How to Prepare For a Successful Garage Sale
Browse articles:
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health
Browse companies:
Automotive Crafts, Hobbies & Gifts Department Stores Electronics & Wearables Fashion Food & Drink Health & Beauty Home & Garden Online Services & Software Sports & Outdoors Subscription Boxes Toys, Kids & Baby Travel & Events

How to Prepare For a Successful Garage Sale

Have a garage sale is not walk in the park, there is actually a lot of preparation and work that needs to be done before the garage sale even starts. When you have a garage sale you want things to go as seamlessly as possible and the only way that can be accomplished is to be well prepared.

Have a garage sale is not walk in the park, there is actually a lot of preparation and work that needs to be done before the garage sale even starts.  When you have a garage sale you want things to go as seamlessly as possible and the only way that can be accomplished is to be well prepared. 

A Few Weeks Before the Garage Sale

A few weeks before the garage sale you will need to do the following:

Start saving bags:  Save any bags that you get and put them aside for your garage sale, that way you will have a way for your customers to carry their items home. 

Start Saving Dollar Bills and Coins:  Start puting your singles and change in to jars, you don't need a lot of nickles dimes and pennies unless you will be selling a lot of things for low amounts like .10.  You will however need plenty of quarters and plenty of singles.  I will talk more about money preparation later.

Start Borrowing Tables: You will need plenty of tables for your garage sale, the more tables the better organized you can be so start asking friends and family to borrow their tables.  Do this at least a couple of weeks ahead of time to give them time to prepare and pull them out of storage etc.

Clean Your Garage:  It is almost impossible to have a successful sale in a cluttered disorganized garage, it is time to get out there and clean it.  As you clean designate an area to place anything that you would like to sell.

Start Going Through Your House:  Start going through your house if you start doing this a few weeks ahead of time you should have plenty of time to go through every room in your house to see if there are things you want to sell.  Don't forget to go through your attic or crawl space.

A Week Before the Sale

Place An Ad:  If you are going to place an add in the paper this is the time to do it.  If your sale is starting on Thursday you should have the add run starting on Wednesday.  Make sure it also runs on Thursday and even Friday depending on much you want to spend.  Ask the Newspaper if they have a rain guarantee meaning if it rains on the date of your garage sale they will re-run the ad for you the following week.  Stick to local Newspapers, the ones that deal the most with your area.  For instance if you live in the suburbs of Chicago placing an add in a paper that caters more to people in Chicago will not get you that much business, deal with a paper that deals with areas closes to you.

Bulletin Boards:  I don't see a lot of bulletin boards anymore, but if you have a place in your area that allows people to post on their bulletin board you should also post this about a week before the sale.  Make little tabs for people to take with the date, times, and address on them.

License:  If your city requires a garage sale license or permit make sure and take care of this the week before.  If you put it off till the last minute it will seem like a huge inconvenience because once you start pricing and setting up you will find you will be quite busy, just get it take care of sooner than later and it will not end up being a stressor for you.

Start Pricing:  Very important the sooner you start pricing the better.  You will be unpleasantly surprised just how long this takes, especially if you are pricing everything individually. Don't be one of those people who just throws stuff out on tables and expects people to ask them how much they want for things.  Personally when I go to garage sales like that I just turn around and leave.  People don't like surprises.

To make things a bit easier price like things all the same for instance if you have several books put a sign up that says all books in box or boxes .25 or all paperbacks in box .25 all hard covers .50.  That way you will not have to go through and put a price on every single book.  If have a book that you want more for then place it somewhere else and put a price on it.  If you lots of kids clothing just put a a sign that reads something like this:

All Jeans $1

All tops .75

All others .50.

This will save you a ton of time, if you have a few nicer clothing items you want more for then put the words on table on that sign and then put the better clothing that you want more for somewhere else, preferably hanging some how so that people can really see them.  Obviously as you are pricing you should also be organizing and setting up tables if you have the space. 

You can do the same with small toys as well.

A Few Days Prior to the Sale

Make Your Sign:  You can buy signs or make your own.  If you are makng your own, make them and have them ready ahead of time so they are ready to go the day of the sale.  If you have an ad in the paper you may have early birds waiting for your sale to open, you do not want to have to be dealing with sign making the morning of. Get them made and put them someplace handy so you are ready to go and put them out.

Finalize Your Tables:  If you were unable to organize your tables when you were pricing due to space this is the time to start setting up those tables.  If you don't have space to set up all your tables in advance set up as many as space will allow, put the remaining items in large boxes and mark on the box what table those things will go on.  Having this organized ahead of time will make it easier to set up on the day of the sale.

Prepare Money:  If you follwed my instructions in the beginning you should have plenty of quarters, a few dimes, and a few nickes, and plenty of singles.  Aside from change I personally always start out with $50.00 of fold-able money my pouch, plus the change. By the way you should have some way of carrying money around with you unless you have someone who is able to just sit and take money.  You and anyone who helps you will likely be running around however so make your change portable and carry it with you.

I always have at least 20 singles, 4 fives, and a ten to start out the morning.  If you start out the day with just $20 singles and your first customer comes and gives you a $20.00 bill for a $1.00 purchase you will be out of change right then and there and that is a bad situation to be in because usually opening time is very busy.  To be safe I always keep an $10 in singles in the house and an extra $20 in fives. 

I usually carry a small light purse with me that I wear over my shoulders.  This purse has one large pocket which is where I keep all the change and an handy zipper pocket. I place any bill that is $10 or greater in the zipper section, that way I am not knocking out large bills  I also organize my folding change often so I am always prepared, I always keep the singles all together, the fives all together and the tens all together.  The moment there is a break in the business I will take my purse in to the house and remove all of the money in the zipper part of the purse, so I am not carrying a lot of money around with me. 

Comfy Clothes and a Chair:  Make sure you have a chair or chairs for you and any one who helps you available to sit down, chancs are if your sale is going well you won't have much time to sit down, but you will want them there and ready should you get a break in sales.  Garage sales are very tiring and a lot of hard work.  Also make sure you have nice comfortable weather appropriate clothes ready to wear and your favorite most comfortable shoes available.  Don't wait till the morning of to get things ready you will have too many things to worry about and a million things going through your head. 

Cool Drinks:  Also have a cooler ready to keep some cool drinks in for your self and your helpers, obviousy you can't fill it with ice and drinks until the morning of but having it ready, available, and clean will really help you.

The Day Of Sale

Get up early and get ready. 

Put your comfy clothes on, and fill up your cooler.

Start pulling out your tables and putting out your larger items.  It really helps at this time to have someone help you.  If your spouse is going to work that morning ask them very nicely if they can spare a little time to help you pull everything out and set it up.  This goes quickly with two people, but takes a long time with just one. 

If you will be doing the sale alone go and put your signs up before your spouse leaves.  It is hard to get away once the time for your sale starts especially if you have placed an ad.  There will likely be people waiting for your sale to begin anywhere from a half hour to 15 minutes early.  Obviously if you are alone it will be difficult to go an put up your signs just before the sale, as you will have to leave everything un-attended when you do this. Just make sure the opening time of the sale is very clearly visible on the sign. 

Place your money pouch or purse over your shoulders or around your waist, place your bags in a convenient place and get ready to embark on your garage sale experience.

Additional resources:

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
in Ways To Make Money on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Ways To Make Money?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (2)

Great tips. I really need to have a yard sale soon! I have tons of old books, clothes, and small furniture that I no longer use.

This is a very good way of generating income. Thanks for the ideas.