How To: Host a Garage Sale

I live in a small Midwest town where garage sales are still a pretty big staple of summer. My mom used to host them, I’ve hosted them, and street corners are decorated with neon SALE signs in every part of town all summer long. Is that typical across the country? (I’m honestly not sure…)

Anyway, tomorrow and Saturday I’m having a garage sale in conjunction with the neighborhood garage sale. (Our new house is in a development and I’m so excited to participate in the neighborhood sale!)

I won’t lie… I really like garage sales. I enjoy pricing things, arranging things, and selling things to others (a.k.a. checking them off my list). I’ve even been known to tell people to “just take it.” I’m 100% committed to getting rid of stuff. Since I’ve done this a few times, I figured I’d offer some friendly and totally unsolicited advice to anyone thinking about hosting their own yard/garage sale!

  1. Certain items draw people in. People like furniture, gently used kids’ toys and clothes, and jewelry. Once they’re in your driveway they browse through the adult clothes, kitchenware, and other miscellaneous things you have. People like winter coats, too!
  2. Keep your prices low. I might be guilty of under-pricing things, but they sell so I don’t care. And don’t be afraid to drop prices mid-sale.
  3. Friday is typically a better sale days than Saturday. Drop your prices overnight. Don’t be afraid to haggle on Friday (but maybe take someone’s best offer on Saturday). In my experience, Fridays are great and profitable while Saturdays are more of a freebie.
  4. Have refreshments! I’m not necessarily talking about a kid-run, bee-swarmed lemonade stand. Some cold $1 bottles of water will draw people your direction.
  5. Pay attention to when other around you are having sales. If you can get in on a neighborhood on that’s even better! People flock to multiple sales. Also, if people show up early and want to buy stuff before you’re 100% ready, let them 😉
  6. Advertise in the newspaper/on Facebook/in the classified. Mention the *good* stuff you’re selling (see advice #1).
  7. Don’t burn yourself out. Only go from 8am to 2 or 3pm. After that it’s not worth it. Also, if you have friends or family who want in on the sale you can take shifts!
  8. Speaking of which, share your garage with friends/family. I don’t have kids but my bff does and she’s bringing their old toys to our sale this weekend to draw people in. My mom is also contributing items. You can use different colored stickers to keep track of how much money each person makes, then divide it all at the end.

Honestly, there are no solid rules to garage sale-ing, but these tips have worked for me. I don’t like cluttered tables or mismatched items so I tend to stage and categorize. I think it’s proven successful in most cases. I usually mark the sizes on clothing, too. That way people aren’t tearing through my piles 😉

Just a reminder:

  • obtain a garage sale permit (even if your neighborhood is having a sale)
  • check with people before you stick a sign in their yard (advertising your sale)
  • have change ready for people paying with large bills

I know some people find garage sales to be stressful and way too much work. I am not that person. Haha. Have you ever had a garage sale? Do you enjoy them?