How We Made $ in One Weekend (AKA: My Awesome Yard Sale Tips!)
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Last weekend, my sister, my parents, and I held a two-day yard sale. It was a ton of work getting ready for it, but, in the end, it was totally worth all the sorting, pricing, and organizing, because we collectively made $ over the course of 10 hours (on two different days). We had almost nothing left at the end of the sale, and we all managed to clear a whole bunch of junk out of our houses. It was a raging success!
I lost count of how many people came up to us at the yard sale and told us it was one of the best yard sales theyd ever been to. People were raving over our signs, our organization, and our items. We worked SO hard to make sure everything went smoothly, and since it did, I thought Id pass along some of our wisdom. There are a lot of great sources for yard sale tips out there, so make sure to do some Googling before your sale to get ideas from all over the internet! Here are mine:
Gather Your Items
Chances are, there are two reasons you want to have a yard sale: to make some extra pocket change and to get rid of clutter! Sorting through all your items can be the most intimidating part of the process—it certainly was for me. I just took it room-by-room, and sorted things into three piles—donate, sell, and keep (oh, and sometimes a trash/recycle pile, but there wasnt a whole lot of that). When I was finished with a room, I went through the sell pile, priced everything (more on that in a sec), and packed it up in a box. Once the box was full, I closed it, and stashed it in the corner of our office. It took a few weeks to get through the entire house, but it was a nice spring cleaning/KonMari/yard sale hybrid.
Price Everything and Price As You Go
You might be tempted to not price things (so much easier!), and just let people come up and ask about the price for items—but trust me, from an introverts perspective, thats a really terrible idea. If I went to a yard sale, and there were no prices on things, I would turn around and leave, because the thought of asking a price or haggling for every single item I wanted would just be too stressful. Even if you are an extrovert and think it is silly that someone wont ask for a price, trust me, it isnt silly, and you are missing out on sales by not pricing. Price things. Youll make it easier for you on yard sale day and easier for your customers, too.
As far as how to price, I priced as I sorted—which made it super easy on yard sale day. We also decided on 25¢ increments for our pricing. That way, we only had to have quarters as change. When it came to setting prices, I was of the mindset that all of this stuff would have been donated to charity anyway, so if I made anything off of it, Id be happy. I priced things a little higher for haggle room, but mostly, I had rock bottom prices.
Think Outside the Yard
There will be some things that end up in your sell pile that arent a great fit to sell at a yard sale—expensive jewelry, brand new designer clothing, nice DVD box sets, etc. No problem, just think outside the yard! Extend your yard sale online to websites like eBay, Half.com, and Craigs List. We sold an additional $ worth of items before the yard sale even started (thats for a total of $ if youre keeping score)!
Most of those were books and DVDs. We set a price line for our books and DVDs at the yard sale—$1 for books, $2 for DVDs—and anything we could get more for that on Half.com, we posted for sale there. I priced them way lower than any of the other sellers, just because I wanted to get rid of them! It was a win-win because of the low prices, my items sold fast, but they also sold for more than what we could get for at the yard sale.
Location! Location! Location!
I live on a rural country road. My driveway is on a blind curve at the top of a steep hill. Ideal yard sale location? Not so much. My sister, on the other hand, lives in a high-trafficked residential neighborhood in the heart of the biggest city in our state. BINGO. Your yard sale location is absolutely everything. It is so important that we actually hauled all of our stuff up the 2 1/2 hours to my sisters house to sell it in her front yard (it actually worked out because we were going to be there for family events anyway).
Think Multiple Families
Heres a little secret for you: we marketed our yard sale as a three family yard sale, because it was, but the third family (my parents) didnt contribute more than a few boxes. The most important thing about their contribution was the ability to market ourselves as a three family sale! Partner up with another family or two to help share the work load, but also to help with your marketing.
As far as logistics, our method of tracking worked really well—each family had a different color pricing sticker. When someone checked out, we just jotted down how much each family earned from the sale on a little sheet. At the end of the day, we totaled it all up. It was easy and painless.
Dont Bring Everything
This might sound crazy, but dont bring everything to the yard sale. Let me paint a picture of why: say youre rushing to get to work on a Friday morning, you drive past a yard sale in your neighborhood and you see three racks of womens clothes packed full. You think, Gee, itd be nice to look through those, but I dont have the time. and drive right on by. Down the street, someone else is having a yard sale, they are only selling 10 really nice womens outfits that are out and displayed so you can see what they are from the street. You see one outfit hanging up that you just HAVE to have. You stop in, buy it, and are back on your way to work in less than two minutes.
There is such a thing as yard sale fatigue! Dont overwhelm people—especially with items that are hard to move like adult clothing and books. Pick out some of your highest quality and nicest items, mark them up higher, and sell those—donate the rest. Chances are, if you pick out 10 outfits and display them nicely, youll be able to sell them for $5-$10 each (and sell all of them!), but if you have rack after rack of clothes, youll be lucky if anyone even flips through them for a quarter. Same is true with books! Books were the one place we actually really struggled with during the sale, we had WAY too many books for people to go through, and ending up barely selling any. At the end of the sale, I priced them $1 for a box of 25 books just so I wouldnt have to haul them to Goodwill!
Ive heard that adult clothes dont typically do well at yard sales, but between our three families, we had maybe a total of adult clothing pieces that we displayed, and they almost all sold! They were well-labeled, easy to see, and people gobbled them up—even at premium yard sale prices.
If you really want to sell lots of items like clothes or books, think about having a multiple day yard sale and only putting half your items out the second day. That way, you can also list on your advertisements that there are new items on the second day!
Craigslist is Your Friend
There are a lot of online places to post your yard sale (just Google your town + yard sale, and youll see a dozen or so websites), and I recommend posting to as many as you can, but Craigslist is probably going to be your bread and butter.
We had so many people tell us they found us on Craigslist! Here are my Craigslist tips:
- Include photos of your big sellers—put your big items up we had a woman come right when we opened on the first day and buy 75% of my big baby gear (all had been listed on CL).
- Include your address/map—if this worries you too much, you can put a map to a cross street and say something like follow the pink signs.
- Post multiple times—we posted a few days before the sale, and then on each sale day (youll have to delete your old ads before you can post new ones).
- Post early in the morning—on your yard sale dates, expert yard salers will be checking the CL listings at 5am with their cup of coffee, so get up and get your ads to the top of the listings.
- On the last day, push it!—list what goodies you have left, tell people you are slashing prices, and make it sound like they should still make the trek out.
Watch the Weather
Around here, prime yard sale time also happens to be prime severe thunderstorm time, so we knew scheduling a yard sale for the middle of May would mean keeping a close eye on the weather. Originally, our plan was to have a full-day yard sale on Saturday—but a week before, the weather was calling for an 80% chance of rain all day, so we ended up changing it to be two half days (Friday and Saturday). It was such a good move!
Not only did having the yard sale on the two different days help us avoid the afternoon heat and thunderstorms (on the last day, literally, I felt raindrops as I closed my car with the last charity box packed in), but it also helped us hit two different clientele. On the first day, we had more hard-core yard sale fans, and on the second day, lots of families and normal shoppers. We also loved that we were done for the day by early afternoon on each day.
Awesome Signs: Your #1 Marketing Strategy
Yes, some people will find you on Craigslist, but most people will find your sale by driving by one of your signs. Signs are your #1 marketing tool—they should be your tippy top priority! If you just jot down the details on a piece of paper and staple it to a pole the morning of your sale, your sale will fail. Good signs are three things:
- Highly-visible (please dont write on cardboard with pencil)
- Prevalent (blanket the area—every intersection within a radius of the sale)
- Simple (Yard Sale, arrow, address, a few other pertinent details)
It might be annoying to make and hang dozens of signs, but it is vital to your yard sales success. There are a million different ways to make yard sale signs, but ours ended up working pretty well (and even made it through a rain storm at night). I designed my signs in Adobe Illustrator, and then printed them on hot pink paper on my laser printer. I then taped the signs to pieces of foam core—you can get big sheets for $1 each at the Dollar Tree—and then laminated the whole thing with wide packing tape to the keep the rain out. If the forecast didnt call for rain, I would have skipped this step.
