Let’s Have a Garage Sale!

Garage sale, yard sale, tag sale, estate sale, basement sale, house sale, porch sale.

Whatever you call it, they’re fun to have and, better yet, they have the potential to add substantially to your personal bottom line.

 However, as with anything that’s worth having, there are a few steps and guidelines you should follow to give your sale the best possible chance for worthwhile success. Here are some of the most popular suggestions from garage sale experts, both buyers and sellers alike.

Before the Sale

  • Find out if your area requires a permit or has any restrictions regarding garage sales.
  • When choosing items to sell, a good rule to follow is sell anything you have not used for a while, or that you don’t foresee ever using again.
  • Pick your sale dates. The most popular days are Thursday through Saturday on a non-holiday weekend.
  • Place a short ad in your local newspaper. This will attract people who wouldn’t normally see your street signs.
  • Invite a neighbor or friend to join in your sale, the more stuff you have to sell, the better! Plus, it’s cheaper to split the cost of the newspaper ad with someone.
  • Price everything! Prices should generally be 10-50% of the original price of the item, depending on condition and desirability.
  • For pricing, use permanent markers and removable self-adhesive labels.
  • Price items in increments of 25 cents for easy change-making.
  • Anything damaged or not in working order should be marked “as is”.
  • Make signs to post on your front lawn and permissible street corners.
  • Signs should be big enough to read while driving by – at least 24″ by 24″ – with short, large text.
  • Balloons and large arrows are also helpful to direct customers to your sale.

Setting Up Your Selling Space

  • Sweep and tidy the area and/or make sure your grass has been freshly mowed.
  • Wash dirty items. People will pay more for something that is clean.
  • Display your treasures in like categories, i.e.; kitchen stuff on one table; toys in one corner; music and videos in one box, etc.
  • Keep smaller, more expensive items close by so you can keep your eye on them.
  • If you are selling electrical appliances, have an outlet or long extension cord handy.
  • Arrange tables and items so that traffic will flow naturally without bottlenecks.
  • Make sure any items you don’t want to sell are put away or out of sight.

The Big Day!

  • Have lots of coins and small bills available to make change at least $20 worth.
  • Don’t leave your money unattended, better yet, wear a fanny pack or carpenter’s apron to keep it with you.
  • Only accept cash, unless you’re willing to risk getting a bad check.
  • Have plenty of bags and boxes available, plus old newspapers for packing breakables.
  • Be prepared for buyers who want to bargain. If it’s early in the morning, or you don’t want to bargain, just say you think it’s worth that price, or that you may lower the price later in the day if it doesn’t sell.
  • Don’t allow strangers into your house unless, of course, it’s an inside sale.
  • To avoid any hassles later on, post a sign that says “All Sales Final”.
  • Have pleasant music playing softly in the background.
  • Smile, sell and enjoy!

After the Sale

  • Consider donating unsold items to charity. Some will even make pick ups.

This Stuff Sells!

  • Toys
  • Infant’s & Children’s Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Small Appliances
  • Decorative
  • Knick-Knacks
  • Kitchen
  • Gadgets
  • Antiques & Collectibles
  • Sporting & Camping Gear
  • Books & Comic Books
  • Music & Movies
  • Dinnerware & Cookware
  • Workshop & Garden Tools

Josh Domke is a Marine Corps veteran who works as a full-time REALTOR® with Real Living/Real Estate Professionals and co-owns Domke & Buick Construction with his long time friend Judd Buick. He, his wife Kat and their son Austin are proud to call Redding their home. (Josh is also Doni’s son.) This article was originally adapted from a Real Living newletter.

Josh Domke is a Marine Corps veteran who works as a full-time REALTOR® with Real Living/Real Estate Professionals and co-owns Domke & Buick Construction with his long time friend Judd Buick. He, his wife Kat and their son Austin are proud to call Redding their home. (Josh is also Doni's son.)
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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Biff says:

    One glaring mistake; "Permitted corners…" don't exist in Redding. Attaching cardboard to a telephone pole is not allowed. You CAN have a small sign at the site, but it is illegal to post signs in the public right-of-way. They are a visual blight that (even better) any citizen is free to remove without notice or responsibility to return the sign.

  2. Avatar rmv says:

    Thanks Josh!! 🙂

    We have been there & done that. They are fun. (& a lot of work)! 🙂

    God Bless America (and her children)! 🙂

  3. Avatar Canda says:

    Good tips, Josh. I really like it when entire neighborhoods have a big yard sales, as in the Garden Tract, Wooded Acres, and Lake California. So much fun to look at other peoples' stuff, and such a great place to find toys for the grandkids!

  4. Avatar Bethany Chamberlain says:

    Good tips, Josh. Having recently joined a few friends for a spring-cleaning garage sale, I would like to add to your marketing suggestions a listing on Craig's List. It costs nothing and really draws. Unfortunately, there are those who come to garage sales with the goal of stealing rather than purchasing our treasures (I lost at least one big-ticket item this way). My big(gest) mistake: putting something of greater value on the periphery of our sale, rather than right under our collective noses where we could keep our eyes on it. Some of these garage sale bandits work in teams, too…so seller be alert and beware!

  5. Avatar Barbara N. says:

    It's a sad day when you have to worry about thieves stealing, especially in teams, at a yard sale. Good advice Josh, and hope everyone who hosts a yard sale has a good experience. For the seekers, you just never know what you might find!!