50 Secrets Of Successful Garage Sales

We are all trying to downsize our closets and garages, so why not do it with another person?

One of the best tips I got from a girlfriend of mine, was holding a sale with a couple friends commands more attention than doing it alone.  Lets face it, a lot of us have more stuff than we need.  The average woman has a dozen or so slacks, and only wears about 4 pairs on a regular basis. If you are a re-seller, make some extra money on the side by holding a sale 4 times a year, and team up with a number of girlfriends.  People may plan for your sales as the word gets out.

Over the last couple of years my husband and I have been unloading a lot of goods.  Living with less has been so much more rewarding.  I also recently purged all my black clothes from my closet, and opted to wear color year around, which surprisingly makes me more happy! Here are 50 tips for great sales, and if you have some of your own, put them in the comment box below…..

-#1 Avoid Garage Sale Signs That Are Small And Brown- Cardboard with permanent marker simply doesn’t show up when you are driving. If people are driving at 30 -50 miles an hour, these signs are going to be hard to read in a moving vehicle. Often times, people won’t turn around if they cannot read the sign.

#2 Avoid Small Commercially Made Garage Sale Signs– These signs can be easier to read but often get mistaken for the “for rent” and “for sale” signs you typically see on a daily basis. These signs get ignored. What you say on the board is not as important than seeing the board. Write something unique like “epic” “huge”, “multi-family sale” These will draw people in more than your typical garage sale.

#3 Hyper-colored Bright Neon Poster Boards Are Perfect. (which is 22 X 28 most of the time) These can be mounted on to or more wooden 2 inch boards which then can be hammered into grass. Attach balloons and make sure your arrows are pointing in the right direction, says Kathy Peterson, a design expert and featured guest on HGTV’s Longest Yard Sale.

#4. Provide Arrows To The Location- Make it easy for people to find you buy providing arrows that lead them through complicated subdivisions. People don’t want to drive back, and look up the address in their phones. If you make it hard to find your home, people may turn around if it wastes too much time. If there is a stretch of road that is long, post a sign “straight ahead, keep going” Give people confidence your home is easy to find. Signs get left up a lot, so provide a DATE.  Take down your signs after the sale, right at closing time. Be a good neighbor and community member, as nobody likes to show up at a garage sale after it’s already closed.  In addition, people don’t like to see old, faded signs taped to poles, either.


#5. One day vs. two day.  ” If you don’t have much, do a one day, but set up early enough to attract the early birds. Price to move. If you have a ton of stuff, or a multi-family, go for two day. Then you can price a bit better, and still have a day to mark down. Day 1 is for money, day 2 is to move volume. Second days will get fewer people so give massive discounts to move more stuff. Put more in your “free” box as the day goes onebay guides

# 6 Differentiate Yourself. All garage sales are basically the same. Find a way to set yours apart. Last weekend, for instance, I billed ours as a “geek garage sale”, and emphasized that I had graphic novels, board games, and computer gear. My Craigslist ad brought folks from far and wide because of this.” -getrichslowly.org

#7. Use To Wooden Stakes To Prop Up Your Signs. Often times one stake in the center will cause the poster board to fold in. You want a stake at each end of the poster board. This will ensure that wind doesn’t fold your board that provides directions to your sale.

#8 Stand Out- This tip comes from Vintage Revivals -“Stand  out  from  the  100’s  of  others  going  on  that  day. I did not advertise as a yard sale.  I advertised as a Hoard Sale because A) its way funnier and B) that’s what it was!  The ads from Craigslist were so awesome that people came from 2 hours away just to see what a Hoard Sale was.  Here are a sampling of the ads:

HUMONGO hoard sale this Saturday! (October 8) According to my husband I am a freakin hoarder, and he is mad at me. Which means that I have to get rid of a ton of my treasures to save my marriage. Starts at 8 on the dot. No early birds, I will call the cops. Just kidding I wont. But really don’t come early.  This is a DIYers paradise! Need a dining room chair or 21? Good cause we have those! See you there! Also I like cookies if you want to bring me some.

