do you want to have a garage sale? Why or why not? How can you best prepare for a garage sale? What else do you need to think about to have an organized garage sale?

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