Garage Sales: How to Maximize Your Profit

Garage Sales: How to Guide

garage sale


Garage Sales are a great way to earn some extra cash while also cleaning out some space and some unnecessary items from your garage. Just before fall is the best time to have a garage sale as temperatures start to relent and bring people out of their air conditioned havens. Do you know how to make the most of your garage sale? Below are some helpful tips to make your garage sale as successful and profitable as possible


Step 1: Scheduling Your Garage Sale

Choosing the right time to have your garage sale is very important. You will want to pick a time of day and a week that you notice has a lot of activity in your neighborhood. Try to avoid scheduling too late (as people who are avid garage salers will have likely already done their shopping earlier in the day). You will also want to avoid picking a time that is right in the middle of the work week so that the people who are interested in attending your sale will likely be home rather than stuck in an office. We suggest a weekend, but that does mean more local competition. 

Watch around your neighborhood for other signs advertising garage sales and estate sales and try to pick a weekend on which you won't have as much competition. 

And remember, in the garage sale world, start EARLY. If you can manage to get set up and ready to sell by 7am, that is perfect!

Step 3: Deciding What to Sell and for How Much

This is a crucial step for a successful garage sale. Go through your items and decide what will go for sale. You will want to further subdivide these items into categories so that it is easier for your customers to find what they want. 

Here are some good items to sell:

  • Wearable clothing
  • Picture Frames
  • Holiday Decorations
  • WORKING appliances
  • Fitness Equipment
  • Tools
  • Home Decor
  • DVDs
  • Complete Children's toys
  • Collectables
  • Linens (clean)
  • Furniture

There are some items that are going to be a waste of your time and space. When deciding whether or not to sell and item, consider if it is an item that is relevant to today, or is something you may consider buying. 

Items to Avoid:

  • VHS tapes (unless you sell an entire bundle for a VERY low price)
  • Audio Tapes
  • Broken Appliances
  • Children's toys with missing parts
  • Used Shoes
  • Candles
  • Used Beauty products
  • Stained Plastic Children's toys
  • Paperback Books
  • Travel Souvenirs


pricingWe found this fantastic pricing guide by which we think is a great reference tool for deciding on how to price your garage sale items.

Deciding on a price for items is going to be different by situation. You will want to decide if your goal is to simply open space by getting rid of items quickly, or if you want to focus more on making a profit. The second option usually means a continued series of garage sales or other sales. 

Step 3: Getting the Word Out

Start getting the word out about your garage sale about 2 weeks before the day of your sale. Don't forget, we are living in a digital world, so take advantage of websites that can help get the word out about your sale. Of course posting colorful signs around your neighborhood will also help, but save that for the week before your sale. 

Neighborhood publications:

If you’re hosting a yard sale along with others in your neighborhood, check if they publish the yard sales. This may be free or cost a nominal fee.


Advertise the date and location of your sale.
Add pictures and descriptions of the nicer items.
* Put up ads for the most valuable things in their respective categories on Craigslist. Some people might not be browsing in the garage sale section but might see your ad for the table set in the furniture section and come to the sale for it and more stuff.
Once it sells, delete that listing immediately as a courtesy.
Make your sale shareable. Social media is your friend:
* Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … use them! The entire week before the sale, post on social media about your merchandise. Include pictures. During the day of the sale, update your status or tweet on what you still have available.


Design to inform and intrigue

  • Use bright colors to attract attention.
  • Use a thick marker of a contrasting color to make big, bold text.
  • Adding a border around your text may increase readability. Remember that your customers are cruising by at 35 miles per hour!
  • Have large arrows pointing in the correct direction. It’s so much easier to follow arrows than to slow down to read an address.
  • Remember that superlatives rule … Awesome! Blowout! Epic!

Where’s your sign?

  • Post multiple signs around your neighborhood.
  • Place signs at nearby major intersections and at each turn along the way.
  • Also, take a practice drive past one of your signs. Do people have time to read it, make a decision, and make the turn, before they’ve driven past it?
  • After the sale is over, remove all the signs!

Step 5: Gather Your Garage Sale Materials

There are a few things that are essential for any successful garage sale. Having these items will help make the organization side of your garage sale much easier, as well as helping you to get the word out.

What you’ll need:

  • Labels
  • Foldable tables
  • A Spiral Notebook (or legal pad)
  • Brightly colored poster board
  • various colored Permanent Markers
  • A fanny pack or small bag for cash
  • Calculator
  • Batteries for testing items
  • Bags for clients to take home purchases
  • A Rack for hanging clothes (much more effective than having folded items on a table)
  • Extension cords
  • Plenty of small bills (for change)
  • A "square" system (or other system to allow card payments)
  • Chairs 
  • Refreshments (a water cooler is great, and your customers will appreciate it!)
  • A receipt book (you can get these at local stores and dollar stores)

Step 6: Day of Sale- Setting Up

For the highest chance of success, you will need to think like the big retail stores. Here are some set up tips!

  • Offer Refreshments
    Set up a table to the right of your check out table with free lemonade, water, cookies, cold fruit etc. (also provide a trashcan). For whatever reason, customers tend to shop  in a counter-clockwise direction. Putting a refreshment table in that area will start off the shopping process correctly
  • Organize Items 
    Put types of items together. For example, put all of the tech items together in one place, all of the fitness items in another, etc. Make sure that all clothing items that can be hung, are - and the remaining items are all folded on a table in a way that is easy to view and does not require digging
  • Highlight Expensive items
    some of your more expensive items may be a harder sale, but you can up your chances by making a special display for those items and separating them from the rest of the things you are selling
  • Slow Down Customers
    Instead of straight walkways, think about staggering tables so that the customers really take time to look instead of just breezing by everything
  • Have a "for free" box
    Who doesn't like free stuff? Set up a big box at the back of your sale that has items that are free. You should also have a complimentary items box at your check out table that allows people to pick an item out of it once they have made a purchase 

Step 7: After the Sale

Once you have wrapped up your sale, if you have any remaining items, consider donating them to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Not only is it just a good thing to do to give back to the less fortunate, it is technically something you can write off in your taxes. Some services will even come and pick up heavy furniture items, so check with them for the local rules.

TAKE DOWN SIGNS- we cannot stress this enough. Take down any signs you put up and make sure they end up in the trash and not as litter in your neighborhood

Safety Tips

  1.  There is NO reason to ever let anyone into your home. If someone asks to use the restroom, kindly direct them to the nearest public restroom. Burglars have been known to use garage sales as a way to be able to gain access to houses and check out security features/lay outs simply by using the restroom!
  2. DO NOT use a cash lock box. They are a huge beacon that screams "steal me, I’m full of money". Use a small bag or something else that is attached to your person
  3. Have someone run the garage sale with you- there is always more safety in numbers
  4. Put up signs on your property that discourage "early birds". Warn in your ads that “early birds pay double.” Otherwise, you’ll be stuck fumbling for change and entertaining these folks rather than getting your items ready. Or if you don’t want early birds to show up, don’t put your entire address in your ad. Then, just before you open, put out the signs and open the garage door. And don’t take money (meaning, no sales) until you are ready.

In Closing

Having a garage sale is a great way to unload unused items, reduce clutter, and make a little cash on the side. Using these tips is a great way to maximize your profit and ensure your garage sale is the best it can be


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