Now is a great time of year to use your garage to make some extra money, and to declutter your house at the same time! A garage sale is a great way to get rid of your clutter and make you a nice payday! Click To Tweet We’re going to give you a quick rundown on how exactly to hold a successful garage sale, with ten basic tips!


1. Plan ahead!

Some people don’t properly plan their garage sales, and on the big day they end up stressed and ill-prepared. In general, it takes several months of casual work to get ready for a garage sale, gathering unused things from around the house and collecting them in one location. If you’re unsure if you can get rid of something, go ahead and put it in the garage sale pile – if you don’t end up looking for it in a month, you probably don’t need it.

2. Get a permit!

Certain areas require that you have a permit before holding a garage sale, and although it might seem like wasted work, the time it takes is worth avoiding a fine and possible legal troubles! Find out if your area requires a permit for garage sales. Some neighborhoods hold annual garage sales where the Home Owners Association handles the permitting, and that would be a great time for your sale as well.

3. Save the date!

Saturday morning is the best day for garage sales, and you’ll want to start as early as possible – sunrise or 8 A.M., ideally. Early shoppers will often show up an hour or more before your listed start time, trying to get the good deals before the rush, but if you want shoppers at all you’ll want to pick a date on a weekend. Avoid travel holidays (minor holidays like Mothers Day are fine) and if you hear of other local garage sales, try to time yours to coincide.

4. Location, location, location!

If your home doesn’t have enough space for five or six cars to park while people pursue your wares, consider holding the sale out of a friend’s garage instead! This is especially important if you life in a rural area or far away from major access roads: although you should be advertising your sale, you’ll still get many passerbys who see your sale while driving past and stop to take a look if you hold it in a heavily trafficked location.

5. Advertise yourself!

Advertising in the local paper is a viable option and may be as inexpensive as $15, but online options such a Craigslist are free and let you get the word out about your sale. The night before or morning of your sale, put up clear signs with arrows guiding drivers towards your sale. Make sure to use large block letters so that your signs are easily legible.

6. Get change ahead of time!

Two or three days before the sale, visit the bank (some big-box stores will also be willing to help, although they might want you to buy something) and get plenty of change – around $100 is appropriate if you have a large number of big-ticket items. You’ll want tens, fives, ones, and quarters, in addition to smaller coinage if you’re selling items for ¢5 or ¢10. Be careful to mind this money, possibly by carrying it on you. Although most buyers will be well-intentioned and honest people, there’s no need to flash a wad of bills at everyone you’re breaking a dollar for.

7. Label items clearly!

Having price stickers on every item, or grouping them into sections with obvious price labeling (an entire box of $1 clothes or a shelf of ¢25 books) helps you set expectations and minimize your work on the day of the sale. Price items between a third and a tenth of their original purchase value, and remember that your buyers won’t care how much you paid for something or what emotional attachment you might have to it. In general, everything you sell will have to feel like a bargain before a shopper will even consider it, so price things in a range that you would consider buying.

8. Be prepared to haggle!

Many people will want to haggle with you, and in certain cases this can be a fun and productive activity. If someone wants to buy a dollar shirt for a quarter, you have to decide in the moment if getting rid of the shirt is worth that little to you. As the day goes on, get more aggressive with price reductions, including marking down prices. While the day is still young, however, there’s no need to reduce your price further than you want to go. If someone is adamant about not paying more than $5 for a piece of furniture you think is worth $20, let them know that you believe that it is priced fairly and that you won’t be lowering the price until later in the day. Be prepared to haggle, but firm when you’ve hit your price floor.

9. Respect your customers!

Always be courteous and respectful to your shoppers, and although you will make some sales by talking to them about your wares, launching into a story about every single shirt they hold up will quickly lose you a sale instead! Be animated and involved, but don’t hover so much that they feel uncomfortable. If you notice several people looking at the same item and then not buying it, consider reducing the price listed, since it seems like your buyers don’t agree with your evaluation.

10. Know your true goal!

Sometimes, you hold a garage sale to make money. In that case, you should be less willing to haggle and resigned to the fact that many of your items may not sell. If you’ve got an attic or closet to store these things in, you should be able to stash them back in their until your next sale. Sometimes, however, your true goal is to declutter your house. If that is the case, haggle aggressively and drop prices as the day goes on. At the end of the day, consider taking what’s left over to goodwill, or leaving it outside with a “Free!” sign. You can also offer shoppers bulk deals as the sale is coming to an end, selling them an entire box of ¢25 toys for a dollar or something similar. Remember, in this case, the money is just the icing on top of the decluttering cake, and prioritize what really matters to you!

If you follow these ten simple steps, you should be well on your way to holding an awesome garage sale. Let us know in the comments if you have another tip you think people should know, and we may revisit this topic again. A garage sale can be a great way to clean out your home and, if you’ve got plenty to sell, you can even make some serious cash for a couple of day’s work!

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