10 Tips to Make Your Next Garage Sale a Hit

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There’s nothing like a bad yard sale to sour your weekend. Hours of preparation and the hope of clearing some excess stuff out of the basement can all be dashed by poor execution. But get it right, and you can turn your garage sale into a fantastic project for you and your kids – hopefully with a few extra dollars in your pocket at the end as well. So what does a perfectly executed garage sale require? Here are our top 10 yard sale tips and tricks for getting it just right.


Start by thinking about how to organize your garage sale. That means clearly organized items arranged by type, or even color. Then, you can create signs and labels with large stencils. Anyone coming to your garage sale and facing the prospect of wading through a mass of random items is likely to be instantly turned off. On the other hand, if you’ve got neatly aligned rows of clearly marked items, your sale will look inviting and easy to navigate, drawing more customers in. So take the time to do some well-thought out organizing.


Just as with sorting, the overall ambience of your garage sale will make it feel more welcoming and put buyers in the right mood to pull out their wallets. That means many things: ensuring your lawn is in top shape, playing some nice music (think about something pleasant, like what your local cafe plays), and generally thinking about providing the best experience possible – from order to atmosphere.


Okay, so we’re not actually talking about anything fancy or alcoholic here, but if a customer has to drive off to grab a snack or a drink, you’ve probably lost them. So providing some cookies, water, or even getting the kids to set up a lemonade stand can do wonders. This makes your garage sale more inviting and creates a nice family atmosphere. Plus, who doesn’t love cookies?


This is critical. Every time a customer has to ask you about a price because it’s not there or they can’t read it, they become less likely to buy. This even applies to large online businesses, so you can be confident it will also apply to you. Make everything clear, friendly and readable.


This tip may seem obvious, but in reality, far too many people ignore it. Keep your money in a secure spot to avoid theft, misplacement, or even you and the family fumbling with it. Don’t forget to save up small bills: around $100 should be sufficient for a typical sale. Those small bills run out quickly when every customer decides they want to pay with a 20-dollar bill.


Nothing will get potential customers walking away from your garage sale faster than unreasonable prices. The basic rule of thumb for how to price garage sale items is to go for ? of the price of the item if it were new. Just remember that sticker shock is a real thing and a single vastly overpriced item can push someone away. And, as mentioned, make sure those prices are obvious and legible.


Curious about the difference between a mediocre and an excellent garage sale? Usually, it comes down to proper garage sale marketing. Post a notice on community boards at grocery stores, churches, community centers, universities, and other public spots, particularly around the neighborhood. Just be sure you’re allowed to! It never hurts to ask. You can also advertise on a local Craigslist page, or on a yard sale Facebook group for your city if it exists. Then, make sure your signs are welcoming and readable. Using stencils will help with both. This also makes it easier to get kids involved without worrying about messy letters.


Speaking of asking if you’re allowed to do something, be sure to check your local laws to ensure your garage sale is allowed. Some areas have very strict rules about when and how a garage sale can be conducted and may even require a permit. These laws may also apply to signs and fliers, so bear that in mind when advertising.


Having a bag for someone who just bought 10 books is just a nice touch. Chances are you have plenty of these laying around, so why not put them to use?


A common question I get is how to get kids involved in a garage sale. First, a tip for what not to do: unless you have an older child who’s truly up to the task, don’t get your kids to hand-draw your signs and pricing. Too often, this results in hard-to-read signs that just aren’t helpful. However, as we mentioned before, if you have some large letter stencils available, they can help ensure everything is nice and legible. Besides that, assisting with setting up and keeping things tidy, or selling lemonade or other food and refreshments, can be a great way for kids to help out. If your kids are older, they can handle money and learn a bit about managing it. You can even turn it into a game to see who can sell the most at the end of the day. The most important tip here is to get creative and be inclusive.

What are your hard-earned garage sale tips? Let us know what works (and doesn’t) for you!




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