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Items Set Out for a Garage Sale

How to Prepare for a Garage Sale

Need to get rid of stuff after home decluttering or spring cleaning? Consider hosting a garage sale! It’s the perfect way to get rid of things you no longer have use for and make a little extra cash in the process. But there’s more that goes into having a yard sale than just setting items on tables and selling them. Check out these 13 garage sale tips to prepare for a successful sale!

Gather Garage Sale Essentials

When running a garage sale, you need to be able to present your items neatly and handle transactions quickly. Here are some of the most important items you should get together before having your sale:

  • Extra cash and change so you can break bills
  • Chairs for you and any helpers
  • Clothing racks for clothes
  • Price stickers and tags
  • Smaller display signs to advertise deals
  • Grocery bags and boxes for shoppers
  • A lockable money box or organizer
  • Tarps to protect items

Step 1: Check Local Regulations

Different cities have different rules for garage sales. Some areas require a permit for a garage sale, limit the number of items you can have, and might even treat your sale like a small business. The last thing you want after you make your money is to be blindsided by taxes or fines. Be sure to double-check that you’re complying with local regulations or try to find an area where you can host a sale without issue.

Step 2: Find the Right Location

Location is important for a successful yard sale! For many people, the right location is in their own yard, driveway, or garage. But what about if you don’t have a private yard, driveway, or garage to use? Consider asking a family member or friend if you could host your garage sale at their home. You could also ask about opportunities with an apartment building, local neighborhood organization, or community flea market.

Step 3: Choose a Date for Your Sale

Garage sales aren’t something you can just toss together in a few days. Remember, you’ll need to look into local ordinances, get the necessary supplies, and organize all of your sale items, so make sure to allow for plenty of time to prepare. Picking a date a few weeks or even a month out can be beneficial. As far as seasons go, spring, summer, and fall are all ideal for garage sales since the weather is typically nice. In addition, weekends are the best time for garage sales—Saturdays, in particular—since more people are out and about.

Step 4: Enlist Some Help

Running a garage sale requires constant attention. Ask if friends or family can help out with manning the cash box, keeping an eye on visitors, or tidying up the tables. If you have kids that are old enough, you could have them help out or even set up a refreshments stand for yard sale visitors. More hands are always a good idea, and it gives you the ability to take a break when you need one!

Step 5: Host a Multi-Household Sale

If you don’t think you have enough stuff to justify hosting a garage sale on your own, you could always team up with friends, family, or neighbors to make a larger yard sale. Not to mention, with more items, you’ll have a better chance of attracting more customers and potentially making more money.

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Step 6: Make Sure to Clean Everything

In the week leading up to your garage sale, clean everything you’re looking to sell at your yard sale. Use disinfecting wipes and dust rags to clean off books, electronics, toys, home decor, and any furniture. Also, make sure you run any clothes you’re selling through the laundry so that they’re clean. Not only will this help your items look better, but it also allows you to ask for a little more money for an item if it’s in good condition.

Step 7: Advertise Your Sale

Before you kick off your yard sale, get the word out about it both physically and digitally! Put out signs and hang up flyers close to the sale telling people the location, date, and time. You can also utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor to spread the word among acquaintances and your neighborhood.

Step 8: Price Items Fairly

Garage sales are popular because customers know it’s generally where they can get lower prices for household items. If you’re having trouble deciding what price to set for something, a good rule is to shoot for about 10% of the retail price. Also, if you have small items like paperback books or kids toys, you can price them in bundles to give yard sale shoppers a great deal. Be mindful that many items in your garage sale will be used or old, so don’t try to overprice or get the same price you paid for the item when it was brand new.

Step 9: Set Up the Garage Sale

As the day arrives for your garage sale, get everything set up ahead of time. Putting items out in a particular way can help keep things organized and increase the chances of shoppers seeing all that you have to offer. Set up your tables and clothing racks in rows to form paths and aisles that shoppers can easily move through, and group similar items together. Also, put your best items in the front to draw shoppers into your sale!

Step 10: Expect Negotiations

Even if you’re using price stickers, chances are someone will try to negotiate for lower prices. Don’t panic when this inevitably happens. Garage sales are common places for negotiating, and you get to make the rules for your yard sale. If you’re open to negotiating, you might be able to get away with raising the starting price just a little and establishing a minimum price you’ll take for an item. The longer your sale goes on, the more you should be willing to take lower prices or make deals to get rid of items. But if you aren’t willing to negotiate, make it clear that the prices are firm to set the expectation that negotiations won’t happen.

Step 11: Consider Electronic Payment Options

If you really want to set your garage sale apart, have electronic payment available! Some of the most common payment apps include Cash App, Venmo, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. This is beneficial for both your shoppers and you, as it’s easier to send money straight from an account than have to keep track of cash and change. If you want to accept credit or debit cards and you have a smartphone, Square is easy to set up and can be used long after the sale—just be aware that Square takes a small percentage of each charge.

Step 12: Donate What You Don’t Sell

There’s a pretty good chance you’ll have items left over after your yard sale, but that doesn’t mean you should hold onto them. Consider donating your items! There are lots of place that accept all types of items, like lightly used clothing and even larger household furniture. Even though you weren’t able to sell them, someone else could use the items you no longer want or need and put them to good use in a new home!


Need a place to store decluttered items? Extra Space Storage has self storage locations across the country where you can keep extra items safe until your next garage sale. Find a storage facility near you!

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