Gearing Up for Garage Sale Season

posted by Andrea | 02/18/2012

Yes, I know, it’s only the middle of February — however, if you are serious about having a successful garage sale this spring, you should start planning now!

I’ve been to hundreds of garage sales, yard sales, estate sales, second hand sales, new-to-you sales, mom-to-mom sales, etc. etc. and in my opinion, there are a few things you can do NOW to make sure your sale is a success… and it really won’t take that much time or effort!

1. Gather Boxes:

You will most likely need lots and lots of boxes and bins to corral all the items you plan to sell {see #2 below}. There is no point in paying for boxes and bins you hopefully won’t need after your sale is over, so why not try to find them for free.

If you or your spouse work outside the home, try asking for extra paper boxes or other smaller boxes with handles. Also, you could try asking local restaurants or stores to save boxes specifically for you.

Put those boxes in a designated spot in your home or garage and then move on to #2 below!

2. Find Stuff to Sell:

Obviously, you can’t have a great garage sale unless you have LOTS of stuff to sell. I absolutely hate pulling up to a garage sale only to see they have one small table of stuff to look at — it’s just not worth the buyer’s time to stop.

This is also an EXCELLENT opportunity to purge and organize every room in your house!!

Schedule a day or an afternoon to go through each room in your house {maybe one room every other week until the garage sale} and pull out anything you don’t need, use, want or love. Put those items in your designated “garage sale” boxes.

If you don’t think you’ll have enough stuff, start talking with a few of your friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors, etc. and see if you can plan a combined sale. In my experience, the more stuff you have to sell, the more traffic you’ll get.

3. Decide on a Location and Approximate Date:

Obviously, you don’t need to have every last detail nailed down at this point, but you should start thinking about an approximate date and location. If you are planning to do a combined sale, you’ll want to decide who’s house has the best location and then pick a weekend that will work for everyone involved.

Also, if you are planning to be part of any church, school, or community sales, you’ll probably want to get that information soon. I know some sales around here require participates to register several weeks and even months in advance!

4. Start Pricing Your Items:

Again, it’s not essential to have every item priced and ready to go, but as you go through your house and start purging items for the sale, it might be smart {and very time-saving} to start pricing your items now!

Please, please, PLEASE remember that your stuff is used. You don’t want it anymore… and while I’m sure there are people out there who DO want it, you can not expect to get top dollar for your stuff!

In my opinion, the only thing worse than showing up to a garage sale that doesn’t have a lot to sell is showing up for a garage sale with ridiculously high prices. People are looking to get a great deal, so make sure your prices feel like a bargain.

5. Use Craigslist:

If you have some big-ticket items, I would suggest trying to sell them on Craigslist before your garage sale because you can usually get a higher price that way.

If you don’t want to sell anything on Craigslist, then at least take the time to advertise your sale on Craigslist! It’s free and you’ll get tons of exposure! Another good idea is to look for other sales in your area and then plan your sales for the same weekend to ensure even more traffic.

By taking a little bit of time to plan ahead now, you’ll hopefully have a much more successful garage sale later this spring.

What are your tips for a successful garage sale?

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Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

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  1. Toni


    I make sure the kids clothing is organized by gender/size and easily accessible to shoppers. My husband makes a make shift sales rack out of a platform ladder and rope. One side is the boys, the other the girls, Clothes are hung on either plastic store hangers, or if I run out, reg hangers, and I just make sure I take them out when the item is sold. I constantly get people who are complimenting me on the set up, and they buy a TON of clothing. Buyers do not want to be digging, unfolding, refolding, etc…. plus it keeps it easier for me to maintain since I don’t have to go thru after each visitor to make sure the clothes are where they should be.


  2. cathy pennell


    I make sure every item is cleaned, glasses,bowls,etc. I’ve had lots of comments from people that they appreciated how clean everything was. Makes a big difference.


  3. Maria


    After the hours of work setting up and the hours of sitting in the garage selling and not much to show for it, my very conservative mother said,
    “If I ever try to have another garage sale, just shoot me!”


  4. danita


    I thought I would offer one more tip to successfully selling your “stuff” – that is CLEAN IT UP! I have been amazed at the amount of stuff my family and extended family have sold just because we took a little time to clean up what we were getting rid of – a big example of this is baby/kid items. Who wants to buy dirty toys or stained clothes? The extra effort has often meant a little higher price tag and more profit!


  5. Ann


    I do not ever plan to have a garage sale but I do shop at them. I would recommend asking for Spartan egg boxes. Eggs often go on sale around Easter and you can get them then. They have handles and a divider in the middle. If you want to put in larger stuff, the divider can be pulled out or off one side and flipped to the side. They are my FAVORITE boxes for nearly everything!


  6. Danita


    I was just working on this very project today! Thanks for the tips. My goal this year was to be ahead of the game come sale time – looks like I am on target to make that happen.


  7. Emily


    Love garage sale season!! I’ll be shopping for baby boy this spring, can’t wait! Our neighborhood has a garage sale each spring which brings in tons of traffic (you can hardly drive thru the neighborhood). Check to see if your neighborhood does the same. Usually everyone contributes a couple dollars for advertising and it’a an easy way to sell a ton!