I made 12 large signs (20 x 30) for the main thoroughfares surrounding the sale, and about 40 small signs (15 x 20) for the smaller side streets. Each intersection had at least two signs, and I placed them at every big and little intersection within a three block radius of the yard sale location.
It sounds really expensive, but it works out to be less than $1 per sign. Thats about the price of a decent-sized classified ad in the local newspaper—and trust me, its more important to put your money in the signs! And if youre splitting that cost with other families? Its nothing!
As far as hanging signs, there were three different ways we went about it. For wooden telephone poles, we used a staple gun with long staples (easy peasy!). For corners with street signs, we taped the signs on using packing tape. And for corners without anything to attach to, we stapled 1 x 1 stakes in the back of the signs, and then hammered them into the ground using a rubber mallet.
We hung the signs about an hour before the sale on Friday morning—Craig and I just walked around the neighborhood and put a sign on pretty much every street corner within a three block radius. Our yard sale was just off the main thoroughfare, so we were lucky there. If the place you are having your sale is a little more secluded, you might want to plaster with even more signs.
On the second day, I did a quick drive around to check the signs. Some were knocked down by the previous nights thunderstorm and some were missing (I saved a few signs to replace on the second day). Once the sale was over, I asked my awesome teenage niece to drive around to take the signs down for us. PLEASE take your signs down!
Brand Your Sale
This is related to your signs, but also goes beyond just whats on each street corner—you are going to want to brand your sale. Chances are, youll have tons of competition no matter what weekend you choose to have your yard sale (although, I suppose probably not in January), and branding yourself will help differentiate your sale. Use the same colors on your signs. Use the same fonts. Have the same layout for your displays. Make it to where it is easy to find your sale!
Accept Credit Cards
If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can accept credit and debit cards! And you should because it is (a) so much easier than dealing with cash and (b) such a great way to get people to spend more money. I lost count of how many times I had this conversation:
Customer: You have such great stuff! I wish I had more than this $10 bill.
Me: Well, we accept debit and credit cards, if you want to keep shopping!
Customer: REALLY!? Yes! Ill keep looking
*Customer comes back 15 minutes later with $ of stuff*
We used the Square reader, which Square will send to you for free (they do charge a % per swipe fee—we ended up having less than $10 in fees for the whole sale). You download the app to your phone and then swipe their card—they sign, and done! SO much easier than counting out change.
I love yard sales, but almost never have cash on me, so I almost never stop at a sale. We marketed the heck out of the fact that we take credit and debit cards (it was on all of our signs and in all of our ads), and we had lots of people use cards and say the only reason they stopped was because we accepted credit cards.
We had so many people come up and tell us that our sale was so organized. They kept saying how it was a pleasure to walk around and shop. Thats what you want to hear! You want to keep people looking around! We used as many shelves and tables as we could, and grouped things by category. When we ran out of tables, we improvised and put out large boxes to display items.
Not only do you want to organize like items together, but you also want to organize the whole sale well. Make sure to leave lots of open space around areas where people will linger (looking through books, flipping through clothes, etc.). Put a wide variety of items up front to draw all kinds of people in (we had antique tools, Christmas decorations, and baby gear all up front). Merchandise your sale!
Have a Plan for Stuff That Doesnt Sell
Were very fortunate that we almost sold out, but even if you do as well as we did, you will have stuff leftover. You should decide early on what your strategy for stuff that wont sell is. Do you want to try to sell stuff elsewhere? Donate it? Give it to friends? Keep it? My strategy—nothing comes back in the house.
At the end of the sale, I was marking down things to insane prices just to get rid of it ($1 for a box of books, $5 for a box of DVDs), mostly because I didnt want to move it again! At the end of the sale, there were a few young families that came up that I was giving away baby stuff to.
The stuff that I knew I could get a few more bucks for elsewhere (barely used baby gear, mostly), I packed up in my car and took directly to a childrens resale shop once the sale was over—and made an additional $45 (thats up to $—boom!). And everything else was packed up on the second day of the yard sale and taken directly to be donated. Nothing came back in the house. And I dont regret for a second getting rid of any of it.
What Id Do Differently
If I were have a yard sale tomorrow, there are a few things Id do differently. Learn from my mistakes!
Fewer books. I already mentioned this, but Id sell a lot fewer books. We probably had books total, and people really didnt enjoy flipping through each one. Instead, Id pick out a handful of the prime books that I know would sell, mark them up a little bit, and put those out instead. Other things that didnt sell well: small kitchen appliances (go figure), DVDs (even at $1 a piece!), furniture, Christmas decorations.
Bring more bags. We always use our reusable grocery bags when we go shopping and rarely have any extra plastic bags around, but people really wanted bags for their purchases. We ended up giving people boxes, but if I were to do it again, Id stop using my grocery bags for a few months before the sale and stock up on plastic bags.
Put signs up the night before. Putting up the signs the first morning of the yard sale was stressful! I allotted 90 minutes to do it, and it took all of that time—which left my sister to be the only one setting up the sale. We didnt even have everything set out until over an hour after the yard sale started. If I did it again, Id put the signs out the night before, and leave yard sale morning to set up.
Fewer baby clothes. We were very fortunate to get a lot of baby clothes as hand-me-downs, and after two or three rounds of babies, most of the clothes werent in good enough shape to give to my friends who are having babies, but not bad enough to be trashed either. I thought maybe I could sell them for cheap, but they just didnt perform well. Im not too crushed about it, because Im happy I got to donate the majority of Junipers clothes to charity to help out some other families—but I think I will just skip putting baby clothes out at all next time. Maybe just do what I did with the adult clothes and pick out a few high-quality outfits to display and donate the rest.
Overall, Im so happy we decided to take on doing a yard sale. Would I want to do one next month? Heck no. Maybe not even next year! But I think having one every few years would be a great catalyst to clear out my closet and make a few extra dollars. If you are on the fence if you should hold a sale or not, I highly recommend doing it! Im over-the-moon about how much cash we brought it—just from junk!
Update: Another (Totally Different) Yard Sale Four Years Later
Using these tips, we had another yard sale four years after the original post, and ending up making $ in a one-day six hour sale! Not too shabby. This particular yard sale was a community yard sale, so we learned a few things that worked different in that environment. Let me share what we learned this go round:
Know your audience: Our original yard sale was held in a high-end neighborhood in a major city. Our second yard sale was a community yard sale in a small town surrounded by a rural area. The difference between what sold in each place was mind-boggling! At our city yard sale, housewares and appliances were flying off the table. We barely sold a single housewares item at the rural yard sale. We couldnt sell second-hand books or clothes at the urban yard sale, but at the rural yard sale, they were quick to go. High end brands definitely didnt fetch the premium price at the rural yard sale like they did at the urban yard sale. Overall, at the urban yard sale, it felt like people were doing more shopping for one-of-a-kind and unique items, at the rural yard sale, people were looking to find a good deal on everyday items.
The benefits of a community yard sale: no need to advertise or put out signs, lots more people make the trek, and even if you just have a small amount of stuff to sell, you can join in and have a good turnout. Not having to do any advertising or signage was a HUGE selling point for us!
The negatives of a community yard sale: some places charge a booth rental fee (ours was $15, which we made up with the first sale at am!), and, of course, there will be competition—so thatll naturally drive the prices down. Since our goal with our yard sales is more decluttering than money making (although the money is nice), were fine with marking stuff down so it sells fast.
Electronic payments make everyones life easier! I said this above, but I want to reiterate: make sure you have a way to accept electronic payments, either through a Square or other card reader like mentioned above, or through a digital payment service like Venmo (or both). Make sure to have lots of signs telling everyone what types of payments you accept. There were lots of sales (especially of furniture) that were MADE by the fact that we accepted debit cards.
Bundle, bundle, bundle! Get a bunch of different size clear bags and bundle items. We bundled grab bag toys together, PJ sets, holiday decorations. People are way more likely to buy a bundle of stuff for a $1 than a single item for $—it feels like a deal!
