Monday, April 16, 2012

Helpful Tips When Preparing for a Garage or Yard Sale

I am by no means an expert on garage sales, especially considering I have only had one myself and I don't garage sale shop that often. So when it comes to preparing, pricing and setting up for a garage/yard sale...I have to go in search of some help.

Enter Google.

Eric and I have spent the past month and a half going through our closets, attics and basement searching for items to donate or sell. We have pulled together quite a pile and now that everything is pulled aside...its time to start preparing and pricing everything for the sale.

Honestly, I HATE the process of pricing for a garage sale because on one hand, I feel like selling things for  25 and 50 cents is a waste of everyone's time. For that, I would rather just donate those item to people in need. But on the other hand, when it comes to bigger ticket items, it is nice to be able to make a few bucks to put back in the bank. So deciding what is worth selling and what is not is the hardest part for me.

And then when it comes to actually sticking a price on an item, I get all anxious. Am I asking too much? Am I asking too little? Should I sell this with batteries or without? Would someone actually buy this used?

These are all great questions, but I feel like only garage sale experts can really weigh in on this decision. So I ended up finding some very helpful websites (which I will link to below) and I also complied a list of tips that seem to be universal throughout.

1. Get organized.
This seems to be the key when it comes to having a successful garage/yard sale. has a post completely dedicate to helping you get organized for your sale and you can check it out here. They also have a free printable checklist and a bunch of great pre-made signs you can print and stick in your yard.

2. Consider starting your sale on a Friday.
I was always under the impression that Saturdays are the best garage sale days because people are off work and have the time to spend shopping around. But apparently, Fridays are for serious bargain hunters and people will often take off work to score the best stuff. I had no idea, but I suppose it makes sense. Those people want first dibs.

3. Advertise and post signs.
We are pretty lucky in that we don't have to pay for an ad for our garage sale. Our town has a village-wide garage sale weekend and anyone who submits their address will be listed on the fliers. When you choose a garage sale date, make sure you check to see if your town and/or subdivision is having a garage/yard sale weekend. More garage/yard sales = more traffic. And always post bright signs to ensure that people know you are "Open for Business".

4. Be smart with your pricing.
Again, this is where I have a really hard time. Just remember that people may want to negotiate on prices and if you are willing to do that, be sure to price your items with some wiggle room. If you chose not to negotiate, make sure your prices are competitive. I found a great site called Garage Sales Tracker and they have a bunch of great resources for pricing, including a list of average prices that common items go for. This was incredibly helpful to a garage/yard sale novice like me.

5. Get creative with your set-up.
If people have to weed through all of your stuff, odds are they are not going to stick around long. Try grouping items by category on tables and group together items that people may want to buy as a set (like bedding, bathroom decor, etc.). Use tablecloths on your table for a nice clean look, and make sure to hang all clothes so that it is easier for people to shop. This will also keep your clothes from getting all wrinkled on tables. Signage is also key.

6. Clean your items.
This should go without saying, but make sure to launder clothing and bedding before selling, and take the time to wipe down household items, toys, furniture, etc. People are going to be a 100 times more likely to buy your stuff if it is clean and in good condition.

7. Have power cords available.
I honestly never thought of this, but if you are selling appliances, baby items, electronics, etc., people are going to want to make sure that it works. To make this process a little smoother, have an extension cord already plugged in and ready to go. It will save a ton of time.

8. Carry your money on your body.
That's right friends...break out those fanny packs! One of the most common garage sale tips I found was to carry your money on your body, either in an apron or a waist pouch. That way, you will always have it on hand when someone is ready to pay and you won't ever have to leave cash unattended when answering a question. 

9. Be accommodating and offer "customer service".
Some sites suggest offering people water or coffee while they browse your sale. I know this isn't cost effective, but it's certainly a nice idea! Or better yet, have your kids set up a lemonade stand if it's a hot day. Then they will be occupied and hopefully make some change for their piggy bank. Also, be friendly. I know that too should go without saying but if you are just sitting on your phone and not out greeting or helping people, they may leave before they have even seen all your treasures. 

10. Set up a donation pick-up for the end of your sale.
If you are having a garage/yard sale to rid your house of unused stuff, then there is NO reason to bring it back in when the sale is over. Lots of wonderful charities are available for pick-up so make sure you get something lined up before the sale. There is a great website called and they can help you schedule a pick-up in your area.

Well I hope this list helps you all!! I know it has helped me prepare for this sale and as excited as I am to have it, I am even more excited to have it over with. Haha!

If any of you are true garage/yard sale experts and want to offer some additional advice, please leave comments below. Thanks and Happy Monday everyone!


  1. Great advice! I'm getting ready for a garage sale this summer too! Good liuck!

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  3. This is hilarious. We are having our own yard sale very soon! Thanks for the neat tips. Good luck with your sale!

    Cassandra ♥

  4. I came to your blog yesterday to leave a comment, but my computer was being dumb. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for the garage sale tips! We are going to be selling a bunch of our stuff in the next couple of weeks, and it was good to see prices & such. I'm also going to check out the donation website!

    PS - I'm never doing a vlog! Haha!


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