14 Garage Sale Tips

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 garage sale tips for a successful clean-out.

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drawing board
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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.

According to some, fall is the best time for a garage sale, but spring works too. The main thing is that you go for a time of year when the weather isn’t extreme.

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 sign
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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 garage
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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.

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sorting for garage sale

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! Here’s what not to sell or buy at a garage sale to keep you safe.

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full closet with clothes

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 items

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. Old furniture is popular as more and more people are getting into the furniture flipping hobby. It’s worth knowing what you have, what it’s worth (or, what it’s worth for you to have it out of your house) and having an idea of the prices you’re willing to accept.

Also, consider giving a discount for buying several similar items, such as making DVDs three for $5 or one for $2. If items don’t move during your garage sale, you still might be able to sell them online or consider donating them to a thrift store.

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Plastic Grocery Bags
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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 ad
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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.

If you have lots of old furniture available, it’s worth mentioning it, even including photos, in your online posts.

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box of toys for garage sale
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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 sale

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 reader
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Accept Credit Cards at Garage Sale

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 bags
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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. If you have larger items, like furniture, it’s worth having a moving dolly on hand.

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garage sale sign in yard
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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 table
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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.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham spent years working in newsrooms, for television and newspapers, and has won several awards for her writing. In 2015, she left her full-time job as a newspaper editor to focus on freelance writing and editing. She has been a Family Handyman contributor since 2017.
In 2019, Rachel lived through a major remodeling project on her home, and she uses that experience to inform her Family Handyman content. She's also an avid gardener (both native plants and vegetables), enjoys keeping up with decor trends and spends a lot of time traveling, cooking and hanging out with her family and their giant dog.