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14 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

You've done some spring cleaning and have a corner of the garage full of items you're ready to toss. If you're considering a garage or yard sale, there are some tricks to making it worth your time and energy. Follow these 14 tips for a successful sale.

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drawing boardJamie Hooper/Shutterstock

Pick the Right Day and Time

Saturday is the most popular day for a garage sale, but if you have a lot of items, consider adding Friday and even Thursday to make it a multi-day event. Garage sale experts suggest you go for a time of year when the weather isn’t extreme, such as spring or fall. Regarding timing, start as early as 7 a.m. and go no later than 2 p.m., as most sales drop off in attendance by this time.

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garage sale signPaul Velgos/Shutterstock

Location, Location, Location

Rural country roads aren’t the ideal location for a garage sale. If you live in a rural area, consider asking a friend or family member who lives in a neighborhood with lots of traffic—both foot and vehicle—if you can set up shop for a day. Many garage sale attendees will seek out sales in neighborhoods that are close together, opposed to one sale in a rural part of town.

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garage sale in garageMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Multi-Family Effort

See if any of your friends have items to get rid of and if so, consider doing a multi-family garage sale. Since these sales will have more goods, they’ll attract more customers. You’ll also have more help to share the work load.

Consider these 12 ways to downsize as you sort through your stuff.

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sorting for garage saleKekyalyaynen/Shutterstock

Collect Your Items

Use a garage sale as a reason to declutter your closet. Take a box to every room of your home and toss in anything you no longer use or that you just want to get rid of. Look in drawers for old power cords and cables, there’s probably someone looking for that exact cable!

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full closet with clothesPeryn22/Shutterstock

Get Organized

When it comes to garage sale organization, keep like items together. Put all DVDs together. Keep household items on one large table.

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garage sale price tagged itemsnature10/Shutterstock

Set the Price

It’s best if you price items individually as this will help you keep things organized. Keep prices fair and be willing to negotiate. When it comes to bigger-ticket items, know ahead of time just how low you are willing to go. Consider giving a discount for buying several similar items, such as making DVDs three for $5 or one for $2. If items don’t sell, consider donating them to a thrift store.

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Plastic Grocery BagsNatalie Board/Shutterstock

Offer Mystery Bags

Put all of those plastic grocery bags to good use and offer mystery bags. Mystery bags can work well with children’s clothing or small baby toys. Consider putting several items in a bag, such as a bag of children’s pants, and offer it for a set price. Just make sure to note the clothing size and gender if you go this route.

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garage sale adSuzanne Tucker/Shutterstock


While you may pay a small fee, consider listing your garage sale in your local newspaper and include some of your bigger items to draw attention to your sale. There are also online places to post your sale, many of which are free, including craigslist, Garage Sale Hunter and Yard Sale Search.

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box of toys for garage saleEvgeniy Agarkov/Shutterstock

The Night Before

When it comes to how to have a yard sale, on the night before your garage sale, get everything ready.There will probably be people standing outside waiting 15 minutes before your advertised start time. Make sure all the tables are set, the register is ready and you have all your supplies where you need them. This will be the last thing you want to deal with the morning of the sale.

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stack of coins for garage saleWojmac/Shutterstock

Have Plenty of Change

Stop by the bank the day before your sale to stock up on change and $1 bills. Be sure to have plenty of nickels, dimes, quarters. If you have some pricier items for sale, make sure to have some $20 bills on hand just in case. Decide ahead of time if you will accept personal checks, but it’s probably not a good idea.

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smartphone credit card readerred mango/Shutterstock

Accept Credit Cards

One way on how to do a yard sale successful is accepting credit cards. Anyone with a tablet or smartphone can accept credit or debit cards. Square is a popular service which requires a reader, which the company will send you for free. You will pay a small percentage in swipe fees, but this may come in handy if you have some high-ticket items.

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bag of bagsVictoria 1/Shutterstock

Have Bags and Boxes for Customers

Keep leftover plastic grocery bags around for customers to carry their purchases. Small cardboard boxes may also come in handy for customers purchasing a set of dishes, several cables or tools.

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garage sale sign in yardTono Balaguer/Shutterstock

An Hour Before

An hour before your garage sale starts, place garage sale signs at the end of your street and in front of the house. Find a place to sit that is out of the sun.

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garage sale holder with tableMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Work the Crowd

Be ready to answer questions from customers. If you have a unique item for sale, talk to customers about it if they seem to be interested. Keep your chair in a position that allows you to see customers arrive and greet them with a friendly hello. Make sure you (or someone you trust) have your eyes on the cash box at all times.

When the sale is over, get your garage organized again with these 51 tips.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.