Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making a Garage Sale Easier in Just 5 Simple Steps

In some ways, preparing for a garage sale can be a major pain in the neck. I like to do my garage sales right, so there can be plenty of work involved. However, having a garage sale can also come as a relief. Not only can the extra cash that accompanies my efforts be a nice little perk, but there’s relief in the fact that we’re downsizing and getting rid of a bunch of stuff that we just really don’t need.

In order to make the most of our garage sales, we prepare in several ways. Here is a step-by-step version of how this process typically takes place in our household.

Step #1 – Start Well in Advance
If we really want to make a garage sale worthwhile, we tend to start our prep work fairly early. By decluttering and downsizing as many areas of our home as we can ahead of time, we can increase the number of items we have available for our sale. I tend to keep all these items in a central holding area where they don’t get re-sorted into the mix of household belongings. Then when the time comes, I can get them all priced and sorted onto tables by category (i.e. clothing, kitchenware, tools, outdoor supplies, etc.).

Step #2 – Choose a Time Wisely
The time selected for a garage sale can make or break our success. We usually shoot for late spring, summer or early fall. And of course predicting the weather can be tough. Checking the 10-day forecast ahead of time usually helps us get a feel for what the days we’re considering will be looking like weather-wise.

Step #3 – Don’t Waste Time
In our area, the big times for good garage sale crowds are usually between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. After those hours or on different days, and I’ve learned that it’s largely a waste of time having a garage sale unless we just want to sit outside and relax for a while. However, times and days of garage sale success can vary depending upon location and what is being sold.

Step #4 – Marketing Program
While I’m not one of those people who hangs signs on every street corner, I do my part to market our garage sale. From the little things like ensuring all our items are priced and that there are informational signs around our sale to help guide buyers, to bigger items like putting up signs on our street corner and advertising in the local paper, I find that marketing a garage sale can pay off in additional sales.

I try to make sure that I have our newspaper advertisement ready and in place a week in advance to make sure we don’t forget. This runs us about $35 for the smallest ad available -- a little pricey I know, but worth it to draw the extra business.

Step #5 – Be Ready Before They Are
I usually start preparing in force for our garage sales about a weekend or so in advance. This involves ensuring that there is room in the garage, that we have ample tables, that signs are made and ready to go, and that everything is priced. It rarely fails that someone shows up before the actual day of the sale in an effort to peruse the goods before anyone else. Not only this, but on the day of the sale itself, I’m up and ready to go usually a good two hours before the allowed start of the sale (7 a.m. by neighborhood rules), because I’ve yet to have a sale in which someone isn’t there early.


  1. Another marketing idea is to list the yard sale info. online.

  2. My husband believes in never accumulating enough junk to have a garage sale. We only do moving sales. I've gotten rid of stuff on Craigslist, a yahoo group for local mothers and freecycle in addition to eBay.