18 Tips for a Money Making Garage Sale

Today was our neighborhood garage sale. It was my first garage sale / yard sale experience. It was a success!

Garage Sale Sign - Tips for a money making garage sale yard sale getsnazzy

18 Tips for a Money Making Garage Sale

Before the Sale

1. What are you going to sell?  Purge and declutter! Consider gathering items from friends and family (it gets more complicated to have more people, but it also can increase your traffic by having a bigger sale)

2. Gather Supplies – Save boxes – flat boxes or diaper boxes make great bins for displaying items. Start saving them a few weeks before your sale. Buy or borrow collapsible tables – these banquet tables are awesome for parties, garage sales, everything. Get labels and signs (see below)

3. Advertise - Our neighborhood has 2 garage sales a year so we decided to piggy back on their advertising! They posted signs throughout the community, placed in the local newspapers and advertised on craigslist.  I had a couple of generic red garage sale signs and bought some bright colored party balloons for the mailbox. Our neighbor across the street had a sale too and posted some big signs with arrows to our street (Thanks Tiffany!) We also advertised on our community Facebook page.

4. Get Change – Go to the bank at least 2 days before your sale (so you don’t forget)  2 rolls of quarters, 25 $1, 8 $5, 4 $10 and maybe 2 $20 if you are selling big items (keep track of your starting money)

5. Make a plan for your kids. A garage sale can get busy! Thanks to my mom for coming over to help watch the kiddos. If you’re kids are old enough to understand money they can help and learn some valuable lessons by helping with the sale (still a great idea to have an extra person to keep an eye on them during the sale while you are busy making change and helping customers)

Setting up your Sale

6. Organize your “store” by category – this is so important. Think of your sale as a “mini-store”- group like things together and try to set them up so items are visible! Increase your sales by showcasing whole outfits or items that might go together. Think like a customer!

7. Stage Ahead of Time – set up and stage your tables in your garage the night or two before. The morning of the sale just move your tables into the driveway and start selling! Don’t waste your time organizing that morning – you might miss some sales! Start at 7:30am or early.  Our sale lasted until noon. We only had a 1 day sale, I’d recommend 2.

8. Labels – I used these Avery Preprinted Removable Garage Sale Labels and it made it so easy. Don’t over complicate your pricing strategy.  I made a sign that said “Most clothes are $1, buy 10 and get 2 free!” The sticker labels made it nice because people didn’t have to ask me about every single item, they knew my asking price. I did not label some of the “big ticket” items, this allowed people to ask me if they were interested and helped me make some sales!

9. Have a “junk” table – Gather small toys and trinkets and label them with a big sign – only 25 Cents! Great to entertain kids while their parents shop.

During the Sale

10. Get a partner! It can get pretty busy so it’s nice to have someone to help you. Thanks Gina :)

11. Greet each customer and be friendly! Promote your expensive items or point out deals (buy 1 get 1 free, just marked down, etc.)

12. FREE – make your customers comfortable – we had free lemonade! It was a hot day so people definitely appreciated it.

13. Word of caution, stay alert. We had someone come to our sale and ask a whole bunch of questions, move a lot of things around and ask for price changes and then changed her mind and only bought 2 small things) I’d like to think that everyone is honest, but they are not. If you get uncomfortable take a step back, don’t rush and keep your money in your pocket. Ask them to set all of their items aside and that you will tell them a price when they are done shopping.

14. Negotiate.  Is it really worth losing a sale because you wouldn’t lower the price by $1? Probably not. When you are labeling prices to begin with you might label a few things slightly higher and then offer someone a deal if they seem interested in your item. People love to get an additional discount  – I know I do! On the other hand, know what your rock bottom price is.

15. Keep your money on you at ALL times. I wore an apron and kept the coins in one pocket and the bills in an envelope in another. I made dividers out of bright colored paper to separate denominations in my envelope so I could quickly find change.  I didn’t ever take the envelope out of my apron pocket. A coupon organizer or money bag would work pretty well too. Don’t use a cash box. Don’t accept checks.

16. Check Out Station – Have a little table (we used a tv tray) as your check out station. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR MONEY OUT. This was a place to have grocery bags and some boxes for people to bag their sales, I also had a calculator, pen and paper. When making a sale, agree on a price before you start making change. If they need change tell them the amount before you start digging in your money envelope. Hold out their payment until you have the change. Complete your transaction.  This will help avoid confusion of “I gave you a $10, not a $5″. If you want to you make keep a ledger and note what you sold and the price go for it. I didn’t really care to keep track of what sold for what price, I just wanted it sold :) We had a simple spreadsheet to put tally marks on to track $. I’ll post it next time.

After the Sale

17. What are you going to do with things that don’t sell? I listed a few of my large items on craigslist and then might take a few to consignment. Everything else I am donating.  The purpose of my garage sale was to DECLUTTER and make a little extra spending money. Don’t bring leftovers back into your house. If it was in your sale, you do not need it anymore. GET RID OF IT.  Many donation companies will arrange to come to your house and pick up items and give you a tax-deductible receipt.

18. How much did you make? First, count out the change that you started with so it doesn’t get counted as a sale. Then count your earnings! If you had a multifamily sale make sure you divide the sales appropriately.  My next post will talk about how to organize a multi-family garage sale.

What are your tips for a successful garage sale? This was my first one and it was very successful. Let the decluttering begin again!




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  • CRubio

    Thanks this was super helpful!

  • maria hudson

    site to post and search yardsales near you is http://www.garagesalecow.com its free
    and you can search specific tags or items and it will give you the yardsale
    location where you can locate them, which is pretty cool!

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