10 Tips for Throwing a Great Garage Sale

By Polly Conner

Tis the season for garage sales! In fact, instead of going out and hunting for great treasures for my home, this past weekend, I threw a garage sale of my own. Rachel jumped on board and put some of her stuff in it as well. Here is us in all our garage sale glory… un-showered, no makeup, fanny packs, visors, boots, you get the picture.

It was a HUGE success. Almost all my stuff sold and I made more than enough money for the camera I have been saving up to buy. Rachel’s baby and kid stuff sold like hotcakes too. We both were VERY happy with the outcome.

Throwing a garage sale is a lot of work but totally worth it if you do it well. As I was putting together and running the sale, I made some mental notes on some things that helped the sale run smoothly and things that helped our stuff sell fast.

Tips on How to throw a good garage sale

1) Location, location, location

This is something that may be out of your control but having your sale on a busy, easy to access street can mean the difference of hundreds of dollars. Lots of people who stop by garage sales are doing it impulsively. I even had quite a few people stop by on their way to work! If you have a friend who lives on a busy street, it’d be worth the pain of hauling your stuff over there to use their yard.

2) Partner Up

If you can, find a partner in crime to throw the sale with. This is helpful in a lot of different ways. Your sale will be larger which attracts more people. It also splits a lot of the work up such as tracking down tables, setting things up, keeping things organized, etc. It’s also just fun to have a person to work it with (and laugh at some of the crazy things people buy).

3) Signs

Good signs are CRITICAL. People need to be able to get the necessary information from a quick glance. Most people don’t even pay attention to the address or other information on a sign. They just follow the arrows. Mine were really simple. Here is an example of one.

Make a lot of signs! I ended up making 12 for my sale. The better the directions, the more people you will have.

To avoid having a sign that wraps around the pole that you hang it up on, try this little trick out: tape wooden kabob sticks to the back of your sign. That way the wind won’t mess with it! Worked great for me.

Here’s another great sign hanging tip: at busy intersections, put a sign on the corner where people can (impulsively) turn right. Hopefully the picture I whipped up below will help you understand what I mean.

garage sale sign tip

4) Tables

Get as many tables as you can! Having your stuff on tables not only makes it easier for people to browse and see things but it also communicates you care about the stuff you are selling. If you just throw stuff all over your yard, it shows people you think it is junk as well.

5) Organization

Hang up your clothes, cluster items that are similar, stack your books, take things out of bins and boxes, wipe the dust off things, and do your best to make things look organized, clean, and taken care of.

6) Curb appeal

Like I said before, you want people to impulsively stop by your sale. Put big items by the curb so people driving by can easily see them.


Seriously. Make it very clear what every item costs. Most people don’t like to speak up and ask for or offer a price. You want to make it easy for them to know what they will pay. The items that I didn’t have priced were the ones that didn’t sell very quickly. (I eventually caught on to why people were looking at them and then passing them up).

8 ) Have an electric outlet/batteries available to test items

Don’t take it personally, but people won’t trust you. They want to test out the electronics to make sure they work. If you don’t have an outdoor outlet, run an extension cord. Also, have batteries available to prove that items work.

9) Fanny Pack

Wear it and wear it with pride baby! You’ll be on your feet, moving around the sale quite a bit. The last thing you want to worry about is someone swiping your hard earned cash. As larger bills accumulated, I would move them to inside my house. A fanny pack also helps people to know who to pay or who to direction their questions. It’s the mark of a seasoned garage saler.

10) Give information

It’s very helpful to give the buyer a little information about the item. For example, on quite a few items, I had the price tag AND a little post-it explaining what the item was, what it did, or how old it was. I also made special notes if something was brand new. Rachel was smart and printed out what some of her baby items were going for on ebay and taped it to the item. That way people would SEE they were getting a great deal!

Seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? I’ll be honest with you, it is! Just think of this way: people are paying you to take your junk away. All you have to do is set up the platform for them to do it. So now that you are properly trained,  go clean out those closets and basements and get selling!


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9 replies
  1. Paul says:

    These are great tips and I just shared them on my Facebook Page… And I have one more for you… I am a regular guy who thought there had to be a better way to do the checkout process of a garage sale. So I created an app. Check it out! Love any feedback. Garage Sale Checkout.


    Good luck on your sale!

  2. Jennifer Anderson says:

    Did you hang up every piece of child clothing on a hanger or do you think neat stacks of gender and size separation are sufficient? I plan on pricing each piece of clothing, just wondering how far I need to go…

    • Polly says:

      I hung up probably half of my clothes. Mainly the ones that were new, name brand, or I knew people would want to buy. Since they all were pretty much the same size (3-9 mo), I didn’t bother with organizing by size. However, I think the easier people can find the size they are looking for, the more sales you will make. The only problem with stacks is that they get messy really fast. If you can stay on top of re-stacking after a messy person shops, I think you’ll be fine. Good luck!!

  3. holli says:

    I love this! Its so great and of course I love the enthusiastic picture. I have been needing to clean out and try to do so regularly but this was encouraging to actually get the job done! How much do you charge to just come over and do it for me?


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