Hand-writing versus printing signs and price stickers: In our first yard sale, we did a lot of printed signs and stickers, and it worked out well—we wanted people to feel like it was a high end yard sale (if thats even a thing). With our more rural yard sale, we were concerned people would be less likely to buy if we used pre-printed stuff. As a girl who has spent her entire life in rural Indiana, I can tell you there is an inherent mistrust here for fancy things—and, as silly as it sounds, printed yard sale signs and stickers might be bordering on fancy. There is no way of knowing if this assumption is true, but we did go with almost entirely hand-written signs and stickers to give it a more backyard feel, and it seemed to workout well. Just a hunch! I mentioned that part of a good yard sale strategy is branding your sale properly—and I think that really is true. You want people to be able to take one look at your yard sale and say this is for me!. Im not saying you have to go overboard and conduct focus groups here, but just think about who your audience is and what they would want to see in a sale—and go from there.
Alright, I think that covers the new stuff we learned at this sale! I was super excited with how much we made (it was WAY more than we expected), and Im even more happy that my basement is empty.
21 Proven Garage Sale Tips for a Smashing Success
Hosting a garage sale can be an effective way to turn rarely used items around the house into extra cash for a big splurge, paying off bills, or donating to a good cause. But a successful sale takes lots of planning, prep, and execution. Before you post any signs, use these garage sale tips to make the most cash possible from all your hard work. We turned to Tanisha Porter, a professional organizer and owner of Natural Born Organizers in Los Angeles, and Shannon Quimby, a Portland, Oregon-based garage sale expert and designer, to learn the best strategies for a successful garage sale.
1. Have a goal for your garage sale.
"The first thing people want to think about is the why," Porter says. "You need to know if you are holding it to recoup money, to generate income, or to pay it forward and make sure the items you are selling are going to a new family to live on again." Knowing why you are doing a garage sale can help you stay focused and motivated.
For Quimby, the original purpose for her annual garage sale was to give her DIY makeovers and extra materials a new home.But the simple sale eventually turned into a years-running epic event that she holds each summer with several friends. "We all make money, which ultimately makes a bigger and better sale. It's a win-win," Quimby says. "We also get to let go of stuff, make some moolah, and have less clutter at home. I use the money I make to go toward our vacation."
Related:How Much Is Clutter Costing You? Save Money with These Helpful Organizing Tips
2. Check out the competition.
Take the time to walk through other local sales before you hold your own to gather intel on what works, what doesn't, and how to price to sell. Go online and click through your community's message boards or newsletter, as well as online apps such as Nextdoor, to note the words and descriptions that grabbed your attention and made you want to check out a sale.
3. Pick a garage sale date.
Fridays and Saturdays are generally the best days for a garage sale. Consider holding one the first weekend of the month when many people get paid and have more discretionary cash. Set the date at least a month out to allow time to gather and price sale items.
4. Start collecting items.
Sort garage sale items into categories, such as kids' gear, kitchen wares, linens, and workout gear. This will help simplify your setup. If your sale is so successful it becomes an annual event like Quimby's, you can collect goods all year to sell. "I make it a goal to put one thing toward the sale every dayeven if it's just a pair of earrings," she says.
5. Price as you gather items.
Don't plan on pricing the night before the sale. You'll be too stressed and tired to make good choices. Instead, price items as you gather them. "Pricing takes forever. And you want to price ahead of your sale; otherwise, you'll lose money if people come and you don't know what you want for an item," Quimby says.
Porter also recommends thinking like your customers. "People who are coming to a garage sale want to bargain hunt," Porter says. "They're expecting everything to be at a deep discount. It may be brand new and still have the original tag on it, but since you're selling it out of your garage or on your lawn, people expect a bargain."
6. Use inexpensive tags.
Minimize expenses by choosing low-cost tags. Pick up stickers from a discount store or use masking tape and a permanent marker. To make your own tie-on versions, tear up brown paper bags into tag-size pieces and punch holes in them for stringing.
7. Write up a pricing sheet for clothes.
Put together a clothing price sheet so you don't have to price each piece separately. Quimby's typical prices range from 25 cents for socks to $7 for coats, "because clothing has got to be priced cheap," she says. Place price sheets in clear sheet protectors, and post several around the clothing. You can also tape a price sheet next to the cash-out area for easy reference.
8. Advertise your garage sale strategically.
Start posting online ads, hanging flyers, and telling everyone you know in person and on your social media pages a few days before your sale. Call it something catchy but simple, such as "Shannon's Huge Sale!" or "Friends' Ultimate Group Sale!" so your sale stands out. If you have sought-after items such as kids' toys or clothes, specialty tools, craft supplies, or collectibles, make sure to note that in the ad. Always include your full address, days of the sale, and times. For online sites, request that your sale notice posts a day or two ahead of the sale and stays up through the last day. Promote your forms of payment in ads (and on the day of the sale), especially if you'll accept credit cards and online payments like Venmo.
Quimby never pays to advertise her sale since there are so many free online options. Here are some of her favorites:
Post physical garage sale signs.
Hang easy-to-read, weather-proof signs within a mile of your house with heavy-duty tape, or use the existing nails on wood poles (where allowed). Quimby writes the days, times, and address with chunky markers for easy-to-read signs that can be reused for the next sale. "All your signs must look the same so people know it's for the same garage sale, and they must be readable from afar, even if you handwrite it," she says.
Hang the signs high at both ends of your street and at nearby busy intersections where a driver can easily read them. Drive past them to verify their readability. Some communities have regulations about how and where you can post signs, so research this before you start. On the day before your sale, you can also use sidewalk chalk to draw arrows pointing to your house with words like "Sale!" and "This Way!" Quimby says this entices neighbors to check out your sale because they'll feel like they're part of a scavenger hunt.
Have all the essentials ready.
The week before your sale, gather necessities and stash them together. Arrange to borrow lots of tables, including one for the cash-out area. "Call your friends, your neighbors, your parents, your cousinsanyone you can think of who will let you borrow one," Porter says. Stock a cash box (this can be an old toolbox or crafting box as long as it's sturdy and has shelves or dividers to separate bills) with a variety of bills for change. Have an extension cord, lightbulbs, and batteries on hand so people can test if items work. Here are some other items Quimby suggests:
- Clear, zip sandwich bags
- Cooler for drinks
- Hand sanitizer placed in multiple spots and at checkout
- Paper clips
- Plastic grocery bags
- Receipt book
- Safety pins
- Sold tags and "I Live Here" tags to mark items that are not for sale
- Tape measure
- Tarps and umbrellas
- Treats and drinks
Prepare digital tools if needed.
Buy an inexpensive credit card reader, such as Square, and download online apps like Venmo so you can accept credit card or online transfer payments. Quimby says you might have to pay a processing fee if you accept cards, but usually the increase in sales more than makes up for it. Be sure to have a working hot spot, especially if your Wi-Fi can get iffy. Download an app like Tally Sheet to record sales, which can be especially helpful for group sales.
Set up the day before.
Give yourself a day ahead of the sale to set up. If items will be kept outside overnight, cover them with large tarps or old sheets to keep them protected. Porter recommends setting up your sale like it's a fun shopping experience. Put your borrowed tables to work so everything is easy to see and no one has to bend over to look at something. Use books or sturdy shallow boxes as risers on tables to create a change in height and add more focal points.
Quimby sets up different "rooms," placing all the kitchen or living room items together, for example. Within the zones, arrange coordinated vignettes like you would see in a shop's display window. Helping people see the items inspires them to buy more. You can also designate a kids' section. This is the one place you want to put things down low so they're at kid height. "You want the kids to play with the toys because if the kids are active and playing, the parents get to shop longer," Quimby says.
Make sure everything is in good condition.
All sale items should be clean, unwrinkled, and in good condition. Pump tires and balls up with air, and install working batteries in anything that needs them. Throughout the day, have a helper go through and fluff or fold clothing, put together new outfits, and rearrange pieces on tables. Quimby says people might even come back the second day to see what's new or what they missed and buy more.
Arrange clothing thoughtfully.
Hang clothes so they're easy to see. You can string a clothing line between trees or poles, hang clothes on a fence, or, if you have one, bring out a clothing rack. Take the time to display clothes in complete outfitsthey're more likely to sell. You can also group items like T-shirts or shorts into sets of three to five and label with their size. If you have items like handbags, dress coats, suits, or sports gear that can fetch higher prices, separate them into their own area and clearly identify them as specialty items.
