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How to Make a Ton of Money at Garage Sales - Good Money-Makers

Updated on November 27, 2017

So you're thinking about a garage sale

You have de-cluttered, and now it is time to have a garage sale. There are several tips and tricks to having a successful sale.

  • Promoting
  • Proper pricing
  • Ease of shopping
  • Little Extras


There are many ways of promoting a garage sale, and I have found promoting in one place can be totally different than in another area. Here are some ideas and suggestions:

  1. Put out signs.  Put out lots of large signs, pointing the way.  I usually put one at the end of my street, at the closest intersection, at the top of the main road, and then a couple more along nearby intersections with the address on them.
  2. Post online.  Craigs List, Bookoo, and other local sites will let you advertise your sale for free.
  3. Flyers.  Post flyers at thrift stores, consignment shops, church, and grocery stores.  Make sure to include a rain date.
  4. Newspaper ads.  These cost a little money but can be worth it.  In my home town, it's the number one way to find sales in the area.  Here in my town in Iowa, I don't think anyone looks in the paper for the sales.  Just use your judgment and remember to deduct the cost of the ad from your gross intake.
  5. Tell people.  Tell everyone about your upcoming sale.  Try to coerce folks in your neighborhood to follow suit, and have a lot of sales in the same area.  This always boosts traffic.
  6. Network.  The morning of the sale, walk around and find other sales in the vicinity.  Tell them that you, too, are having a sale, and will send folks their way if they will send folks your way.  This is especially great if one home is an older couple with lots of household items and you have lots of baby items. 

Proper Pricing

When pricing our sale items, it is very easy to price from the heart.  Resist the urge!  

I don't know an actual rule-of-thumb on pricing, but I usually use the following:

  • clothes 25¢ a piece.  That means that a 2 piece outfit is 50¢.
  • comforters are $3.  
  • books and CDs are 50¢
  • shoes $1
  • household items are roughly 10% of the retail
  • nice purses and perfumes, anywhere from 20%-40% retail

Ease of Shopping

Some avid garage-sale hoppers don't even bother looking at the prices - they're going to start out by making you an offer that they are hoping you'll take, then they'll dicker with you.  But for most people, they like a clear price on the items.

You can buy pre-printed stickers at the dollar store.  These can be one way to save time.  

Labels lying around the house can be used - if they're printer labels, you can customize your labels by printing them, or you can just write on them.

Masking tape works as well as anything and it's cheap if you don't have labels.

Another option, which is my favorite, is to "sectionalize" your sale.  Just post printed signs in different sections of your sale that determine the price of the items in that section.  I like to have one at with all the clothes that reads, "25¢ EACH PIECE."  Then you can put all of the 50¢ items together, etc.  If you have bigger items, those should be marked individually.  This makes it pretty easy for the shopper, and way easy for you.

These guys have the right idea!  Must be in the south - I have yet so see anyone here advertising  RED HOT DOGS!  I don't even see them in the stores!
These guys have the right idea! Must be in the south - I have yet so see anyone here advertising RED HOT DOGS! I don't even see them in the stores!

Little Extras

You can sell stuff other than your cast-off clothes and housewares at your garage sales.

Sodas (or POP if you are a mid-westerner)are a great seller and can be a great money-maker. Just buy them on sale and sell them for 50¢ each. If you paid $2.50/12 pack, you will net $3.50 on each 12 pack.  These sell really well on those spring and summer days when everyone is out.

Snacks sell pretty well, too.  Just buy one of those big sacks of 24 bags of chips and sell them.  They usually will cost about 25¢ a bag, so price them to your customers accordingly.  I will usually price them at a quarter and forgo making the money on these, but more than make up for it with the sodas.

Fish?  In Virginia, half of the yardsales I would visit would be having a fish fry.  The would sell you a plate of fish, some coleslaw and potato salad for around $5 per plate.  I know they have to be making money on that.  And there are so many different little things you could offer on a plate lunch.  I'm thinking my next sale might feature BBQ plates (or pulled-pork for the land-locked folks in the mid-west).

Just do it!

The thought of having a garage sale can be pretty daunting.  There is more involved usually than just throwing all your stuff outside and yelling "come & buy it!"  But don't give up or get discouraged thinking about it.  Use some of the simplifying tips here, and get you a few tables and blankets, and just make it happen.  Chances are you'll unload a bunch of stuff and make a little money.  

And as for the leftovers, box them up and call Salvation Army (or whoever does local pickup in your area) to come and get them.  Make sure you get a receipt to report on your taxes.

Good luck on your next garage sale!


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    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 6 years ago

      wannabwestern, I'll be there in the Spring to help make it happen!

      fpherj48, sure hope you had a great sale!

      Thanks for the comments!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hi cheaps8chick.....great hub, very helpful ideas. Thanks! I found you just in time for my Sale next week. Voted up & useful. Sounds like fun

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors

      These are excellent tips for a well-organized yard sale. Now when are you going to come over and do mine? ;)

    • KristaMcDonald profile image

      KristaMcDonald 6 years ago

      Best wishes with your garage sale! Mine are always either a real hit or a bust. Either way, I get a lot of decluttering done!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very sweet to share your wonderful tips. Good Luck in all your future Garage sales. GBY.

    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 6 years ago

      Why do we accumulate so much junk?! Glad to know I'm not the only one. Good luck with your garage sale in the spring! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

      Great garage sale promoting tips, got me thinking as I am already starting to have cabin fever, and going through all my junk. I have decided many things just have to go. I should wait until spring and try making a few bucks and put together a garage sale.