16 Tips For A Profitable and Safe Garage Sale / The Good Sale

Always keep items neatly displayed. Do not let tables look messy and cluttered — it will hurt your sales.

With the warm weather approaching, you may be thinking about having a garage sale. Garage sales are a great way to turn unwanted items into extra cash. And, an added bonus is you get to de-clutter your house at the same time.

A garage sale differs from a house or moving sale, in several ways. Basically the differences are:

  • They take place outside on your front lawn and/or in your garage;
  • People generally do not come looking for expensive items or have a lot of money they want to spend; and
  • Most people are searching for true bargains on low-priced items.

What To Sell

If you have high-quality furniture to sell, gold jewelry, or expensive china, you will probably not find your buyer at a garage sale.

However, having a garage sale is a great way to sell:

  • no-longer wanted holiday items from Christmas, Halloween, etc.;
  • dishes, glasses, and inexpensive silverware;
  • household items;
  • clothing, especially baby clothing, and new-never worn clothing that you realize you will never wear;
  • crafting items and supplies;
  • shoes and handbags;
  • old LPs, CDs and DVDs;
  • toys;
  • tools;
  • no-longer or never wanted home décor items;
  • and miscellaneous housewares.

The way to get top-dollar for your items is to make sure they are freshly cleaned and are displayed in an uncluttered manner. Try to have as many tables as possible so people do not need to bend down, or crouch down, to sort through boxes. When clearly displayed, a buyer will have something catch their eye as they are walking through your sale. If shoppers have to bend and dig through boxes, you will only sell to the most dedicated buyers.

Making The Most of Your Garage Sale

Here are some additional tips to bring in top dollar:

  1. Make sure all items are clearly marked with prices.
  2. Price items with a little bit of wiggle room. Many garage sale buyers want to bargain, and will lose interest if they can’t.
  3. Have items of same use grouped together. For example, if you are selling tools (an extremely popular garage sale item) have them all grouped in one area.
  4. If you are selling a batch of items, such as many records, be prepared with a price for all – many buyers want to buy items in batch and will come to you with an offer. Be prepared to accept, counter-offer, or decline.
  5. Have a pad and pencil ready to take names of buyers who are interested in items but do not want to pay your current price. You can always contact them after the sale, with a better price, and if they are truly interested you will probably make the sale.
  6. Put up lots of signs several days before the sale. This will give people time to plan to drop by your sale. Make sure they offer excellent directions. è’s are important too!
  7. Check your signs each morning of your sale; they can get knocked down or disappear.
  8. Try to visit a few local garage sales beforehand to get an idea of local pricing. See which items seem to be popular. You may get some good ideas.
  9. Put up flyers in local supermarkets, and wherever there are community bulletin boards.
  10. Have plenty of change on hand. If someone offers you a $100 bill for a $3 sale early on, before you have sold a lot, pass up the sale. You will miss out on many other sales if you cannot make change for fives, tens, and twenties.
  11. Have an electric source handy so electric items, such as lamps and radios, can be tried so the buyer can see they are working.

Garage Sale Safety

Whether it is popular to discuss or not – safety is important to think about and plan for when having a garage sale. We have had several items stolen during a garage sale over recent years, so we know it is a concern. Here are some things to think about and plan for:

  1. Have at least 2 people at the sale at all times – but more are helpful during the first two hours of the sale. One can work at check-out and one can be available to answer questions and help potential buyers. Don’t forget to plan lunch beforehand.
  2. Always keep your money with you. Never leave it unattended at the check-out table – even for a second. I find that a fanny pack with pockets is great for holding money, and if you need to get up, it automatically comes with you.
  3. Make sure that the door leading into your home from your garage is either always on view, or even better – locked. You do not need anyone wandering inside while you are busy outside.
  4. Do not keep all your profits with you – only what is needed to make change. Other money should be brought inside, and put away, on a regular basis.
  5. If someone asks if they can use your bathroom, and you want to help them out, have someone walk them to the bathroom and wait outside the door for them. Make sure any medicines have been removed from the bathroom beforehand. Of course, you can always say, “I’m sorry, but we are not letting any buyers inside.” It is well within your right to decide.
  6. Always keep a cell phone with you. This goes for everyone working at the sale.

If You Are Downsizing…

If you are going to be downsizing, definitely plan on having a garage sale either separately or as part of your home sale. You will be amazed at how much money can be found in items you will not be needing in your new, uncluttered life.

Do you have any favorite garage sale tips or questions? We welcome your comments.



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