#9. Start Posting Signs Working From Your Home and Out To The Major Roads- If you start placing signs at the nearest intersection or busy road, and start backward, often times people will start to find your house before you are done. If you start with your home address, then the nearest street corner, then the next intersection, there is always a path back to your home.

#10  Stick To Your Advertised Hours-Do not advertise that the sale opens at 7 am, if you aren’t an early riser. Times differ as much as people and can start anywhere from 6 am to 10 am. Be aware that if you say you will be open at 8 am, you might have eager buyers (aka “early birds”) standing in your yard at 7:30. If you say you’ll be open until 5 pm, do not close at 4pmweekendtreasure.com

#11. Advertise By Posting Individual Objects In Craigslist- Often times people won’t check the craigslist garage sales, but they will check out the furniture, toy, home sections of craigslist. Place an ad Wednesday, and then on Friday morning and afternoon with different pictures of your sale items. Take lots of photos so people know you have a lot to offer. Often the lack of pictures signal that your sale may not be worth attending. Make it clear that there are lots to offer.  Some examples include weekendtreasure.com, garagesalehunter.com, yardsalesearch.com, craigslist.com, and facebook.com.

#12  If You’re Not Selling It, Keep It Out Of Sight.If you have a box of supplies you’re using, or stuff you don’t want to sell, keep it hidden. People will go through anything within sight. Someone tried to buy the half-used roll of tape I was using to put up my signs. Close the garage door, they’ll peek in there too. Several people even asked me how much for the Harley in the garage! Over my dead body, cause my husband would kill meebay guides

#13. If You Don’t Want To Post Your Address, Then You Shouldn’t Be Having A Garage Sale- There will be strangers coming to your home, looking through your goods. If you don’t want this, perhaps a community sale or street block sale may work better for you. Often times people will want to calculate their routes from one sale to the next. If there is no address, those potential customers might skip the sale, because of lack of information. DON’T just name the subdivision. This causes people to become frustrated finding your sale.

#14. Don’t Provide Phone Numbers- Many garage salers suggest not providing an email, as you end up getting dozens and dozens of emails asking questions.  They suggest that many people try to phone or email to ask in advance for gold or silver sales.  On the other hand, providing an email can allow people to ask questions about larger pieces such as dining sets, sofas and so forth the night before.  This may give them some answers to questions before considering a hour or more drive. Often times if there is no contact info, people might by pass sales with larger items.  So one suggestion could be if you are selling larger items, let people contact you through craigslist where those items are posted.

#15. Don’t Compare Prices To Ebay or 1st DibsPlease do not place eBay auction pages on your merchandise or tell people how you can sell it for more on eBay. Your garage sale is not an auction. No one cares what it sold for on eBay. If you can sell it for more on eBay, then you do itweekendtreasure.com

See this article “Garage Sale Pricing Guide-Knowing what to ask for your items is of crucial importance as there was a man in California who purchased Ansel Adams negatives for $45.00 only later to find out they were worth $220 million. here

#16.  Time Is Important- 7 Am Is A Typical Time To Have A Sale- 10 am sales tend to be late for most people, even 9 can be too late.  Starting early allows those people who are serious about their sales to get to your place first.

#17  If You Want A Solid Price For Something, Price It- If you have a piece of equipment that is basically brand new, price it.  A good rule-of-thumb for pricing is 1/2 to 1/3 of retail prices. If you have a bunch of stuff, consider getting large boxes from your grocery store and marking the price by the box.  This especially works for smaller items. Cheaper items may go faster if they are placed in price boxes. Have empty boxes and cardboard trays available for shoppers to use as a “shopping basket” if their hands are full.

