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How I Made $236 Having a Garage Sale

Updated on August 6, 2020
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Amelia has been writing online articles for over 10 years and has self-published over a dozen books including fiction and nonfiction.

Planning for a Garage Sale

First things first. To have a successful garage sale, you have to have a lot of items to sell. Start by cleaning out your attic, garage, closets and basement and start making a list of items you can sell.

Garage Sale
Garage Sale | Source
Garage Sales - Items to Sell
Garage Sales - Items to Sell | Source

Items you might consider selling at a garage sale may include:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Furniture
  • Lamps
  • Knick-knacks
  • Vases
  • Candles
  • Jewelry
  • Jewelry Boxes
  • Old Videos/CD’s
  • Tools
  • Christmas Decorations

Organize and Sort Your Stuff

Some items are more popular than others at garage sales. The two items that were the most popular at my garage sale were Tools and Jewelry.

If you have boxes of books, drawers of old jewelry, and a garage filled with unused tools, and other items, go through all your items and sort them in 4 piles:

Keep Pile – items you just can’t part with

Trash Pile – old, broken or otherwise hazardous items that are only trash worthy

Donate Pile – items that won’t sell, but that can be used by good will (your donate pile may increase after your garage sale is over)

Garage Sale Pile – items that are in fair to good condition that you can sell

Pick a Good Time of Year to Have Your Garage Sale

The best time to have a garage sale is spring and early summer. If the weather is too cold or too hot, this may deter visitors.

Timing is Everything! If you know of other neighbors who are having a garage sale on a certain day or weekend, join in the fun.

In my case, it was all about the timing. I had already cleaned out my garage recently and then I saw a sign posted by a neighbor that a neighborhood garage sale was to take place on an upcoming weekend. Once I confirmed the date (including a rain date) and made sure I would be ready, it was time to advertise and do a little social networking.

How to Advertise Your Garage Sale

Once I knew that neighbors were planning a garage sale, I looked online to check for online ads for nearby garage sales. I found some postings on Advertising on this website was free, so I wrote up a description and posted an advertisement for my garage sale. I also include a couple pictures of items for sale including an animated Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause, and a game table.

I also posted a message on Facebook to alert all my family and friends.

Finally, I invested a couple dollars and bought a study poster board and some metal stakes for my sign.

Here is my completed sign, which I placed at the end of block at an intersection, about a week before the garage sale:

Garage Sale Sign
Garage Sale Sign | Source

I also used some cardboard from old boxes and made smaller signs to adhere to my mailbox for the day of the sale. The smaller signs contained the words “Garage Sale Today”. I placed them on both sides of my mailbox.

What You’ll Need:

  • Several tables
  • Tablecloths
  • Tarp (to lay large or heavy items on grass)
  • An apron with pockets
  • Some small change (dollar bills, and some fives, etc. to have ready if customers need change)
  • Post-it notes, pens, and tape to mark prices on items or tables
  • Radio to play music (this is more relaxing for the customers)

Garage Sale Table
Garage Sale Table | Source

The Day Before the Garage Sale

A day or two before the garage sale, be sure to move all the items you will be selling in your garage, or in an area in your house where the items are in close proximity to where you have to move them the morning of the garage sale.

It’s also a good idea to place some items on tables ahead of time and plan how everything will be laid out. This will save you a lot of time and headaches the morning of the garage sale.

I laid out a lot of my items on tables beforehand and took pictures of how I would set everything up.

Tape post-it notes and post prices on as many items as possible. For tables with similar items, such as a book table, post one large sign with a general price for all books.

Garage Sale Table
Garage Sale Table | Source

The Morning of the Garage Sale

Get up very early and eat a good breakfast. My garage sale was scheduled for 8am to 2pm, and we started setting up tables outside about 6:30am. People were driving up as early as 6:45am, no lie! There are some early bird garage sale buyers that will arrive extra early and they will be looking for specific items.

Setup early and be on the lookout for very early visitors! Several older gentlemen arrived early and wanted to know if we had any vintage, antique items, and jewelry. Look out for very early risers and potential buyers!

Post more signs. Place a sign and/or balloons on your mailbox to let visitors know where the garage sale is being held

Use blankets and tarp too, for displaying items. Lay tarp down on your grass to display large items, toolboxes and other heavier items.

Garage Sale
Garage Sale | Source
Books For Sale
Books For Sale | Source
Jewelry For Sale
Jewelry For Sale | Source

Have a 50% Off Sale During the Last Hour of the Garage Sale

During the last hour, mark down prices, or consider having a 50% off sale. This will help you sale even more items!

Garage Sale Profits

My profits from my garage sale were $236.00. Considering it was only a few hours of planning and half a day’s work, I was happy with the results.

After your garage sale is over, it’s time to clean up shop. If items have not sold, it’s a good time to pack them up in the car and donate them to good will.

If items are too large, putting them out on the curb with a “Free” sign is another alternative.

Spring is right around the corner. Clean out your garage and consider having a garage or yard sale today!

Garage Sale Profits
Garage Sale Profits | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Amelia Griggs


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