How do you have a garage sale?

Hey look! It's our garage full of stuff to sell.

Hey look! It’s our garage full of stuff to sell.

Since I moved in, Mike and I have been talking about having a garage sale. We keep planning to have them on certain weekends, and then changing our minds. Our problem: We’re not exactly sure how to have a garage sale.

  • What are the best days to do it on? Saturday? Sunday? Both?
  • How do you advertise it? We don’t want a million people showing up, because we don’t have that much stuff. But we don’t want to waste our time.
  • Do you price things beforehand? Or just let people suggest prices, because they’re going to anyway?
  • What time should it start? I hear people might show up early anyway.

Who has some advice for us???

7 thoughts on “How do you have a garage sale?

  1. KathyRo

    Oh man I haven’t done this in forever. I mostly donate goods to Goodwill or Salvation Army. If I really think I can get money for something I sell it on Craig’s List or eBay.
    But when I did do it:
    1) Saturday only. I can’t bear 2 days and it seems like most people are out on Saturday.
    2) Price by categories if there’s a lot of stuff ( 25 cent per baby-item in pile, etc ). Individually if there are bigger pieces.
    3) Brace yourself: people show up early. Plan on 7 am.
    4) We only ever advertised by posting signs in the neighborhood like a week ahead of time.

  2. soundtek

    well, we live in the south where yard sales are a big thing, so this may not apply to you at all, but here is what we do
    – decide on a date and then advertise for it – whatever is best for your area (paper, craigslist, online, etc)…. also, make posterboard signs in neon colors with directions on main streets so more people will see them and also place them all the way to your road/house – people out looking for yard sales will stop by whether they’ve seen the ads or not… and yes, you do want a million people to show up – get rid of your stuff early and be done with it…. once you are done, take down all the signs and if people don’t see any sign of a yard sale (or lingering junk), they wont stop by
    – Saturday morning from 6:30 – 9:30…. and really, whatever time you set it for, people are going to show up 30 minutes before hand so go ahead and be ready… but the good shoppers are always out early, so start at 6:30 when people still have money and looking to buy is your best bet… later than 9:30 or so and everyone is shopped out
    – I would only price the bigger items but be willing to haggle…. for the smaller items, have a price you are thinking about and tell them if they ask, but be prepared to haggle… and usually for the last 30-60 minutes of the sale when things start slowing down, do $5/bag and hand out plastic bags (or boxes, whatever) and whatever they can fit in a box (except for valuables that should be on a separate table), they get for $5 (or whatever price you are comfortable with

    1. soundtek

      I also forgot… make sure you have lots of change (coins and $1 bills) and somewhere to keep the money

  3. Sarah Brewer

    You ask someone else to do it for you 😉 J/K

    I would do Saturday only unless you REALLY want to go for it. “Normal” start time is 8:00 but you WILL have people there 7am or earlier even if you say “no early birds.” Be prepared for it or be firm and tell them to come back later.

    I’ve seen ads in local papers, “Nickel Saver” types publications, community message boards, craigslist, Facebook groups, and the timeline neon poster-board, but be considerate of your pole climbers/service-people and don’t put nails or staples into telephone poles. Have a couple of signs posted, people will find you. Don’t be worried about too many people, be more worried about putting a ton of work into it and having to haul a big load to Goodwill at the end of the day.

    Price things like furniture, electronics, bicycles, etc but have a flat price for small items like books, kitchenware, clothing, DVDs, etc. You can make a couple of big signs with the prices on them to simplify things.

    Your garage sale culture is probably going to be different than mine, but the one thing I’ve seen consistently is “professional” garage salers are going to undercut your prices by a LOT. Don’t be offended and don’t say yes, haggling is expected. Pretend you’re on vacation in another country 😉

    Keep in mind that messy or hard to navigate set ups are turn offs. So things like big piles of clothes on a table (which will turn into a HUGE mess very quickly) or a lot of things jammed into a small space.

  4. Kristin

    I would say that it is SUPER important to put ARROWS on your signs that you put in the neighborhood. I hate there just being a small address listed, and I don’t know where the street is! When I had a sale I had a lot of people say that they came because they saw the signs and followed the arrows. I started with a main corner and put signs on all corners where people had to turn.
    I also had people who came for specific things they saw in my Craigslist ad. I took pics the night before and added them to my ad.
    The garage sale we had almost 2 years ago was supposed to start on Thursday afternoon, but my brother in law put the signs out in the AM. We had TONS of people stop by as soon as the signs went up. We didn’t have everything priced, and going with the flow was fine. Some of us Midwesterners don’t like to suggest prices though, so whether or not you price your items is based on how people are where you live.

  5. Jess

    So I’m in Australia but I assume the basics will be the same. We’ve done this far too many times.

    – Only do one day. That shit is exhausting.
    – Organise your local op shop/charity store to come along at 1pm (or an hour after your final sale) to pick up EVERYTHING that didnt sell. We live in a small country town and we have two shops that have trucks for this service, so I really hope that your local stores do the same thing. This is my NUMBER ONE tip.
    – Definitely have set times.We generally do 8am to noon. There will always be early comers so put up a gate or fence or ribbon with a piece of paper clearly saying NO EARLY SALES. and the time you will open.
    – if you have boxes of books or knicknacks try to sell in bulk. $10 for 5 books type thing.
    – Lower your prices as you get towards the end of the day.
    – Have a bum bag each and get plenty of change from the bank the day before.
    – Sell the story of the item along with the item itself.
    – Big things ($20+) you can mark prices on. Mark highish and be prepared to go lower when asked.
    – We advertise with our local paper, its about $12 for a week. When we place our advert they provide 3 large signs to place in the neighbourhood. Homemade posters would do just as well. There are probably websites dedicated to listing garage sales across the country.
    – Dont expect to make a fortune. I think the most we have ever gotten is a couple of hundred bucks (but we also got to rid ourselves of sooo much stuff, so its a double win)

    Best of luck with it, let us know how it goes!

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