Yard Sale and Garage Sale Tips: Your Complete Guide


This guide is everything you need to know to have an epic garage sale. Make more money by following these garage sale tips.

One of the most common pieces of organization advice here on Clutter Keeper® is to only keep what you need. Garage and yard sales are an excellent way to sell all that stuff you don’t use. These garage sale tips will help you to get started so you can successfully make money.

Your complete guide to garage sale organization. Everything you need to know. Get organized. Stay organized. A calendar sitting open on a desk with a calculator and a money clip with a $20 bill sitting on top of it to help you plan a yard sale. Next to it is a cup of coffee, a pair of glasses and two binder clips.

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How to Have An Epic garage sale

A successful garage sale will result in a huge decrease in your things and some extra money. Anyone that has tried to have a garage sale will tell you they can be a lot of work.

This guide will walk you through every step of setting up a money-making yard sale. You’ll learn:

Follow this guide and you’ll be set up for more selling success.

How to have an epic garage sale. An overhead shot of an open laptop computer, eyeglasses, pencils and a pencil sharpener, paperclips and a notebook to prepare for a yard sale.

What to Sell At A Garage Sale

Before you start buying price stickers, consider carefully what you are going to sell. Make sure you have a balance of high-quality or like-new items with lower-valued items (like worn clothes).

Often, people will either scan your “for sale list” or drive by. If they don’t see things that pique their interest, the won’t even stop by.

The best things to sell at a garage sale are going to be things that appear like a bargain to shoppers. Here are some ideas:

  • Large electronics
  • Furniture – the less worn the better
  • Name brand items
  • Baby items – the more like new the better
  • Collectibles
  • Tools
  • Vintage items in excellent condition
  • Bicycles
  • Camping Equipment

The key is selling things that look like someone is getting a bargain. Keep your eyes on local garage sale listings. If you have unique things, sell them. If the market is saturated with a certain item (like you keep seeing “toddler boys clothes” everywhere) understand that those things might not sell as well.

What Not to Sell At A Garage Sale

Just like there are things that will definitely sell at a garage sale, there are things that might just sit there. Things that don’t sell very well are things that appear like junk.

This is why it is so important to wash everything before setting it out. In fact, here is a list of some of the things that either won’t sell or might sell for such a low price it might not be worth it to put out at your yard sale:

  • Worn out clothes
  • Ripped/torn shoes
  • Dirty or broken toys
  • Electronics that don’t work
  • Incomplete sets
  • Damaged books

Basically, if you wouldn’t buy it, why would someone else?

How to Price Yard Sale Items

Pricing your yard sale items can be confusing and challenging. You don’t want to price it too high and risk people walking away. But you also don’t want to just give away things that could be worth more.

How to set prices for your yard sale. An overhead shot of an open laptop computer and a cell phone being used to calculate pricing for a garage sale. Nearby are a wooden ruler, a tape dispenser and a vase with cut ferns.

So how do you know how to set the prices?

There are a couple things to take into account when you are pricing your items: their quality and quantity.

Quality – If your things are only slightly worn or showing mild signs of wear, you can price them higher. However, the highest you should price something at a garage sale is 60% off retail.

If someone can buy something brand new for $10, why would they spend that same price on something used?

Quantity – If you are selling something that you have way too many of – like boxes and boxes of clothes – they should be priced lower. If you are selling something that is unique or you only have in a small amount – like a working lap top – then you can price it higher.

How to Accept Credit Cards at Yard Sales

Now that you know how much to price your items, how will you accept payment? You definitely want to have a cash box with plenty of change. But if you advertise that you accept credit/debit cards, you could sell a lot more of your things.

There are a few apps that you can use to sell your things. Always check the fee amounts and decide if you will make a profit after they take out their fees.

One idea you can try – put a “minimum order of $5 for credit card purchases” sign by the cash box.

