How to have a Successful Garage Sale!

by Super Coupon Lady on May 23, 2012 · 18 comments


So you want to have a garage sale to make some quick cash? Great! You’ve come to the right place. However, I must warn you that having a successful garage sale takes a lot of work! A good garage sale starts as early at 6AM and doesn’t end until around 3PM. Of course you can set any times you’d like, but if you’re going to drag all of that stuff out you might as well get the most out of it.

Planning and Advertising

First, you want to look up the rules and regulations in your neighborhood and town. You may need a permit to set up.

Once you get your permit (or if you’re lucky, you won’t need one), you will need to advertise! If your city has a website, you may be able to advertise for free there. Of course, there’s also craigslist. You can take out an ad in your local paper, but be sure to weigh the cost in doing so. If it’s only a few bucks, it’s worth it. If it’s fifty, it may not be.

If you know of other sales in the area, offer them an advertising swap. They tell their customers about your sale, and you tell yours about theirs. Better yet, get a few neighbors together and have a subdivision sale. You can split the cost of a newspaper ad. Plus, more people are attracted to multiple sales in one location.

You can also advertise on Facebook and offer an incentive if people share your event. Serving cookies and lemonade is a sure way to get the neighbors to come, even if they think they’re not interested in buying – they may be when they start looking around.

Make lots of signs on colorful poster board but make sure you have permission before you hang them up. Some areas have laws regarding signage. You don’t need a lot of writing on the sign – and make sure it’s bold (black) and very clear (block letters work best). Drive by the signs and make sure you can read them, and when your sale is over be sure to take them down.

Set up.

Make sure you have enough change. You’ll need quarters, ones, and fives. Depending on what you’re selling, you may need other change.

Do you have enough parking in your driveway? You may need to move your vehicles to another location to make room. Also, setting up signs so people know where to park would be helpful.

Tables! You need lots of tables. Nobody wants to be bending over looking at things on the ground. If you don’t have enough tables, get creative. Use dressers (mark “NOT FOR SALE”), night stands, and rolling closet racks.

Keep your pets away. Even though you love Fido, it doesn’t mean everyone else does. So keep him in the house for the duration of the garage sale.

Price everything. If you don’t want to put a price tag on it, put a sign up. “Books: 2 for $1”. Don’t overprice things. Yes, you may have paid $100 for something… that doesn’t mean it’s worth even $50 to someone else. Be fair with pricing and if you’re not interested in negotiating, put a sign up – you will get hagglers all day asking you to lower your prices.

The sale.

During the sale, play music – it will help ward off the awkward silences.

Be friendly, but do not be a push over. If you don’t want to go down on a price, don’t.

After the sale.

Towards the end of the sale, mark things down if you don’t want to bring them back inside.

Give away items to charity – Goodwill, or even Freecycle.

What are your Tips for a Successful Garage Sale?! 

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqui Odell May 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I am a huge fan of yard sales. I hate putting them on though. This will help out allot. I think we need to have one this summer. We got too much junk!


Nicoyle May 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Interesting about the permit. I never thought that you would need one as I thought you could just set up in your yard and sell the things.


Cristina May 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

In the town where my mom lives you are not allowed to have a sign up in the parkway. They actually have to be put in peoples yards! Its stinks but the police will take them down if they see them =-(


Angela May 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I haven’t had a garage sale in many years and wouldn’t know where to begin. These are great tips!


Johannah May 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm

One more… have a back up date, or plan ~ in case you are totally rained out… like in you open garage ~~~ or carport? No one likes to buy WET items (smile).. well, I don’t anyway.
We aren’t allowed to have them in our “private” subdivision. Actually they stretched the rule to say that they are a business because you are selling something and collecting money. There has been ONE in this neighborhood in 13 years but that old guy knew the powers that be and got away with it. We wouldn’t be so lucky.


Super Coupon Lady May 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Great point Johannah! Love that Back Up Plan Idea! 🙂


Melody May 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I’d love to have a Yard Sale, but the last time I did it was a flop. I sat outside for HOURS, with not one customer all weekend long. I ended up throwing a lot of the stuff away, or giving it all to good will. *sigh* lol.


Heather Bryant May 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

My family and I have at least one garage sale a year, if not two! I believe in giving things to Salvation Army/Goodwill so it does not come back inside and clutter the house again.


CinnyBBS May 24, 2012 at 1:34 am

I enjoy garage sales. They’re fun. But yes, you do have to price things or else people will low ball you.
Whirlwind of Surprises


Erika @Musings From a Stay At Home Mom May 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

Great article and perfect timing! We are planning our first garage sale in (hopefully) a couple of weeks. Thanks for the tips!


Super Coupon Lady May 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Awesome Erika! Good luck with your Garage Sale, let us know how it goes!


Mariah May 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

These are great suggestions! We are cleaning out garage and having a sale in just a few weeks so I appreciate these!


Lisa May 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for the tips I really need to get busy I have enough stuff to have a sale all summer long but I am dragging about pulling it all out.


Love to Garage sale May 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I love to go to Garage sales and agree price your stuff. I HATE having to ask someone a price because than I feel awkward when I have to walk over and put it back because it’s WAY more than I want to pay. If it’s priced and to me it’s to high I can just walk on by and go to the next thing. So if I walk up and there’s not prices or signs with prices I leave. 🙁 Now I wish I could have one myself but I am to lazy LOL And yes if you have more than 3 a year in our old town you had to have a permit.


Rikki J. May 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

One thing I ran into with running yard sales is to have bags on hand for people’s purchases. If they are buying clothes or a group of small things such as CDs & DVDs, they usually always ask for a bag, especially if it’s a neighborhood yard sale and they will be walking from house to house. I always have an overage of grocery store plastic bags around that I use for the sales. Often enough, I forget my reusable bags when I go to the store 🙁


Jessica March 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

I don’t think it is a great idea to send a “donation” to Goodwill. Try Salvation army or a local charity. Goodwill’s CEO pockets the money and does not pay a cent for stock or inventory. He is pocketing FREE money on products. Please do your research and reconsider.


Karen May 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

Very good points, we are planning a multiple family sale we have 5 confirmed families and possibly a 6th family may join if my sons fiance parent’s send stuff. We do have to have permits with only being allowed 3 per year with 2 additional if we participate in the city wide or our local 100 mile sale. We are opting to have 1 the week before city wide this year as it was a flop last year. We used to have them in the back yard as it was a bit easier however last year we did them in the front yard it takes up almost the entire yard, and usually the driveway to setup. I thinking abut having my husband contact the realtor that has the empty lot across the street and find out if we can use it for parking in exchange for mowing the lot since they have not been out to mow it yet. I agree mostly on having tables or other way’s to display items, and pricing we usually price our stuff after we fill a box, however not everyone prices there stuff so, we tell them that there is a 20% fee for us having to price their items, or that we will sell it for any where from a penny to a dime, this usually gets items priced by the owner.


bonnie June 27, 2014 at 11:47 am

place your expensive items like jewelries near the cashier table for them not be stolen. Also provide a mirror so that they can check if the hat or the necklace looks good on them for example.



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