Thursday, May 30, 2013

10 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

We had our annual memorial day garage sale last weekend and it was a HUGE success. I was worried this year because we didn't have anything "big" to sell (i.e no furniture etc.). But we had LOTS of little things and following a few "rules" it was very successful. So to help everyone else out here are my top 10 rules for Garage (or Yard) sales!

Garage Sale Rules

The top 10 tips to a Great and Profitable Garage sale!!

10) Have One Manager

It is great to have helpers but you need to be the “manager” at your sale. Any haggling or questions should be run through you. Otherwise you may end up killing your helper for accepting a $1 offer on your whole china set.

9) Tag Everything

It seems like a pain but put a price on everything. No one wants to have to ask “what’s the price for this?” a million times. You can lose a lot of sales that way. I find that if you print sheets of $1, $2, $.50 tags etc then simply cut them out and tape them on works easily and doesn’t cost anything (unlike garage sale “stickers” you buy) put groups of items together (books, DVDs etc) and make one large sign over them i.e. “All DVDs $4”.

8) Up-sale

If you have a bunch of one kind of item, up-sale like they do at the grocery store. For example if you have a bunch of paperback books to sale and want $0.50 each for them, price them $0.75 OR 2 for a Dollar, you will end up selling more so people can “get a deal” and if you sale any at the higher price, that’s good too. 

7) Plan on Haggling

When you are pricing your items plan on people haggling your prices. My rule of thumb is price everything about 20%-25% higher than what you actually hope to get out of it. That way if someone offers you a few dollars less you can easily say … I accept that!

6) Don’t let yourself be bullied – Just say No.

I’ve had items priced for $20+ and had people “offer” me $2-$3. I say “thanks for the offer but No” or I counter offer…”I could go $15 but that’s the lowest.” Some people get downright belligerent about pricing. Don’t let yourself get bullied into giving your things away.

5) The LOVE factor

When you are haggling about your prices think about the buyer…are they haggling to haggle or do they really need the lesser price. I had a sweet pre-teen that fell in love with a bookcase I had priced at $15 but she only had $8. Normally I would never have accepted such a low offer but she clearly loved it and only had the $8. I was happy knowing it was going to someone who loved it and that offset the lower price.

4) Don’t take things too personally

I don’t know why but there are some Jerks that I swear go to yard sales just to kabitz. I had a guy who didn’t buy anything and spent the better part of 15 minutes telling me how lame everything I had was. I had a package of new VHS blank tapes and he really laughed at that and said “I can’t believe you’d even put these out here, NO ONE WANTS them!” It wasn’t 10 minutes later I had another guy come by who bought all my VHS tapes.

3) Advertise for FREE

Use the internet to your advantage. List your sale on craigslist. Many Apps that serious garage sale shoppers use pull listings off of craigslist. Also see if your city has any other free online listing sites. Here in Utah our local news station ( has a very popular free online classifieds. When listing include a photo of your advertising signs so when someone comes across it they will know they have found the sale they were looking for.
2) Plan Your Signs

Go to google maps ( and print out a map of the area around your house. Look for busy streets close by that would work for putting up signs. Plan where you need to put up signs (use directional arrows!) to lead people from the main streets to your sale. Plan how many you’ll need and what direction you need your arrows.  Another thing to consider, how will you hang the signs? Are they wooden posts you can nail to? Are they metal posts you can put zip ties through? Will you need to resort to duct tape?
1) Have an End Plan

No matter how awesome your stuff is you are never going to completely sell out. Have a plan for what you are going to do with your stuff after the sale. Are you going to have another sale, are their items you’ll keep if they don’t sell? Do you want to just good-will the leftovers? This should factor in with your final hour pricing. If you are having another sale OR keeping the items then sell the same as you were the rest of the day. If you are going to just giveaway everything that’s left then have “blowout” pricing at the end of the day. When people come say “I’m negotiable on prices since it’s the end of the day.” Better to get a little for your stuff than nothing at all.  (Note: This is for END of THE DAY ONLY don’t do this earlier in the day because you may sell something for $1 that someone an hour from now would Pay $5 for) If you are doing goodwill plan on calling them a few days before your sale and scheduling a “donation pick-up” as soon after  the date of your sale as possible.



  1. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Chelsea @ Married Filing Jointly

  2. Good tips, I wish some of the sales that I went
    to today had seen your list first!


  3. These tips are spot on! Thanks for sharing them. Linda