These are the most popular ways to accept money electronically at yard sales:

  • Square Cash – This app lets you give someone your Cash.Me page and they can send you money instantly. They take a 2.75% cut
  • PayPal – Paypal is another way to transfer money easily via the app. You can set up a Paypal.me URL and people can easily send you the money. Paypal takes 2.9% + $.30 per transaction and the rest is deposited into your Paypal account.
  • Google Wallet – Google Wallet lets you send money from one user to another – you just need to share your gmail email address that is set up in your Google Wallet account. Google takes a 2.9% cut of the total.
  • Venmo – Venmo is an app that allows you to send and receive money electronically. They actually charge the person using their credit card the 3% fee, not you. Sending and receiving money via Venmo balance, bank account or debit card has no fees at all.

If someone doesn’t have an app or doesn’t want to use one, you can look into getting a card reader from either PayPal or Square. But those come with fees, so decide if it will be worth it to you.

How to make money and sell stuff at your next garage sale. An overhead shot of an open billfold style leather wallet with U.S. currency fanning out from the top of it.

Garage Sale Sign Ideas

Now that you know what to sell, how much to sell it for, and how to accept payment, the next step is to advertise it. Of course you can send the listing to your local paper and post it on social media. But one of the most effective ways to grab people’s attention will always be well-placed signs.

In fact, a creative and easy-to-read sign will grab people’s attention as they are driving around and increase the likeliness that they will stop by.

When it comes to yard sale signs, the more creative, the better! Here are some of our favorites.

This sign is easy to read and grabs your attention. If you don’t have handwriting skills like this, you can always print your signs off using movie-themed fonts.

This Wheel of Fortune themed sign really grabs your attention. It might take a little more time to make, but it’s worth it!

This one isn’t as creative as the others. But it is super effective advertising. You can read it from the car and you can see what they are selling.

Tons of people can relate to memes. We see them everywhere. A well-used meme – like this one – will make people chuckle and grab their attention just long enough to get them to drive on down.

All of these are pretty entertaining!

Yard sale sign tip: When you are making the signs, make the address and times legible. If your handwriting isn’t the best, that’s ok. Just print out the details in extra large font. The best font for signs is Ariel or Verdana – basically a “sans serif” font.

How to set up the best yard sale your neighborhood has ever seen. A vintage or antique camera sits waiting to be tagged for a garage sale.

Yard Sale Ideas for Hanging Clothes

Clothes are some of the most difficult things to sell at garage sales because it’s really difficult to keep them organized. If they just sit in a big pile, people are less likely to want to take the time to sort through them.

Hang up as many clothes as you can. There are some really easy hacks for hanging up clothes, too.

  • Lay a ladder down – Lay a ladder horizontally between sawhorses or tables.
  • Use broomsticks on ladders – Set up the ladders and attach broomsticks or curtain rods between the steps.
  • Hang clothes on a clothesline – You can also attach a clothesline between trees. If your clothes are heavy, you might want to use a chain instead.
  • Attach a pipe to a tableThis image is a wonderful example. The clothes can hang off the front of the table.
  • Hang them up on the garage door itself – You can either hang up clothes from the garage door or attach some curtain rods in the garage doorway.
  • Build your own clothing rackRain on a Tin Roof has a super easy tutorial you can follow. This is really helpful, especially if you plan on hosting regular garage sales.

Important Tip: When you hang up clothes, use a printable size separator. When you visually organize the clothes, you are making it easier for people to scan and find exactly what they need.

How to Set Up A Garage Sale Without A Table

If you don’t have any extra tables, you don’t have to buy some just for this purpose. Instead, use some of these display tricks.

1.) Display your things on bookshelves

A Little Knick a Little Knack created a hack out of 2 bookshelves and a broom stick. She displays her things on her bookshelves and hangs up clothes between them. No need to purchase a folding table that you’ll only use once.

Hang up clothes on a broomstick between 2 bookshelves for a quick garage sale hack.

Use as many bookshelves as you can. Hang up everything on ladders too.

2.) Wooden Crates

Another idea – use wooden crates as shelves. You can buy them pretty cheap at craft stores. Set them up on top of each other and display a lot of your things.

3.) Old Doors and Sawhorses

Old doors on top of sawhorses works fantastic as well. It’s a horizontal surface and that works perfect for garage sales.