#18.  Price Your Items Within Reason– Mark items with what you would like to get, which allows you to then work your way down.  Some people go to garage sales with the express purpose of haggling. Expect it.  Many seasoned garage sale shoppers expect to get a discount.  These people don’t go to re-sell, but they like the process of being able to negotiate prices.  So be prepared to know how much you want for an item and what your final prices are.  Be willing to work with people if they are serious buyers.  If you don’t have a price for something, ASK them what they are thinking.  They may respond with more money.  If you suggest a price, and they react, thinking it is too much, ASK them what they had in mind.  If it is too low, offer a price that is half way between.  Getting a sale is better than not getting a sale if someone is interested.  Don’t be embarrassed with haggling over prices.  It is expected, and your simply making a transaction.  Keep it friendly, and a smile always wins people over.

#19. Don’t Spill The Negatives “A decade ago, Kris and I held a garage sale with a group of friends. One guy constantly told customers what was wrong with the items they were purchasing. “Oh, that book is awful. That’s a terrible movie. That skillet doesn’t heat very well. That game is boring.” Needless to say, we sent this friend inside to drink beer ASAP-getrichslowly.org

Counterfeit Money

Sharpie Counterfeit Detector…..a must have at yard sales – Buy it on Amazon

#20. Stock Up With Change- Your going to need a lot of singles and a lot of quarters, and several $5, $10’s and $20’s. Stock up with 30 or 40- 1 dollar bills.  If you don’t have the proper change, you may have to run to the bank half way through your sale which really disrupts the flow.  If you are going to price things at 25 cents, then be prepared to offer change, or tell people they need a dollars worth to make a transaction.

#21- Garage Sale Prices Tend To Be Low- If you have a designer jacket, heels, or merchandise that is new and still can fetch good prices, consider listing it on ebay or craigslist.  People expect garage sales to be low prices, and you won’t get the value out of your nicer belongings at a garage sale. A jacket you purchased new at $100 dollars you won’t get more than $20 dollars at a garage sale.

#22 Organization Doesn’t Really Matter- What counts is giving the appearance of a lot of stuff.  Spread blankets out on the lawn, and really show off the amount of stuff you have for sale, otherwise you may get a lot of drive by’s who don’t stop.  People like to dig through boxes, rather than see everything so neatly spaced out.  Having things overly staged gives the impression that you are asking too much for your stuff.  If you plan on having a “dealers sale” people at least know that they are coming for items that are upscale.  Taking pictures really helps people determine what kind of sale it is.  Dealer sales, you may want to dress up your tables a bit more, and feature painted furniture, and add cookies.  What kind of sale are you after?  Hoping to get rid of things before 11?  Price it well, and not to make large profits.

#23 Inform Your Neighbors You Plan On Having A Sale – Giving them the heads-up will allow them to park elsewhere, or even join in on the sale by having their own sale.  The added traffic will see two, three or more sales on one street. Community sales are very popular and people will drive an hour for 10 or 20 sales or more in one area.

#24- Put Ads Up Days In Advance, Signs The Day Of– If you post your signs too early, your home is fair game.  Expect people to want to have a pre-view of your merchandise.  Use poster board for your signs, and LEAVE space for the arrows on the actual signs until you stake them in the ground.

#25- If You Are Moving, Bring The Sale Inside- Save yourself from moving the stuff outside, when people can walk through the house, and buy what is not packed up.  Generally this works if the items you intend to keep are boxed up in the garage.  If people do come in your house, and you are not moving, be prepared for people to ask the prices of things not for sale.

#26- Move Items Which Have The Same Price Amount Into One Area- Save yourself from having to price everything by grouping things.  If you do price, get the stickers which can be bought online, such as this one which includes 2,100 stickers for $9 dollars

#27.  Buy A Bundle Of Elastic Bands- Bundling together sheets, pillowcases, and odds and ends makes packaging items simple and fast.

#28.  Sell Jewelry In Ziplock Bags- If you are selling a lot of little jewelry, think about selling them in bags.  This will prevent theft and loss.  Here you can buy 300 bags for $3 dollars.