Showcase jewelry and eyewear.
Set up an area for small items like jewelry, sunglasses, and readers next to the cash-out table. Pin jewelry on a cork bulletin board or use hooks to hang pieces on a window screen. Organize by style so more formal or kid-friendly pieces are grouped together. Always keep earrings together.
Group linens in sets.
Bundle sheets with pillowcases in sets and label with their size (twin, queen, etc.). Group napkins together and lay them beside tablecloths so people can easily pair things up. Combine towels into sets that include a washcloth, hand towel, and bath towel. Wrap all bundles neatly together using twine or string.
Sell drinks and individually packaged treats at checkout.
Stock coolers or buckets full of ice to sell drinks at the checkout. Small baked goods can also be an easy way to boost profits. "Our friend had a baking business, so she brought individually wrapped cookies and sold them for $1 apiece. Each day she sold out in an hour and a half," Quimby says.
Be prepared for negotiations.
Use your intel from the competition to help you price items fairly, but be prepared for shoppers to negotiate. Before the sale, determine the lowest price you're willing to accept, Porter says. Quimby starts with a fair price and doesn't barter on the first day of her sale (or with any early-birds), but she will negotiate on subsequent days to keep things moving.
Think twice about allowing holds.
Holds just create hassle, Quimby says. "I learned from experience that most people don't come back, and if they really want it, they'll usually buy it once they know they can't put it on hold." For people who buy something but need to fetch a vehicle to pick it up, you can pleasantly remind them what time the sale ends and that everything leftover will be part of a donation pickup. That way, they are incentivized to return by the end of the sale.
Plan for an after-sale pickup.
Set up a donation pickup at the end of your sale to get rid of anything that remains. "Nothing that went into the sale should go back into your house," Porter says. Some charities require a month's notice to schedule one, so plan ahead. At closing time, let people keep shopping but start moving items to the designated pickup area so you can wrap things up. Also, set up times for you to return borrowed tables.
Looking for some easy ways to make extra money? (Who isn’t?) Maybe you’re trying to ramp up your speed toward that Debt-Free Scream. Or maybe you just want to replace that old nasty couch that’s been Febreezed one too many times.
No matter your reason, one of the tried and true ways to make some quick cash is by having a garage sale. And believe us: There’s nothing better than a garage sale—for the seller and the buyer. You’ve got a well-loved kitchen table that needs to go? There’s someone in the market for that. You’re finally ready to part with those clothes you’ve never worn? Yep—somebody will probably want those too.
If you’re a newbie to the yard sale game, don’t worry. We’ve got all the garage sale tips to help you get organized, price your stuff fairly, and end the day with a handful of cash.
5 Tips for Getting Garage-Sale Ready
If your house looks like it’s been on an episode of Hoarders, it’s well past time to have a garage sale. And now that you’ve made the decision, it’s time to get ready for the big day:
1. Clean out your closet.
Sounds simple, but it has to be said. You know that closet in the hallway that you avoid? Yup—the one that you open very slowly in fear that something might fall on you? Yeah . . . it’s time to clean it out. And we mean deep clean. What’s even in there? Decorations from your wedding? Old gifts that you never used or regifted? Clothing that doesn’t fit anymore? Clean it out. And while you’re at it, dig through your garage, basement, attic, other closets, cabinets and under all the beds.
Dave's easiest money-saving tip: See if you're over paying for car insurance.
If you don’t use it or wear it often (or you forgot it even existed), it probably needs to go. And if you need some extra motivation, remember Marie Kondo’s sage advice: If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it! Not only will you be able to take inventory of what you have, you’ll gain extra space in the process. Decluttering never felt so good!
2. Start sorting.
Having a garage sale can be a daunting task, so go ahead and do the major work ahead of time. As you’re unearthing all of those tennis rackets, clothes and old board games, sort them into three basic categories: Keep, Sell and Trash.
Don’t worry about pricing anything right now—just focus on sorting and getting organized. Your main goal here is to get rid of the junk and find a permanent home for the stuff you’re going to keep. Once your piles are made, pull out all of the items you sorted to sell.
3. Get used to the idea.
If you’re not too thrilled about the idea of strangers stopping by your front yard (or if you want to split some of the workload), team up with another family on your block or check with your neighborhood association to see if a community sale is coming up.
4. Set a date.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings are usually the best time to hold your garage sale. Here’s an insider garage sale tip: Consider scheduling it on the first weekend of the month—a lot of paychecks go out at the end of the month, so people will have cash to spend.
The earlier the start, the cooler the temperature will be. You might even have more people show up because they’ll get their shopping out of the way early! And don’t forget to check the forecast before you hang up signs around the neighborhood. Rainy days keep the buyers away!
5. Stock up on supplies.
You can buy simple pricing stickers and blank labels at the dollar store or any office supply store. Or if you’re wanting to be really budget friendly, just pick up a permanent marker and masking tape and get to pricing your items. You’ll need to have a table and chairs so you can have a designated area to cash people out (and stay comfortable) on garage sale day.
And you’re going to need some space to show off all the one-of-a-kind items you’re selling. You can set out tables, blankets, boxes and storage containers or even lay a board over two sturdy boxes. Whatever you do, make sure breakable items are supported on a stable surface.
How to Set Garage Sale Prices
When it comes to pricing, you’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. What would you pay for that item at a similar garage sale? What would be too much? What would be so cheap you felt like you stole it? Here are some garage sale tips for pricing all that good stuff you just cleaned out of your house:
1. Name your price.
Want to know one of the top garage sale tips to remember when pricing? Don’t be sentimental about your stuff and overprice it in the process. If you need an objective opinion, ask a friend to come over and tell you what they would reasonably pay for the item. And if they wouldn’t pay a dime for it . . . maybe go ahead and chuck that in the donation bin.
But for everything else, you’ll want to do a quick online search to check the current value. Keep it realistic by pricing things a quarter or a third of what they would cost brand new. If you price a sweater you bought for $80 at $50, it’s probably not going to sell. But an $80 sweater (in perfect condition) for $25? Now you’ve got yourself a deal.
If you’re not sure how to price a garage sale item, here are some pricing suggestions to get you started:
- Suggested price: $1 to $3 for gently used/good condition, or less than $1 for well-worn items
- Suggested price: $3 to $5 (more if the item still has tags on it)
- Suggested price: $3 to $7
- Suggested price: $5 to $15
- Suggested price: 50 cents to $2 (but if you think the jewelry is valuable, have it appraised first)
- Suggested price: $1 to $2 for hardcover and 25 to 50 cents for paperback
Blu-ray Discs, DVDs or CDs
- Suggested price: $3 to $5
Toys and Games
- Suggested price: $1 to $3 each
- Suggested price: $3 to $5
- Suggested price: $10 to $30 for low-quality furniture but no more than one-third of the price for high-quality pieces
2. Make prices visible.
Make sure your prices are in plain view by using price tags or stickers. If you don’t have time, at least group similarly priced items together with a sign that breaks down the cost. Or use colored stickers and hang up a chart that specifies the cost by color. For instance, green stickers are 50 cents, blue stickers are $1, and red stickers are $2.
Bigger items call for bigger price tags. Don’t make the buyer search for a tiny sticker on that armoire you’re selling. Make it big, noticeable and attractive to the buyer.
3. Bundle items.
It’s easy to pass up DVDs at $1 a pop. But if you offer them at four for $2, you’re sure to catch someone’s attention. Look around for ways to make a deal. If it’s the end of the day and you really want to move your items, let customers fill up a bag with items for a $5 or $10 flat rate. Remember those grab bags at the store when you were little? That same concept still works as an adult!
4. Don’t hike up your prices and expect to haggle.
Price your items so they’ll sell. Period. Don’t set the starting price high and expect your customers to haggle you down. Many potential buyers will walk away from big prices and never even bother to haggle—and you just lost a potential sale.
How to Advertise Your Garage Sale
Don’t overthink your garage sale marketing too much. (It’s a garage sale after all.) Grab some signs and balloons from the dollar store and draw big arrows letting folks know how to get to your house. Be sure the path is so simple that a first-grader could find it!