4.) Plywood between chairs

You can usually buy plywood fairly inexpensively and then reuse it in DIY projects after the sale.

5.) Well-Labeled Boxes

You can set things on the ground, just make sure everything is labeled clearly and won’t blow away. Keep things in boxes if you can.

Garage Sale Tips and Tricks

Finally, let’s look at some super-important garage sale tips that will help you make the most money!

Garage Sale Tips & Tricks - Everything You Need to Know to Be Successful. An overhead shot showing two hands holding an iPad. Nearby are pencils, a sharpener, a clock, eyeglasses, a wallet and keys as someone prepares to host a yard sale.

Sometimes, you just can’t help things that are out of your control – the weather and local emergencies. But follow these tips and you’ll set yourself up for success.

1. Yard Sale Location Matters

Location is so important! Is your house easy to find? Are there enough places to park?

If not, try to pair up with someone in a better location. The best yard sale location will be:

  • Easy to find from your signs on busy roads – if you have to make too many turns, you risk losing their interest
  • A place with plenty of parking – if it’s too crowded and people can’t pull in, they will just drive on by.
  • A recognized road name – If people are reading the address in the newspaper or online, if they recognize the street, they are more likely to go.

2. Choose the Best Time

There are lots of factors to look at when planning the date of your sale. Here are some of the most important things you need to consider:

  • Local Sports Games or Events – If there is a local game that weekend, attendance will be lower. Try to plan around community events.
  • Community Garage Sale – If you host your sale during a neighborhood or city-wide garage sale, you will be more likely to sell more.
  • Weather – Keep an eye on the weather. Set up during the morning before it gets too hot. If it’s calling for rain, reschedule it.
  • Time of Year – Schedule the yard sale after the sun has risen. This will vary depending on the season.

Most people like to go out and check out sales early. In fact, it’s becoming a trend to have a sale Friday evenings as well as Saturday mornings.

The typical sale lasts from 5-8 p.m. Friday and then 7 a.m. – noon Saturday.

3. Mark Prices Clearly

Make it as easy as possible for people to see the prices. Always err on the side of over explaining with signs. Use stickers on individual things and print out signs with prices too – just in case they don’t see the stickers or the stickers fall off.

4. Do A Bag Sale

Just like Mom on the Side states, “Consider doing a bag sale at the end of the day. Say you have a good amount left, offer $5 bags, where they can fit as much as they can in a bag, for $5. ”

5. Check Permit Requirements

Some places require you to obtain a permit to have a garage or yard sale, so check with your local city or county. Val from Mom Knows It All has some excellent questions to ask before planning your garage sale.

6. Sort Everything Into Easy Categories

Save people time. My Organized Chaos suggests sorting all your items before pricing them, then sorting them even further into subcategories.

So if you have clothes, sort the clothes by gender and then by size.

If you are selling tools, sort the tools by type.

The more organized your location is, the more likely you are to sell more and earn more money.

7. Prepare for Leftovers

Save enough boxes to pack up everything that doesn’t sell so you can drop it off at your local thrift shop or charity. Don’t dread the clean up, prepare for it and make it easier on yourself.

8. Clean Off Everything Before Selling Them

If you want your stuff to sell, make sure it is clean and looks as least worn and used as possible. You want to create the image of a bargain, so make the items you’re selling look like they are worth more than the price tag.

9. Enhance the Curb Appeal of Your Sale

Finally, what people see as they drive by could affect whether they stop or not. Make your sale look organized and full of higher-value items. Put the more expensive items toward the front and the cheaper items towards the back.

If your area is organized and the displays are eye-catching, you will stop more traffic.

Make Money Selling Your Stuff

Above all, you should have fun. There are lots of apps you can use to sell your things too. But a garage sale, yard sale, or rummage sale, is a convenient way to sell everything at once.

Clean it, organize it, prepare for it, and market it! You will have the best luck if you put in the work and make it awesome.

Struggling to get motivated? Sign up to get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!

Everything you need to know to organize a garage sale. Your ultimate complete guide. Overhead shot of a notebook, tape, pencils and a pencil sharpener in preparation for a yard sale.

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