19 Tips to Host a Successful Garage Sale

A friend and I are ardent salers. Once the weather turns a little warmer we’re out on the trail of a good bargain. I’ve had a few garage sales myself but I’m more of an expert bargain finder than a seller. However, looking at it from that point of view I came up with a list of ways to have a successful sale that I’ve learnt over the years and things that attract buyers. Thanks, Jen, for your proof reading of this!!!
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1) The ultimate goal of the sale is to get rid of as much stuff as possible. To do that you’re gonna need to price low.

2) Take out anything you want to get more money for and consider selling it on eBay or Craigslist. What usually happens if you price it too high is you end up with it and end up taking it to Goodwill anyway.

3) Consider re-gifting items with tags on or giving to friends.

4) Take out sentimental items. They’ll be too hard to sell and you’ll overprice them because subconsioucly you don’t want to get rid of them!

5) Wash all clothes/Wipe down items.

6) Removes stained clothes and place in a “free” bin. I know if we see one stained item we move on as we figure maybe it all is.

7) Have a “free” basket and allow people/kids to take one item each.

8) Price everything of have an easy pricing system.

9) price it to go or take it to Goodwill at the end. Remember Point #1.

10) Sell food. Not only will this make you money but it draws crowds and crowds buy. Most places we see hot dogs, chips and pop for $2.

11) Place big attractive items by the curb. That will draw in “drive by” people.

12) Don’t have your sale 2 days running. If people see that in the paper they’ll assume it’s picked over.

13) If you can, have it as part of a subdivision sale.

14) A few hours before closing (say noon) start to mark items down. We met some ladies who every 30 mins were getting up and marking stuff down. They had sold nearly all their stuff that way.

15) Presentation is the difference between people driving by and stopping.

16) Use flags and ballooons to draw attention.

17) use already marked stickes that you can buy cheap at the dollar store to price your items for easy pricing.

18) Advertise well. We went to a subdivision sale last week which wasn’t in the paper. needless to say they had hardly any visitors.

19) Finally, remember, this is not new stuff! Price it low or…………….take it to Goodwill afterwards.

I hope that helps! let me know if you’ve gleaned any good lessons and tips from having a sale/being a saler.


  1. These are all great tips, I would also add to be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare! You don't want to be pricing your items at 2 a.m. the night before your sale:) Start pricing your garage sale items a few weeks before and yes…price everything!

    Find tips & price suggestions for pricing kids clothes at http://www.thehouseholdplanner.com/tcobathome/

  2. victoria hillis says:

    My family has become the garage sale experts. Every year since we moved in our home, we have had at least one garage sale…for my dad. (Growing up during the depression, you tend to hold on to things.) We have always done quite well as in getting rid of a lot of stuff as well as making $500-$1000 each sale. Here are some added tips.

    1. It helps to make good signs. I know this is coming from the wife of a graphic designer but yes it helps to even type signs in easy to read fonts. We post signs with pull off tabs at health clubs, libraries, train stations, and grocery stores. Also for the day of your sale have easy to read signs giving directions to your sale.

    2. My dad thinks it helps to place your newer and bigger stuff closer to the street to draw in the crowd and it must work because it never dies down throughout the day.

    3. Group similar items together. People who are looking for certain items might also see something else that catches their eye.

    4. We agree with the marking down of prices toward the end of the day. We do half off and sure enough, people come back and things sell quickly. Less packing up to do.

    5. One warning. Read your town's rules for sales. Our town is strict about not having flags, balloons, etc. Also, if you do sell food, be cautious. We have been advised not to from various sources because we do live in a very quick to sue country. The best bet is to sell drinks which we do.

    Hope these help.

  3. Great tips, Clair! I think merchandising is the key to a successful garage sale. Put themed items together–all Christmas, all kitchen, etc. At my sister's garage sale one year, a young man in the neighborhood came by to look at a table and chairs set. He said he'd stop by again. So…we set the table with garage sale placemats, a garage sale centerpiece. Nearby was a garage sale living room chair my sister wanted to try to sell him, too, so we set up a garage sale floor lamp next to the chair. Guess what? He took all of it (after we offered him a free beer and chatted for a bit, barraging him with hilarious sales pitches). Okay, so humor helps as well. LOL

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