If you want to advertise in the local paper, church bulletin or neighborhood Facebook group, go for it. But remember: Keep it simple and don’t stress. If you build it, they will come.
8 Garage Sale Tips for the Big Day
Now that you’ve set a date and priced your stuff, it’s time to sell! Here are some garage sale tips that will make sure you have the best sale you possibly can:
1. Have some change on hand.
You don’t want to lose a sale just because you don’t have some spare George Washingtons floating around (that’s dollar bills, folks). Have enough small bills on hand to make change for your customers.
2. Know how to negotiate/haggle.
Everyone wants a deal (who doesn’t?). That’s why people wake up early on Saturday mornings to buy your castoffs. If the customer wants to negotiate, then let them negotiate, but stick to your guns if the price gets too low. You’re not giving your stuff away! Well—not yet anyway.
3. Make it appealing.
If you really want your stuff to sell, you’ve got to make it look nice. Before you try to sell those things that have been collecting dust, actually clean them off! Fill bicycle tires and basketballs with air. Scrape the mud out of your kid’s old soccer cleats.
If something needs batteries to run, fill it with some half-used batteries (or even new batteries if you want to be nice) so the buyer knows it works. Keep an extension cord handy for buyers to test out appliances that need an outlet. And place a mirror near the clothing and accessories. It might seem silly, but going the extra mile can really be the difference in making a sale and losing one.
4. Position your stuff.
The morning of the sale, get up early and do a little setting up. Make sure whatever you’re selling looks attractive. Put your more interesting items closer to the street so people know you’re selling more than just T-shirts, costume jewelry and old coffee mugs.
For everything else, keep it organized, clearly priced and easy to sort through. Stock your checkout area with plastic grocery bags and newspaper to wrap up fragile items. Those small touches will go a long way!
5. Get your family involved.
If you have a teenager, you know it’s hard to get them excited about most things that happen early on a Saturday morning—let alone a garage sale. So, why not cut them in on the profits? Make a deal with your teen: If they gather up their unwanted items to sell, you’ll let them keep whatever cash they make. Is this just a secret plan to get your teen to clean their room? Absolutely. But they’ll never know.
If you have younger kids, get them involved by letting them man a lemonade stand or bake-sale booth. Who can resist a pint-sized entrepreneur?
6. Be safe.
Okay, this might seem like a strange garage sale tip, but stay with us. Most shoppers are well-meaning people just out looking for a good deal. But the reality is, you’re still letting strangers shop on your front lawn.
It’s a good idea to keep the doors of your house locked during the sale. Don’t let anyone into your house to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Just keep a pitcher of complementary water outside and point them in the direction of the nearest gas station.
Be on guard when it comes to all that cash too. Keep the smaller bills in a cash box or on your body with an apron or fanny pack. If someone makes a purchase with a large bill, it’s best to give it to a family member to take inside for safekeeping.
7. Figure out what to do with unsold items.
If you still have some higher-dollar items left at the end of the day, sell your stuff online! Post something inside your community’s Facebook group, list items on Craigslist or eBay, or share them on apps like Swap, OfferUp and VarageSale. Consider selling clothing on places like Poshmark and thredUP.
Just be sure to always include pictures of your items. People won’t even consider buying your antique floor lamp if your listing doesn’t have a picture. And research similar items before you price yours so you can get an accurate idea of what to ask for.
8. Find a truck.
Everyone has leftover stuff after having a garage sale. You will too. If you’re sick of looking at it and don’t want to haul it all back inside, it’s time to donate. Ask a friend with a truck to help you haul the items to a local thrift store or charity. If you don’t have a friend with a truck, you might even be able to request a pickup on the day of your big sale.
Enjoy Your Garage Sale Profits!
Thanks to these garage sale tips, you’ve now had a successful yard sale from start to finish. And if not . . . you’ve got time to start setting up another garage sale! And remember: The more you’re able to take your time and make sense of your stuff, the easier (and more successful) your garage sale will be.
Now that the hard part’s over, count up your cash, do a victory dance, and put that money where it needs to go. And if you’re not quite sure where to spend it, try out a zero-based budget. Your budget will give each of these dollars a job to do. So, whether you’re working on paying off debt, investing for retirement, or even just saving up for next Christmas, your EveryDollar budget can help you stay organized. Want to try it out? Download the app (free) right here and get to work.
DIY Network Blog: Made + Remade
Hosting a successful (and profitable!) yard sale will be a breeze with these 15 tried and true tips.
If you’d asked me five years ago if I ever thought I’d have a yard sale, I would have laughed in your face and said no with gusto. It seems like everyone I know grew up in one of two camps: those who yard sale, and those who did NOT. I was in the NOT category. As an adult, it wasn’t until I started trying to find vintage furniture to remake that I (very apprehensively) hopped on the yard sale circuit. I’ll admit that I still get overwhelmed, haggling still makes me a little nauseous, and that sometimes, a yard sale that looks promising can be a dud. BUT – I’m a convert.
Going to yard sales vs. having a yard sale? Two totally different beasts. We had a HUGE yard sale last weekend and I’m still recovering. I did some research on tips and tricks, put on my marketing hat to promote the sale, planned out the layout and prepped the heck out of everything we were selling.
In the end, it was COMPLETELY WORTH IT. We made more money than I ever expected, we got rid of a ton of (nice) stuff that was just taking up space, and we learned some valuable tips along the way. And I’m going to share them with you today so your yard sale can be successful beyond all expectation. Are you ready? Here we go:
TIP #1 – Location, location, location: If you don’t live on a well-traveled street, or live in a spot with no parking, maybe it’s time to make a deal with a friend or family member in a better spot. Location is the difference between a home run and a dud, when it comes to yard sale success, so do your best to aim for the best location possible. It’s worth it to check to see if you need a permit from your city for a yard sale, too. Nothing rains on a good sale like getting shut down. Bonus tip: if a friend/family member gives you the go ahead, make it a multi-family yard sale – people tend to go out of their way for two-in-one sales, estate sales, and moving sales.
TIP #2 – Pick the right date: Some experts tell you Sunday sales are the most successful, as most of the population either makes plans for Saturday, or reserves the day for family time or errands. Sunday worked great for us, but we also planned our sale for a three day weekend, so Sunday was sandwiched in the middle. A less common yard sale day of the week? Friday. If you think about it, you could actually make out really well with collectors and retirees by holding a sale on a Friday, and if you have the endurance, hold a Friday/Saturday sale to get as many customers as possible. In terms of the summer season, aim to have your sale before it gets blisteringly hot where you live. Once you set a date, keep an eye on the weather and come up with a contingency plan in case of inclement weather.
TIP #3 – Timing: We heard over and over, “Start early so you don’t miss the early bird buyers.” So, we planned to start at 8am, thinking we were in great shape. Until am rolled around and we had a line of cars parked with several people asking to start shopping early. And once passersby see one person shopping, it’s all over. (Lesson learned – do not be the nice girl who lets that one lady who has to go to work at 8am “just take a peek.”) All of a sudden, we had shoppers ready to haggle, bargain and buy – 45 minutes before we were supposed to start the sale. We scrambled and managed it, but time your sale so that you can catch as many shoppers as possible, without having to scramble. With our unexpectedly early start, our sale went from am to 2pm…. but we also had straggler shoppers until after 3pm.
TIP #4 – Signage: Most of your customers will learn about your sale from your signs, so make them as clear as possible, listing the location, the date and time of the sale, and the hot ticket items to be sold. Make sure you strategize where you’ll post your signs (respecting all city restrictions, of course) so that as many people as possible will see them. Have the signs ready to put out the day or night before helps, too – you’ll get the evening AND early birds making note of where their first stop should be in the morning.
I bought these waterproof corrugated signs from Staples, along with a few Sharpie markers, to make signs we could put out the day before that wouldn’t succumb to rain overnight.
TIP #5 – Advertise: Getting the word out is critical. We posted an ad on Craigslist and had several people mention it specifically as the reason they came to our sale. See if there’s a spot in your local paper where you can post an ad for free. And of course, let ALL of your friends and family know by posting the details of your sale via social media or email.
