How to Run a Successful Garage Sale

Jill Vonier

Jill Vonier

6 min read

Holding a garage sale is easy, but making it successful can be challenging. Read our tips on how to make sure yours goes well.

Man looking through records at a garage sale

Is it time to purge your home? Whether you're Spring cleaning or packing things up from Christmas, decluttering your home is a great way to get a fresh start. It also leaves you with a lot of stuff laying around that you don't need.

If you have a lot of items you're ready to get rid of, hosting a garage sale or yard sale is a great way to do just that. A garage sale offers a variety of benefits, namely making money on items you don't need, people coming to you so you don't have to drive around to make sales, and bringing neighborhoods together for a family-fun event.

Pulling off the perfect garage sale isn't hard, it just takes some planning and executing. Here we divide hosting a garage sale into 4 stages to help you successfully plan a garage sale.

Read on to follow our guide to find out how to pull off the perfect garage sale.

Planning & Preparation

The first stage in hosting a garage sale is to plan and prepare. This is where you will find what you want to sell and get ready for the sale.

Take inventory. Make a list of everything you want to sell so you can see if you have enough to have a garage sale. If you find you don't have a lot of stuff to sell, partner up with your neighbors and see if they have some things they'd like to sell as well.

Choose a location. This will likely be your own home. However, if you're close with your neighbors, you could come together and choose a place to host the garage sale where you can all chip in your items to be sold. Be sure you have a big enough area for cars to park and is easy to find.

Choose a date. The sooner, the better since you don't want to have to hold onto your items for a long time. However, before choosing a date and time for your sale, consider the weather, time of year, and any local events happening that could interfere.

Price your items. With your list from earlier, you can start to price your items. Consider whether it's in a good condition or on the fritz. Keep in mind people who attend garage sales are looking for a great deal so keep your prices on the low side, and leave some room for negotiations.

Advertise your sale. Spread the word by advertising your garage sale on social media and in your local newspaper. On Facebook, post your event to community groups in your county and to Facebook Marketplace. Most newspapers have a section for local events in the classifieds you can use to let others know about your sale.

Setting Up and Organizing

Set of bowls out on display for a garage sale

As you get closer to the event, your next steps will be to set up and organize your garage sale.

Choose the spot. Whether you or your neighbor are hosting the event, you will now choose a spot and layout for the sale. If you're having the sale in your garage or carport, make sure it is clean and well-lit. If you're having the sale in your front yard, make sure that it won't be muddy or hard to access.

Set up your displays. Prepare tables, racks, and other displays to make your garage sale more organized and visually appealing. We recommend setting up tables in a U-shape or a line so your customers can easily see all of the items that are for sale. Racks and other displays will help keep the items separate and easy to find.

Organize by category. A successful garage sale allows its shoppers to easily navigate and find items they're looking for. Organize your items by category, such as "shoes" and "books." This creates a better flow to your garage sale and makes it easier to price your items together.

Put price tags on your items. You can pick up small price stickers at your local grocery store or craft store to individually price each of your items. If you have a lot of one type of item, such as books, DVDs, or records, you can just put a label on a table or box of the item with an amount "per item".

Put a little effort into it. Displaying items in a visually appealing way can actually help you sell more stuff at higher prices. Items crammed into a box look like junk, but items nicely on display will help attract customers and make them more likely to purchase items.

Running the Sale

It's the day of the event and you need to have a plan for running the garage sale. Here is everything you need to have a successful event.

Handle cash and checks. Being prepared with how you will handle payments can set you up for success. Decide what types of payments you will take, such as cash and checks. Having a cash box or a cash register can help make transactions easier. You can even set up a sign with your Venmo handle to accept direct payments.

Provide bags and boxes. Providing bags and boxes for customers' purchases makes it easier for customers to transport their items home and it can also make the sale more professional.

Answer questions. To provide a good customer experience, it is also important to make sure you are available to answer any questions that customers may have. Be friendly and approachable to help customers feel more comfortable and welcome. Answer questions and give details to encourage shoppers to make a purchase.

Negotiate prices. Garage sale shoppers are looking for a great deal. They know you have a short period you want to get rid of the item and will be willing to negotiate. Handle all negotiations in a professional manner, being prepared ahead of time to go down on prices, and being as agreeable as possible.

Use OfferTrackr. To track the availability of items and the current top offers, take advantage of OfferTrackr. OfferTrackr can automatically track the availability of your items, negotiate prices, schedule pickups, and send out reminders. See our blog post, Using OfferTrackr to Make Selling Items Locally So Much Easier, for more information.

After the Sale

Once the garage sale is over, there are a few important steps that should be taken to wrap up the event.

Clean up & dispose of unsold items. Not everything at your garage sale will sell, and that's okay. Be prepared to donate any leftover items to a charity or thrift store. Clean up any trash and put tables and display items back up.

Organize your money. This is a good time to organize your money by cash, check, and any third-party processor payment methods. If you shared a garage sale with your neighbors, be sure to give them their portion of the sales. Count your money and decide if it was worth the effort.

Reflect for next time. There is a lot to learn from hosting a garage sale. Reflect on what worked well and what didn't work well. Were there any missed opportunities? Consider what you would do differently next time, and make a plan to improve on your next garage sale.

A garage or yard sale is a great way to declutter your home and make some money off your unwanted items. Hosting a successful garage sale isn't hard to do, it just takes a little planning and executing, and maybe even partnering with your close neighbors.

With a little bit of planning, preparation, and organization, you can ensure that your garage sale is a fun and profitable event for the entire family!


The easiest way to sell items locally

Use OfferTrackr to automatically track the availability of your items, negotiate prices, schedule pickups, and send out reminders.
Track offers on your first two items for free.