#29.  Don’t Use Markers On Ziplock Bags– In the sun, the marker tends to smear, which will cause customers to have ink on their hands.  Use paper sticky labels, or masking tape to write on.

#30- Fill Up Your Contents By Asking Family To Donate- Everyone has stuff to unload.  Ask family, friends to unload some of their goodies at the sale, and by doing this they are cleaning out their cabinets making room for new stuff.  For the most part littles can be given to you, and if they want to move larger items, they should really be there helping with the sale.  Or you can sell it for them.  By asking your friends and family to go through their cabinets, it makes your sale appear larger. “Have I cooked with it, worn it, displayed it, used it or read it within the last year?”  Haggling on friends’ items should only be done with their permission. “It’s not mine, so I have to stick with that price”  is a positive response for a price question of something that isn’t yours.

#31- Have A Free Section-Place a large well-marked “free pile” right out front. The lure of something free will get almost any driver to stop. I put a bunch of stuff I was going to donate that I didn’t think would sell in the free pile. It was just enough temptation to get the shopper out of their car. Also, people feel bad stopping and just taking something for free. They will typically find something to buy so they don’t feel bad for just taking the free stuff.houseofhepworths.com

#32- Check with your city or homeowner’s association and obtain a permit if one is required.Many cities place restrictions details such as placement of signage, hours of operation, frequency & etc. It’s better to take the time to do your research and pay the $5-$20 for a permit than risk losing more money than you made in fines“. wikihow.com

#33- Family Should Wear ALL The Same Color-  Neon tops allow you to easily point people working the sale – “go pay the man in the yellow shirt”  – Shoppers will also clearly know who to ask for pricing and additional questions.  Even if everyone picks a like color to wear such as red, it works out well to be able to point to others who are working the sale. Please do NOT stand or sit together talking or talking on your phone and ignoring your customers.

#34 Buying Tips- Grab it!  “If you see something interesting, even if you’re not sure about it, GRAB it. Put it in your canvas shopping bag. You can always put it back if you don’t want it.  If you don’t pick it up, then decide you do want it, it’ll be gone. Mother always said: If you see it, grab it or someone else willebay guides

#35 Have Extra Help – “Always have several people at the sale – it’s important for personal security and convenience. This way you can take a bathroom break when you need one, and you can keep things in order. As your sale progresses, things will unavoidably get disheveled and disorganized (possibly even broken). If you want to sell as much as possible, you should try to keep things looking nicewikihow.com

#36 Place Bigger Items Near The Curb  “Grab a guy’s attention by putting stuff he’ll want to sift through—golf clubs, tools, workout gear, and your nearly new grill—near the curb. This ups the probability that more couples will stop at your sale. After all, if a guy sees something he likes, he’ll be more patient while his wife browses at your sale! Big items like furniture also draw customers in.bhg.com

 #37 Price Everything-If you want your stuff to sell, put a price tag on it! Most people won’t ask how much something is. They will just set it back down and move on. If you want to sell it, stick a price tag on it. It takes extra time and energy to price everything, but it is worth it.” houseofhepworths.com

#38 Don’t Be Afraid To StageSelling china and glassware? Don’t just stack dishes on a bare table. Instead, bring out your most elegant tablecloth, cut some flowers from your garden and set a beautiful table, suggests Marilyn Santiesteban, a regular yard sale-thrower.” bhg.com

# 39 Toys On The Ground Work Better For Kidshave a .25 cent kid bin and put it on the ground! Most people that came brought little toddlers with them. The kid basket was a perfect distraction for the little ones while mom shopped. It kept them busy and out of trouble. Plus, they would always find a toy or two, and at twenty-five cents, mom couldn’t refuse the little trinket at check-out time.houseofhepworths.com Another tip- Have a table with crayons and coloring pages for little kids to keep busy while parents shop.