TIP #6 – PREP: I would say 90% of the success of our sale can be attributed to the thorough, laborious prep work we did. Over the course of two or three weeks, we pulled items to be sold whenever we had a couple free hours, creating a landing spot for all items destined for the sale in a garage bay. A week before the sale, I started organizing, sorting, and pricing. The day before the sale, we grouped everything so that we could move everything out into the driveway/lawn in an organized manner, not a chaotic mess. We created a plan for what was going to go where, how it would be laid out, how many tables, shelves, clothing racks, etc. we needed and gathered them up. Essentially, we prepped for THREE TO FOUR WEEKS. Yes. That’s right. Save yourself the stress and headache – don’t try to throw a yard sale together overnight. You won’t make money and it won’t be worth it.
TIP #7 – Pricing: Speaking of making it worth it, price everything so that it’s a deal, and make sure you put a price tag on everything, to avoid on the spot brain freeze or haggling. The general rule is – new, unused items get priced at 50% of their retail cost, slightly used items = 30% of retail, and used items = 10% of retail. Also, if you’re selling books, CDs, or other small items, try a “Buy 1, Get 1!” or similar package deal. For customers, this feels like a great deal (so they buy more) AND all of that stuff you don’t want anymore goes away. By the end of our sale, I was ready to start giving books away to people just so I wouldn’t have to box them up or move them again, but because we did a package deal, almost all of them sold.
TIP #8 – Enlist Help: Putting on a yard sale is a labor intensive undertaking. If you have friends or family who can help you set up, work the crowd, man the cash “register”, or run other errands, I would highly recommend it. The extra sets of hands will be well worth splurging on pizza, donuts, beer, what have you, to say thank you.
TIP #9 – Stage the Show: We ran out of tables to put small items on, so I got a little creative and pulled out a large tarp and some clean, blank cardboard to make a display on the ground. Guess what? Nothing on the ground sold. NOTHING. The lesson? Get everything up off the ground and onto tables, shelves, and clothing racks. Even if you have to fake a clothing rack with a sawhorse, do it. People browsed the…ahem…WELL-LOVED snowboarding jackets my husband put on a clothing rack far more than the adorable, barely worn baby clothes I had on the cardboard/tarp on the ground. It makes literally no sense – baby clothes are usually a hot ticket item at yard sales. And being a picky perfectionist, these were barely worn, excellent condition, name brand clothes. Next time, that stuff gets a prime spot on a table and we’ll see how it goes.
TIP #10 – Tools, scraps, etc.: We had a steady traffic jam over in the “tool section” where my husband was selling old tools, as well as what amounted to a mini hardware store. He threw all of the boxes of screws, nails, fixtures, etc. that were either unopened or barely used out there and they sold like hot cakes! Even the old tools (that I totally made fun of for being “antique” with their sad old cords) sold out fast. Have old bricks, wood scraps, cement blocks, garden pavers, or bagged mulch that you’re not using? Price it and put it out. You’ll be shocked.
TIP #11 – Put the good stuff in plain view: this is veering into Captain Obvious territory, but here’s where I almost went wrong with my layout. I had a plan in mind so that buyers in our driveway would see a few key, big ticket furniture pieces first… until my husband pointed out that by placing those items where I wanted them, the “drive-by” shoppers wouldn’t have a good view. And we wanted anyone driving by giving our sale the slow roll glance to stop. So we reorganized the layout so that the antique mahogany bedroom suite was front and center, calling out “Yeah, you should stop. This is worth your time,” to everyone who slowed down to take a peek at what we were selling.
TIP # 12 – CASH: Do. Not. Forget. The. Bank. Barely by the skin of our teeth, we remembered to go get plenty of ones, fives, tens and quarters. By the end of the day, we were swimming in ones and fives, but in the early morning, everyone was passing us twenty dollar bills for purchases of $ Eeeesh.
TIP # 13 – Treats: Have kids helping out with your sale? Why not let them get in on the money making lesson by selling homemade cookies, brownies, donuts, muffins, coffee, or lemonade? You’ll be shocked at how much money they make.
TIP #14 – Stow the Little Ones with Family or Friends: Kids helping out with baked goods is one thing, but trying to keep track of a toddler while managing a yard sale is a totally different type of cat herding. Not only are you likely/hopefully going to be in a high traffic location (i.e. close to the road) but there will be strangers roaming around, and people buying the toys that your child might suddenly decide are NOT FOR SALE. If you can, save yourself the stress. Our daughter spent a blissful day with her Nana, unaware that we were unloading her baby toys that we’d been hiding in the basement to the highest bidder. She’ll never know they’re gone, we didn’t have to stress about keeping an eye on her, and we made plenty of money to splurge on some new, age appropriate toys for her. Win-win.
TIP #15 – Let go of expectations, and be ready to do it again next weekend: I thought I had a pretty good idea of what would sell and what would might still be in the driveway at the end of the day. But I was totally shocked. Some of the things I thought would be gone by am didn’t sell and a few things I thought weren’t even worth putting out got snapped up. I was chatting about it with one gentleman who stopped by and after he told me he’s an antiques dealer, he told me that we needed to have another sale again in a week or two, because it’s all about who stops by your sale. There might be an event or activity going on nearby that draws all of the people who you want to buy your baby clothes, your boating equipment, your tools. This self-professed lifelong yard sale pro advised that we give it another try and see if we hit it right the next time.
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Steve & Annette Economides are NY Times Best Selling Authors,
TV Personalities and Frugal Living Experts.
As Americas Cheapest Familyweve always been MoneySmart.
Now were MoneySmartFamily and love Making Frugal FUN!
Steve & Annette Have Been Featured on the Following Media Outlets
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Who are Steve & Annette Economides,
America’s Cheapest Family, and Money Smart Family?
We’ve been called Money Smart Family, “America’s Cheapest Family,” “The Frugals,” “Cheapskates,” “Tightwads,” “Thrift-a-holics,” or one of many other nicknames. Even calling us by our own real last name, Economides, tips people off to our money-saving ways. Economides is Greek and means “Son of the Steward.”
Our Goals and Accomplishments
True, we don’t like to spend a lot of money, but we don’t economize just for the sake of skimping. As Money Smart Family, we have big dreams that we’re working toward together. We are living proof that even in tough economic times, on a lower than average income, it’s possible to:
- Raise financially independent children
- Purchase a home and pay it off in 9 years
- Pay cash for all our cars
- Take fabulous debt-free vacations
- Feed a growing family with a $ monthly grocery budget
- Have fun family recreation or date nights for pennies
- And still have money in our savings account
We Weren’t Born this Way!
Neither of us grew up in homes where our parents taught us about household finances, let alone anything about household budgeting. We arent financial planners or investors. We dont have degrees in finance, accounting or economics.
Our parents were thrifty/ frugal, so we guess that’s where the seeds were first planted for this amazing journey we’ve taken to joyful frugal living.
During the first twelve years of our marriage, we had 5 kids and lived on an average income of $35, During that same time, we were able to pay-off our first home and buy several cars for cash.
Sharing our Message
Fast forward to when we started sharing our message of frugal and fun living on our website. Within 1 year we were invited to appear on Good Morning America where Charlie
Gibson gave us the nickname, “America’s Cheapest Family.” We had no idea that we would be appearing on almost every national TV news show out there, including The Today Show, Dr. Phil, Fox News, Fox and Friends, Inside Edition, Nightline, 20/20 and The Talk. Add to this list magazines such as People, Real Simple, All You, Good Housekeeping, Women’s World, National Enquirer and hundreds of newspapers, plus many international TV, radio, newspaper and magazine outlets in Germany, England, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East have also shared our story. Our message and family have reached across the nation and around the world.
At first, we cringed a little at this new title, but we decided that if being dubbed, “America’s Cheapest Family” gave us a platform to speak to the world about the value of frugal living in a positive way, then we would embrace it. As you can see, we have now transitioned to Money Smart Family because that’s the end game of frugal living . . . it makes people Money Smart.
Making Money Go Further for All Ages
As we’ve shared our message on our website, in our books, through media and speaking appearances and on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, families of every age have responded that they’re finding the same freedom and joy that we have.
