Run A Successful Garage Sale

Use the tips below to help gear up for your next Garage Sale:

Before Your Sale

  1. Pick a date and time.  Make sure your date will work for all those involved and try not to plan your sale around big community events (like college football games). Remember that often eager shoppers come early to garage sales.  If you’re not an early riser, don’t advertise 6 a.m. because you will get eager shoppers on your lawn at 5:30 a.m.  If you’re having a yard sale, make sure you have a plan B if it rains. Also, consider not advertising a close time. This leaves you to close when the crowds have died down or you’re out of items.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare.  At least a month will give you time to get everything priced and organized.
  3. Ask family, friends and neighbors if they would like to join.  The more items you can have, the more attractive you are to buyers.
  4. Time to clean – Declutter and clean out your home including your attic, garage, basement, spare rooms and shed.  Rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in the past year, it’s time to get rid of it.
  5. If it’s broke and can be repaired, fix it.  If it’s dirty, wash it.  No one wants broken, dirty objects.


  1. If you have multiple people participating in your sale, invest in color stickers to keep everyone’s items separate.  You can collect the stickers and divvy up the cash after you’re done.  Do not use stickers or tape on paper or cardboard items.  It could ruin the condition of the item.
  2. Price at garage sale prices.  The lower the price, the more likely it will sell.
  3. Price as you go.  Don’t wait until you have all your items in one location to price.  It can become overwhelming.
  4. Make piles and baskets based on prices and departments (i.e. clothing, dishes, vases, etc.) This will help when it’s time to get everything out the door.
  5. Include any important info about object that require it (i.e. Table is wobbly, Watch works but needs battery.)
  6. Offer a “Free box.”  Put items in there that you know you won’t get anything for.  At least you can get rid of those items that way.
  7. Don’t place eBay auction info on your items.  No one cares what it sold for.  If you believe you can get more on eBay, then do it.

Prep Time

  1. Contact America’s Thrift Stores either through this online pickup request form or by phone at 1-800-964-4567 (or 1-844-411-6462 if in the Marietta, GA area) to schedule a pick up for after your sale is complete.  You’ve worked hard to get all the junk out of your home.  Don’t drag the leftovers back inside.
  2. Figure out how many tables you’ll need and ask to borrow them from family, friends or even a church.
  3. If you live in a hot climate, get some fans or a canopy to help keep your customers cool.
  4. Gather the following items: Notepad and pen, calculator, money box or fanny pack, plenty of change.
  5. If you’re selling adult clothing, try to find a way to hang it up.  You can purchase a clothing rack or use what’s around you.  A chain link fence, a curtain rod between two ladders, maybe even a tree.
  6. Gather some bags and newspapers to help your customers take their find home safely with them.

Advertising and Signs

  1. Place your garage sale listing on craigslist as well as your local newspaper.  Do some research to see if your community has a Facebook page or garage sale site as well.  Place ads a day or two before your sale.  Avid shoppers will be looking a day or two before the weekend to map our their route.
  2. Make flyers or print this garage sale sign, and place them on community boards, poles and church bulletin boards. (Check with city ordinances to see what the regulations are before posting flyers outside.)
  3. Recycle old cardboard boxes and taking them apart and making sign to stake in the ground.  The best signs include day, time, address and arrow in the direction of your sale. (If needed, you can purchase signs at your local Walmart or Target.)
  4. If you have large items, like a couch, refrigerator or big screen TV, mention that in the ad to draw more buyers.  Even if it’s sold when they get there, they may buy something else.

Day Before and Day Of

  1. Place all your signage and tables out the night before.  This will help in the morning.  Consider traffic flow as well.
  2. Display is important.  Grab some dollar store table clothes to cover tables.  Make sure everything is placed where you can see it.
  3. If you’re selling electrical items, have a way to test them, whether electrical cord or batteries.
  4. Place items by department – all like items together (book section, baby section, etc.)
  5. Keep small or valuable items close to where you’ll be to help prevent theft.
  6. As items sale, and as you can, rearrange remaining items to look attractive.
  7. Be prepared to haggle, but don’t feel pressured to let an item go for a price you’re not comfortable with.
  8. Once it’s over, make sure all the tables are returned to the person you borrowed them from. Make sure all signs and flyers are taken down.
  9. Gather the leftovers and take them to the curb for one of our trucks to come and pick up.

After it’s all over, kick your feet up and relax.  Enjoy your extra cash.  You’ve earned it!

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