#40 Be Clear On The Purpose Of Your Sale.Are you selling things to make money or to get rid of them? This question affects everything you do, from how you price things to how willing you are be to negotiate. Surprisingly, you can often make more money (and get rid of more junk) by pricing things low. (If your goal is to get top dollar, you should really be selling on eBay or Craigslist.)getrichslowly.org

# 41 Negotiate With Hagglers“Play along; haggling can be a fun experience, and you’ll likely make a lot more sales if you’re willing to reward these bargain hunters. Don’t be afraid to decline an offer, but consider all offers. After all, you’re trying to get rid of this stuff. Be sure not to drop your price early in the day. A successful rebuttal to a haggler would be ‘I can’t drop the price before 10 am, we just got started” wikihow.com

#42- Go Over Ground Rules With Those Working At The Sale- Make sure that everybody working the sale is in agreement. Be clear on your bargaining policy” “Make sure that everyone understands the importance of never parting from the money. Agree that nobody will bad-mouth the merchandise” getrichslowly.org

#43- Skip The Garage Sale And Get A Tax Deduction By Donating -Gina Pogol wrote: “My best tip is to skip the GC, donate the lot, get a receipt with *generous * values and deduct the whole shebang on your taxes. Easier, you make about the same amount, you accomplish some good and you have no strangers casing your space at 6 am on a Sunday.

#44 Don’t Use A Cash Box – “ Someone could steal all of your money, or even try to buy your cash box! Use a fanny pack instead, and keep large bills (50’s and 100’s) in your home if possible. A good fanny pack has two pockets, and you can keep the bills in the large compartment, and the coins in the smaller compartment.” wikihow.com

#45 Don’t Let Other Know You’re A Reseller “As mentioned above, some people may not be thrilled to know you may be profiting off their old stuff. Few will ever ask outright, but avoid letting on you’re an ebayer.  If asked, say you know someone who loves/collects this stuff. “My brother is a DJ, so he likes lots of CDs.” “My sister knits, so she’d love these vintage patterns.”   If with someone else, have a code: Do you think “Zelda” will like this?? (translation, “think it will go on ebay?”)” ebay guides

#46 Bathroom Questions-If someone really needs to go to the bathroom, direct them to the nearest public building, or make sure someone in your family (or you) takes the person there”  “You are under no obligation to let anyone into your house, but you might consider making exceptions for small children or the elderlywikihow.com

#47 Play Background Music. “I find it a little uncomfortable to visit a garage sale (or to host one) when there’s complete silence in the yard or driveway. But don’t play offensive music either — play something appropriate for your audience. For the past couple years, I’ve made a point of playing The Essential Johnny Cash over and over and over again. Sure, I’m sick of it by the end of the weekend, but the customers love it” getrichslowly.org

“(At the start of the sale, I had some New Age music on the stereo. “It sounds like a funeral,” she told me. She had me put on Elton John’s greatest hits instead, and people loved it. Sales improved!)”

#48. Make It Easy For Shoppers To Test ElectronicsIf you’re selling electrical items, make sure you have an extension cord handy so that people can test them. No smart person is going to just take your word that your television “works great”. getrichslowly.org

#49. Plan On Attending A Number Of Sales Close Together- You want to shop a number of sales that are within close driving distance, and get there first thing in the morning.  Many sales end up closing up around noon after everything is picked over.

#50. Dress Down For Buyers- It is easier to haggle when you look like you cannot afford it.  If you are dressed well, based on appearances, you might send the signal that you can afford the top dollar.

VIDEO Sources:

– How To Have A Kick-Ass Garage Sale And Make More Money –secretoftheinternet

-How To Have A Successful Garage Sale Or Yard Sale- Howdini

-Garage Sale Guru Shares Selling Tips- KMBC 9 News Kansas City

-Tips For A Successful Yard Sale –Tami Dunn

– Garage sale tips and tricks- Today Tonight Video

-How to Make Money Garage Sale Buying Tips Buying in Bulk – Roar Mann



-My top 10 things I like to sell from Thrift Stores, Yard Sales –DALLAS MOORE

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