Whether you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, or you’re middle aged with teens or living as empty nesters, our website has something for you. Even if you’re a Senior Citizen and living alone on a fixed income we have tips and tricks to help you stretch your dollars further than you ever thought possible.
Financial Freedom No Matter Where you Live!
It doesn’t matter where you live: in rural settings, suburbs or in a big city, we can say with confidence that frugal living and MoneySmartFamily.com will help you find bargains, live better, spend less and become financially free.
Frugal living and household budgeting will benefit you in everything you do and every place that you go!
The 5 Best Garage Sale Apps to Buy and Sell
Local garage sales are the best way to find great deals on useful items. That whole "One man's trash is another man's treasure" idiom is actually true sometimes. But how do you go about finding one in your area if you don't see a physical yard sign advertising it?
Well nowadays, you can actually find online garage sale apps. One app on our list acts as a virtual garage sale, while the others can help you find local in-person sales and even estate sales in your area.
VarageSale helps you connect with local sellers trying to get rid of their "garage sale" items without actually having a garage sale. A lot of items will be listed individually on VarageSale so you can find exactly what you're looking for, connect with the seller, and snag your item.
However, you can find local garage sales as well by simply searching for the term in the app. This will show times and dates of garage sales near you that you can physically show up to and shop at.
And what's unique about VarageSale is that everyone who joins the app goes through a manual review process before they're ever allowed to buy or sell an item. This ensures maximum safety on both the seller's end and the buyer's end.
Download: VarageSale for Android | iOS (Free)
2. CPlus for Craigslist
Craigslist has always been a great way to find garage sales online. While the Craigslist website has always been easy to navigate, it's also been home to a few sketchy or just plain weird postings.
The CPlus app makes Craigslist even easier to use and navigate classified ads. If you want to look for garage sales in only your city, you can; but you can also look for garage sales in multiple cities nearby and then save this search to your home page.
Related: Top Tips for Selling More on eBay
Then, whenever you're feeling the need to hit up a garage sale, you can just open the app and instantly see search results for garage sales or yard sales near you. And if your goal is to set up a virtual garage sale posting, you can easily do that through CPlus too!
Download: CPlus for Craigslist for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
If you live in a housing development, you've surely heard of the Nextdoor app. Nextdoor allows you to connect with your neighbors and find out who's having a garage sale or just selling one or two items.
You can browse through the home page to see what your neighbors are up to or just get right to it and search for garage sales. With each posting, you'll usually find details about what sort of items will be included as well as, of course, the address of the garage sale.
Download: Nextdoor for Android | iOS (Free)
4. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook's Marketplace section is a great way to find garage sales online. Similar to the other apps, all you need to do is search up the term garage sale or yard sale and you'll find a lot of options nearby. Or, if you're looking for a particular item, you can search specifically for that item and not have to go sorting through a ton of garage sale items.
If you do end up meeting someone for a sale of a particular item, make sure you take the proper precautions. Unlike members of VarageSale, Facebook members are not manually reviewed. So be cautious of where you meet someone for an in-person sale and maybe consider taking someone else with you, whether you're buying or selling.
Download: Facebook for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
5. Estate Sales
While estate sales are generally a lot larger than your traditional neighborhood garage sale, it's still a great way to find awesome products at a lower price. And if you've never shopped at an estate sale, you're missing out. It's so easy to find a beautiful piece of furniture or home décor; sometimes even easier than at a traditional yard sale.
You can look at a map view of your area and see all scheduled estate sales. When you click on one, it'll give you a ton of information. You'll often see a picture for every item being sold as well as necessary info like the date, time, and place the estate sale will take place. Some estate sales are even fully online.
Download: Estate Sales for Android | iOS (Free)
Score Some Awesome Online Garage Sale Deals
Now that you know the best ways to find garage sales online in your area, it's time to get out there.
With estate sales, you'll often see pictures of the exact items for sale; if this is more up your alley, try out the Estate Sales app. With a garage sale or yard sale app, you may get a brief description of categories for the sale, but you won't know what's there until you get there. There's always a nice air of mystery when going to garage sales.
And if you need to sell your items, you can host a garage sale yourself and promote it on one of these apps. Or, you can also sell your items online through a few different website.
What do you do with the stuff that's collecting dust in your home? Try these online marketplaces that buy and sell secondhand products of all types.
Read NextAbout The Author
Sarah Chaney is a professional freelance writer for MakeUseOf, Android Authority, and KOINO IT Solutions. She enjoys covering anything Android, video game, or tech related. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her baking something delicious or playing video games.
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How to Have a Successful Garage Sale Ultimate Guide
Its easier than ever to turn unwanted clutter into cold cash. Reliable standbys like Craigslist sales and eBay auctions are now joined by local marketplaces like Nextdoor, social platforms like Facebook Marketplace, and category-specific marketplaces like Sellcell (for electronics) and Kidizen (for baby clothes and kids accessories).
Yet some things never change. When you need to sell lots of individual items quickly, your best move is a decidedly nondigital one: to throw an old-school garage sale. Call it a yard sale or tag sale if you prefer, but the meaning is clear: an everything must go liquidation of the stuff youve accumulated over the years, advertised locally and held on or near your property.
Throwing a garage sale is no easy feat. If you dont plan and execute the event properly, theres a very real chance it will pass more or less unnoticed, leaving you with a bit less cash, a lot less self-respect, and a mountain of unsold inventory to unload.
On the bright side, planning and pulling off a profitable garage sale doesnt require a marketing degree or MBA. Youll earn more and stress less when you follow this straightforward four-step process for garage sale success.
Step 1: Plan Your Sale
Begin planning your garage sale weeks, if not months, before you greet your first customer.
1. Pick a Date
First, you need to choose a time and date for your garage sale. Consider these factors:
- Day of the Week. Saturday, Friday, and Sunday — in that order — are the best garage sale hosting days. (Why Friday over Sunday? Because not everyone goes to work on Friday, especially in the summer, and Sunday is at-home family time for many would-be buyers.)
- Time of Day. Morning is ideal. Many seasoned garage sale pickers are early birds who get out early to beat the crowds and find the best deals. Morning sales beat the heat of the day in summer anyway. Dont be shy about starting your sale at 7am on Saturday morning, assuming its light by then.
- Time of the Month. The first week of the month is best. Many small-business owners, contractors, and solopreneurs receive a disproportionate amount of income around the first of the month as clients pay the past months invoices, so your buyers could be comparatively flush at this time.
- Seasonality. In many parts of the country, garage sale season runs from early spring through early summer. Fall is a good second choice for sellers targeting early holiday shoppers. Whenever you plan it for, avoid scheduling your sale when its likely to be sweltering.
- Competing or Complementary Events. Finally, consider what else is happening when you plan to host your garage sale. You dont want to go up against major competing events, such as your towns high school graduation. You do want to time your sale to coincide with complementary events, such as arts festivals that bring lots of foot traffic to your neighborhood or seasonal yard sale days sanctioned by your local government.
With these considerations in mind, pick a sale date and a backup date (usually the next day) in case of inclement weather.
2. Gather Your Goods
With your date set, its time to identify everything you plan to sell at your sale. Do the following:
Box Up Your Homes Storage Spaces
Grab boxes and go through your attic, basement, garage, closets — anywhere youre likely to find long-forgotten stuff. This is your chance to declutter and downsize your house.
Dont underestimate the value of what you find, as garage sale pickers are apt to buy anything from apparently worthless old CDs to disused bottles of perfume to electronic accessories (like chargers and power strips) that have no further use to you. The worst-case scenario is that something doesnt sell.
Set your boxes of smaller sale items, grouped by similar items that go together in an indoor storage area for now.
Mark Larger Items for Sale
Identify and mark furniture, nonsentimental (and low-value) artwork, yard equipment, and other bulky items you plan to sell. Dont bother moving these until sale day — just dont forget that you plan to sell them.
Put Out a Call for Consignments
Send out an email or text to friends and family members inviting them to sell items at your sale on consignment. Keep the arrangement invite-only and limit consignments to relatively small items, as a free-for-all can quickly spiral out of control and take over your driveway.
