How can I Plan a Garage Sale?

Cathy Rogers
Cathy Rogers
Anyone planning a garage sale should make sure that they advertise.
Anyone planning a garage sale should make sure that they advertise.

To plan a garage sale, it’s helpful to start a few weeks in advance so that you have time to prepare the merchandise and advertise. When you choose a date, avoid holidays or other times when events might keep potential customers from shopping. Whether you publicize your garage sale by posting flyers or place an ad in a newspaper, there are many details to include.

Be sure to provide the date, time and location of the sale. If your home is difficult to find or out of the way, provide landmarks or directions. If you are planning your garage sale along with neighbors, mention that it’s a multi-family sale. Also mention any big-ticket or popular sale items, like brand-name children’s toys or clothes, tools and furniture.

Post large, colorful, sturdy signs in your neighborhood and at nearby businesses or intersections to announce your garage sale. If you put your signs up days in advance, periodically check to make sure they haven’t fallen or been removed.

As for what to sell at your garage sale, collect items throughout the year that you no longer want or need. Also ask family if they have items they want to include in your garage sale. It’s always a good idea to have a variety of items.

You’ll need to price the items individually, or at a minimum, hang signs that explain your pricing system. For example, it might be easier to place books or small toys in a box or bin and price them at a small predetermined amount each. If you price items using quarter increments, you will need to make less change.

Attaching prices with stickers is easiest. If you are concerned about stickers falling off or being switched, use safety pins to attach a price tag. To determine garage sale prices, start at about 20-30% of the item’s original value and adjust up or down, according to condition and other relevant factors.

Obviously, you’ll make more money at your garage sale if your items are in clean, working order. Place some of your best items toward the street to attract passersby. It is both attractive and convenient to group similar items together. It’s best to hang clothes or place them neatly folded, by type, on tables.

Keep the entire area as neat as possible, and as items sell, move merchandise around or bring more out so that you are well-stocked. If you have fragile items, take care to protect them from breakage. If you have electrical items, provide an extension cord so that potential buyers can test it. Since not everyone feels the same about animals, it is best to keep your pet indoors during your garage sale.

Have plenty of coins and paper money on hand, as well as a calculator. Keep the money box out of the way and locked, if possible. You can also keep your money in a fanny pack.

Think about taking the items left over after your garage sale to a charity or non-profit organization. That way, you won't be tempted to move the unwanted items back into your house. You can also get a receipt of your donations to use at income-tax time.

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Discussion Comments


Do you think it is a good idea to provide refreshments at your garage sale? Or perhaps sell unique crafts? I would like to do something unique to attract more shoppers.


When we had our garage sales it was always a good idea to make sure everyone had a good idea of what items are worth. Some people try to drive a hard bargain on your items, but you really need to make sure you have a line that you won't go under.

This is especially true for rare items and those that were more expensive when originally purchased.

If you have any children helping with your garage sale, make sure they know to come to their parents when someone wants to buy an expensive item. You'd be surprised at how many people want to barter with an eight-year-old.


Garage sales can be a lot of fun for the family. When I was a child I used to help my parents prepare for their sale just after spring-cleaning finished up.

I remember they used to post an ad in the local paper to bring in more people. Sometimes the paper even has weekends with free listings.

A good tip is that if you have any collectibles or antiques for sale, you should mention that in your headline. Many owners of antique shops scour the morning paper for these ads and will show up bright and early looking for great finds.


Here are some tips for deciding what to sell at your garage sale:

- get some paper and a pen

- talk a walk through each room in your home

- make a list for each room of things that you want to sell or things that you want to sort through

- after you have completed your inventory list, begin collecting the items, one room at a time

- you can place these items in a holding area to price later or price them as you go. Good luck planning your garage sale!

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    • Anyone planning a garage sale should make sure that they advertise.
      By: Alexey Stiop
      Anyone planning a garage sale should make sure that they advertise.