Garage Sale Tips & Ideas

One reason I love the warmer spring weather? GARAGE SALES! I love searching them out to find great deals, and I also love having them too. Seems odd huh? Someone really enjoying all the work of putting together a garage sale. But, I do. It is a lot of work, but the reward is great!

Tips For Holding A Successful Garage Sale | One Mile Home Style

Our town does a citywide garage sale at the start of every summer. Throughout the year I collect all of outgrown clothes and toys from the kids and place them in a designated spot in the storage area of our basement. As I clean out my closet and other areas of our home, the things we no longer want or need go to this area too. This year it is really over flowing, here is the evidence:

Basement storage of garage sale items

I thought I would put together a quick list of tips and ideas that make our garage sales successful. These are in no particular order:

  • Put a price on everything!
    • There is nothing that bothers me more than going to a garage sale and there are no prices on anything.
    • If you have a lot of a similar item, group them all together and make a sign (Ex. "All Books $1" or "All Stuffed Animals 50 cents")
    • Even though everything is priced, be willing to negotiate.
  • Make a "FREE Box" and put it out at the end of your driveway
    • This draws interest and honestly, most people hate to just take something for free and leave, so if they pick up something out of the box, more than likely they are going to pick something else up to buy.
    • If you are going to price something less than a quarter, put it in the box. I also put small happy meal type toys in there and kids clothes that maybe have a small stain or tear (kids always need grubby clothes to play in the mud with).
  • Organize, Organize, Organize!!
    • I have had more than one person tell me that they have come to one of my sales in the past and love that everything is organized and easy to see, and they will return for my next sale.
    • There are 2 keys to this one: Group like items together and make signs. (They don't even have to be pretty or fancy signs, white printer paper and a black sharpie works for us!) Kid's clothing is in neatly folded stacks with signs that indicate the sizes. Men's clothing is grouped together and divided by size and women's is the same. We try to hang about half of the adult clothing up so that it is easier to see. Toys and larger items are in neat rows down the driveway. Jewelry is hung on a framed piece of pegboard so that it is more visible. Housewares and kitchen items are grouped together neatly on tables.
  • Have a partner to work with
    • My mom and I do our garage sales together. That way you have someone to talk to when the sales are slow and also so there is always someone available to watch the sale and the money. (Note: always keep your money out of plain sight and have someone near it at all times!)
    • Partnering up with a friend and/or family member (or two) increases not only the amount of items, but will also provide your customers with a larger variety too.
  • Advertise
    • There are plenty of free ways to advertise your sale: Craigslist, local Facebook Sell & Shop pages, grocery store and post office bulletin boards, word of mouth... You can also advertise in local newspapers, but sometimes the prices for an ad just are not worth it.
    • Start advertising 2-3 days before your sale, hanging your flyers and starting your online posts. The day before I would recommend doing another Craigslist post and FB post to move your listing back to the top.
    • Don't forget to add details to your flyers and posts. Include the address, dates and times you will be open, if you have clothing for sale, include the size of clothing (boy/girl/mens/womens), list any other types of items (ex. toys, housewares, appliances) and don't forget any large items you will have.
  • Make Good Signs
    • The night before your sale (or early the morning of) put up signs at the ends of your street and at larger intersections near your street or neighborhood.
    • The signs should be easy to read from the road and include your street address and day(s) and time of your sale. (ex. SALE, 123 Main St, Fri. & Sat. 7-5)
  • Clean up your garage/yard/driveway
    • Sweep the dirt out of your garage and off your driveway before you set-up, it will keep any items that fall on the ground from instantly getting all dirty.
    • Mow and trim your yard, especially if you are going to put items out there. It gives a neat appearance and honestly, are you going to stop at a sale to look at items if you have to walk through tall grass/weeds?
    • If you can't clear everything out of your garage before the sale (really, who can?), nail (clean) old sheets up on the garage walls to hide the items that are not for sale.
  • Miscellaneous tips/ideas
    • If it is going to be hot, consider keeping water and/or soda in a cooler and selling it (or have your kids sell it), it's all about making your customers happy!
    • Anticipate early birds. I post that my sale opens at 7am, but it never fails, as I am pulling things out of the garage at 6:30 someone always stops to see if we are open. My policy is, if the garage is open then we are open for business. I am not going to turn away a potential buyer just because they are early.
    • Keep plastic bags at your check-out table to bag up your customer's purchases.
    • Keep a stash of old newspapers to wrap glass or fragile items that are purchased.
Ok, I will stop here, I can't think of anything else off the top of my head. Let me know if you have any tips or ideas that make your garage sales a success!!

**Update: To see some of these tips and ideas in action click here.**


  1. Bright balloons attached to your garage. Sale sign...esp at the end of your driveway is always an eye catcher making it easier for customers to find your sale.
    On the signs you hang up around the neighborhood put arrows pointing the way. Its not just people from your town at your garage sale. Help out of towners find their way to your sale.
    One thing that totally turns me away from a garage sale is when people just have things laying on the ground.

  2. Always have a lot of change ready.

  3. Great additional tips! Thanks for sharing!



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