Work out an equitable split with each consignment partner — ideally, youd take a small cut of the sale and theyd keep the rest — and set a date for them to deliver or you to pick up their wares.
3. Check on Permits
Many places require permits for publicly advertised sales on private property. Before you get too deep into the planning process, check your city or county government website to determine whether you need one. If you do, you can almost certainly apply online.
Most locales dont charge application fees, but dont let that lull you into thinking the authorities look the other way at illegal garage sales. You could be looking at fines well into three-figure territory if youre caught running an unpermitted sale.
If you live in an HOA community, check with the board about garage sale rules and regulations. Many HOAs dont allow garage sales at all or have strict rules about timing, duration, location, and other aspects.
Step 2: Promote Your Sale
Advertise your garage sale at least a week in advance, and longer if its part of an organized neighborhood event.
1. Use Newspaper Classifieds
Newspaper classifieds arent what they used to be, but dont count them out. If your hometown still has a well-read local newspaper or thriving community publication — especially if its free and delivered automatically to every residential address in the area — you can bet deal-hunters use its classifieds section to sniff out local garage sales.
Classified ad pricing usually involves a flat fee for a maximum word count (say, 25 words) and a per-word surcharge for additional verbiage, calculated on a weekly basis.
You shouldnt need to advertise your sale more than two weeks out, and the Sunday paper on the weekend before your sale might be all thats necessary.
In your ad, mention particularly enticing or valuable items, such as furniture, collectibles, and small engine equipment like lawnmowers and leaf blowers. Include your address, phone number, and sale date and time (as well as backup date and time).
Then, post the same exact ad on each newspapers website if given the option.
2. Advertise on the Web
You can advertise your garage sale for free on dozens of reputable websites that trade in local sale advertisements. The most useful and widely visited are:
Because theyre much less stingy with their word counts, these sites give you more freedom to describe your sale and list individual items for sale.
However, because they tend to list sales as theyre posted, theyre actually better left to the last minute. You can wait until two or three days before your sale day (or the first day of a multiday sale) to put up your first ad.
To save yourself time and avoid errors, write your ad in a word processing program and copy and paste it to each listing website site.
3. Make Yard Sale Signs
Check the laws in your area before putting out signs advertising your garage sale, as theyre banned in some jurisdictions. Again, your city or county government website should have detailed information about outdoor advertising restrictions.
If signs are permitted in your area, use a bright, solid-color poster board and dark Sharpie for effect. Write garage sale and your address in big letters with an arrow pointing in the general direction of your house. Use wooden paint mixing sticks to secure ground signs or a wood stapler to affix signs to power poles.
Take advantage of community boards as well, keeping in mind that your signage can be more detailed and less gaudy here.
Step 3: Prep for Sale Day
Spend the week before your sale prepping for the big event.
1. Get Supplies
Make sure you have everything you need at least a day before the garage sale starts. Youll need:
- Chairs for you and any helpers
- A main table for making change and bagging up small items
- A cash register or money box
- Enough flat surface area to display everything you intend to sell
- Enough rack space and hangers for clothing
- Stickers or tags to display pricing information
Reserve proper tables, including outdoor furniture and folding tables, for delicate items that cant be placed on blankets or tarps. Set these away from the main flow of traffic to avoid preventable catastrophes.
If you have one, set up a garment rack in a high-visibility location for clothing you plan to sell. Otherwise, lay folded clothing out on tables. In a pinch, create additional elevated space with plywood laid over two cardboard boxes or milk crates.
Make creative use of fixed yard features, such as retaining walls and terraces, to create additional surface space. And dont be afraid to ask friends to borrow tables, chairs, and the like as needed.
2. Get Set to Accept Payments
Mobile payment technology is ubiquitous these days, but some garage sale buyers still prefer cold cash. That means youll need plenty of change in your cash box to break $20s and $50s early in the day.
Visit the bank a few days before your sale and pick up at least $ in change. A suggested breakdown:
- 10 $5 bills
- 30 $1 bills
- 80 quarters
While at the bank, pick up a reusable cash envelope (or repurpose an envelope from your house) to ferry cash to a secure location inside. You dont want random people ogling the hundreds in cash youre likely to have on hand at the end of a busy sale.
After visiting the bank, download at least one secure P2P payment app to accept electronic payments as well. Check out Venmo, PayPal, and the Cash App.
And consider investing in a portable credit card reader so that you can accept credit cards on-site.
3. Sort Your Items
Sort your items before you price them. This ensures your garage sale remains organized and attractive to potential buyers. Use a low-traffic room in your house, preferably on the ground level, as a staging area.
Bring all your nonbulky items there and divide them into general categories: clothes (possibly subdivided into mens, womens, and childrens), books, home goods, toys, and so on.
4. Price Your Items
Price items likely to sell individually accordingly. Dont attempt to save time by creating high-priced lots out of multiple clothing items or pieces of cookware or dumping like-priced items into a single box buyers need to fish through.
However, you can (and should) create lots for lower-value items buyers are likelier to want in bulk, such as paperback books and CDs.
Use manila tape and a Sharpie to price items, rather than specialized price tags. Price tags dont really do anything special, and they cost way more than brown tape.
Also, resist the temptation to overprice items on the expectation that every buyer will haggle. Some will, but many wont bother. Theyll simply walk away from high-priced items.
5. Organize & Arrange Your Sale
Now its time to set up your items for display.
Arrange your tables and hangers the night before your garage sale. You simply wont have time to do a good job the morning of the sale, particularly not if you hope to get an early start.
If you dont have enough table space for every item, store the remainder in boxes or laundry baskets containing like items.
Secure everything in your garage overnight (with overflow in your laundry room or in-home staging area) and prepare to get up early to put everything out on the day of your sale.
Make a map of your yard on sale day so you know where to locate each element during the presale rush.
Step 4: Host Your Sale
The big day (or weekend) is here. Time to put these time-tested garage sale tips into action.
1. Get Ready
Give yourself at least an hour before the garage sale starts to set everything out and put up signs.
Youll need at least one helper to move everything safely. Youll also need to set up your change station, preferably in a shaded area with a sturdy table and comfortable chair.
Before your sale opens, put one last yard sale sign out on the street to ensure no would-be buyers pass by your place, and position your chair so its clearly visible as buyers walk toward your house.
2. Work the Crowd
Greet everyone who shows up at your sale, no matter how interested (or well-off) they appear.
Dont follow would-be buyers around or offer unprompted commentary about your wares. Instead, make it clear that youre available to answer questions, assume a friendly demeanor, and stay seated. When someone has a question or wants to buy something, theyll come to you.
3. Be Prepared to Haggle
Youll almost certainly haggle with would-be buyers at some point during your sale. Dont be overeager, and always have a firm bottom dollar in mind.
If your prep work has paid off and the weather has cooperated, you can count on a steady flow of buyers to take stingy hagglers places. Reserve your negotiation strategies for the afternoon or the last day of a multiday sale.
3. Deal With Leftovers
Youre going to have leftover stuff at the end of the day or weekend. Rather than put it out on the curb with a big free sign, figure out how to make the most of it — and, if things go well, make a decent amount of money off it.
Do the following:
- Sell Valuable Leftovers Individually. Use Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, and other reputable, secure marketplaces like Decluttr to get rid of pricier items like furniture and electronics.
- Donate Less Valuable Leftovers to a Nonprofit or Thrift Store. Goodwill takes just about any safe, nonperishable item you could think to donate. So do many locally owned thrift stores. If you itemize your tax deductions rather than claim the standard deduction, you could significantly reduce your federal income tax burden using the applicable tax deduction for charitable donations on your income taxes.
If youve never hosted a garage sale before, set your expectations now: Its going to be a lot of work.
These garage sale tips will help, but they wont change the fact that between now and your sale day, youll spend hours organizing your items, setting prices, writing ad copy, and picking up supplies.
On the day of the sale, youll spend the entire day — from early morning well into the afternoon — pulling the thing off. If you have lots left over, expect to spend hours more disposing of unsold inventory.
But dont despair. A successful garage sale will leave you with a less cluttered, better-organized home — and a wad of extra cash to spend or save as you wish.