Garage Sale Prepping Tips

Garage Sale

t’s that time again! And no, I’m not talking about sunny days of relaxing. I’m talking about Prepping for Garage Sales! We used to have Garage Sale all the time when I was younger. It was a normal thing to do every Spring and Fall. However once my sister and I grew up, my parents just stopped doing it…until last Fall. 🙂 Yep, we had out first Garage sale in years last September and did pretty well. I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of work prepping for a Garage Sale. However, it’s a way to clear some clutter and score some quick cash! Getting organized for a garage sale can mean more money and less stress.


Your Garage Sale inventory is living right under your nose. The first step is to find it. In the weeks before your sale, scour closets and cupboards, bookcases and basement for items.

How to Decide What Goes and What Stays?

“Have I cooked with it, worn it, displayed it, used it, or read it within the last year?”

Remind yourself that the goal is to clear clutter and make room in your organized home by finding new homes for items you don’t use, need, or love.

Challenge family members to contribute! Children will be much more amenable to parting with outgrown toys if they see that there’s something in it for them, in the form of cold, hard cash. 🙂

You’ll need room to assess, clean, and price your inventory, so choose a location that has space to work.

Once an item’s selected for sale, be stern! Store yard sale inventory in black plastic garbage bags or boxes with lids to deter seller’s remorse. No fair reading, looking, or cooking; once an item is in the yard sale staging area, there is no appeal, no mercy, and no second chance.

Do Your Homework

Note price ranges on clothing, kitchenware, and books. There’s no sense labeling two boxes of kitchen utensils at 50 cents apiece if a quarter is the going rate for serving spoons and can openers.

Set the Date

When considering the calendar, plan your sale for early in the month. Holiday weekends in summer can see lighter traffic, as families head for the mountains or the beach instead of the yard sale circuit. Be mindful of special events, like high school graduations, that could put a crimp on the flow of shoppers as you schedule your sale.

Choose your day(s)! Holding a two-day sale doubles the time invested and can deter customers; experienced yard sale shoppers know that the best items sell on the first day, so won’t bother visiting a second-day sale. Friday sales attract mothers of young children, who have time during the workweek to visit your sale, so if your inventory is heavy on children’s clothing and toys, consider a Friday sale. Saturday sales attract more shoppers, so choose a Saturday if you have a wider variety of goods for sale.

Set a time frame for your sale. In many areas, an 8 a.m. start is considered standard; start your sale early to catch the most shopping traffic. Do plan an end time for your sale, sometime in early to mid-afternoon. In yard sales, as in life, there is a point of diminishing returns. Sitting around after 4:00 pm isn’t worth the few pennies that may–or may not–come your way.

Form an Exit Strategy

Avoid having to re-house unsold items! Have a strategy for sale’s end; many charities will pick up all unsold items. Be prepared to box the leftovers for delivery to a thrift store donation site.


Advertise, advertise, advertise. Many local papers offer special garage sale rates, or free signs to yard sale advertisers.


ALWAYS have a sign-out front that actually tells people that there is a sale going on! Also, place a sign at the top of the street to attract those driving by with nothing to do!

Prep and Price

Run dusty dishes and filmy glassware through the dishwasher. Clean, fresh-smelling clothing hung on hangers commands a higher price than stained and rumpled items tossed into boxes. Examine children’s toys for breakage and hazards.

If in doubt, throw it out. Old lamps with frayed cords or small appliances that give off a burned smell belong in the trash, not on your tables. Protect other families like you protect your own!

To price, or not to price? Haggling is part of the yard sale scene, but for those with shyer natures, a price sticker saves a lot of energy. You can even group items and hang signs throughout the sale for questionable buyers! Buyers are more apt to buy when they know the price is in their ballpark. You can also get some of those neon round stickers to individually label item prices.

Bundling is an old retailer’s trick, and one well suited to the yard-sale seller.

Set Up Shop

It’s best to work from a stripped site, so remove everything that’s not for sale from the driveway, garage or carport. Set up tables, even a slab of plywood board resting on sawhorse, make for easy browsing. ang clothing from ropes or chains attached to the ceiling. Display books, spines up, in shallow boxes for easy shopping.

Position big-ticket items like furniture or exercise equipment out near the front of the sales site where they will attract shoppers.

Display sales items to their best advantage, assembling items where possible to enhance their value.

You’ll command a higher price for electronic items if you lay out all cases and accessories!

Are you ready to make change? Be prepared with at least $20 in small bills and change.

Ready, Set, Sell!

Now’s the time to play salesman. To run a lively sale, don’t sit there like a lump in a lawn chair! Get up and talk to people. Be excited and enthusiastic. Comment on cute children, bumper stickers and T-shirt slogans. Be bubbly and vivacious and share lots of information about your items. Not only will you create enthusiasm and make sales, you’ll meet neighbors you never knew you had, so it’s smart to put your best foot forward.

Plan for at least two staffers for every sale, and more is better. One person acts as “background”, shuffling cash, keeping an active eye on everything. Leave the selling to the most enthusiastic salesperson.


The secret to a successful yard sale is foot traffic. The more folks who walk through your sale, the more you’ll sell. Lots of cars parked on your street signal the location of your sale and show yard-sale cruisers where to find you.

When the Sale is Over

Wrap up your sale when you said you would. A Garage Sale is a lot of work, and you’re still not finished. Dispose of the leftovers, either to the charity pick-up or by boxing and delivering the items yourself.

Remove all signs, and return your sale site to normal.

Then go count your proceeds!

Picture of Lilly Thomas

Lilly Thomas

Amateur wedding planner and a full-time good-time, Lilly Thomas loves to bring her bubbly, bright personality to everything she does, especially writing! Always looking to try new things and sample what life has to offer, Lilly runs a DIY glass-blowing class when she's not busy making that bank!

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