Industry News

Turn Clutter Into Cash With These Garage Sale Tips

July 25, 2013

I’ll admit I haven’t always been the biggest fan of garage sales. They’re a lot of work to coordinate, they take up a whole weekend of my time and after everything is said and done, I’m usually left wondering why I even bothered to host one at all. However, with that being said, I recently came across some garage sale tips that made me want to do a clean sweep of my house and give it another go. Perhaps this year will be my best garage sale ever!

Determine the purpose of your sale

Are you trying to make extra money by selling your old stuff, or are you merely trying to get rid of clutter that has taken over your home? Your answer to this question will affect every of aspect of your garage sale planning.

The bigger the sale, the better

Ask family, friends and neighbors if they want to be part of your garage sale. The more items you have to display, the better your chances of attracting a big crowd of buyers.

Advertise, advertise, advertise

The old adage of, “if you build it, they will come,” is not necessarily true—especially if you live in an area of town that isn’t frequently traveled. Spread the word about your sale by putting up flyers at popular stops like the local grocery store, coffee shop or fitness center. And, be sure to list your garage sale on websites like Yard Sale Search, GSalr, Garage Sale Hunter and Craigslist.

Don’t forget to share the news with your friends and family on Facebook. They may be able to help you spread the word about your sale, and you might even be able to recruit some extra help in the process.

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Photo courtesy of

Put some thought into your signage 

The week before your big sale, create eye-catching signs that serve as a billboard for your yard sale extravaganza. I’m talking the kind of signs that will actually cause people to reroute their GPS and swing by your sale.

To maximize the promotional power of your garage sale signs, use descriptive language that differentiates your garage sale from the Jones’ two streets over. For example, use words like “MULTI-FAMILY SALE” or “TAKES CREDIT CARD.” Also, always list the most popular items you have for sale, such as gently used baby gear, furniture for first-time homebuyers, electronics or sports equipment.

Appeal to window shoppers

To catch the attention of people driving by, display some of your most popular items in the front yard. By putting your biggest and best items prominently on display, you’ll entice people to pull over to see what else you have to offer.

Create a pleasant shopping experience

No one likes shopping in a cluttered and chaotic environment. Design a retail-like layout that is free of clutter. Organize similar items together and play some Top 40 music in the background so that people can comfortably browse through your stuff without feeling like they have to whisper. If you’re selling fine china, silverware or wine glasses, consider setting an elegant dinner table that displays items in their most desirable setting.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Think like a marketer, price to sell

First rule of pricing: put prices on everything. Nothing is more annoying than having to ask how much an item is. Secondly, price to sell. No one is going to pay top dollar for your secondhand stereo system. If your goal is to make as much money as possible, list your big-ticket items for sale on eBay or Craigslist.

Like any good marketer, look for opportunities to upsell. Offer “Buy One Get One” or “Fill a Bag” specials that speak to shoppers who can’t resist a good deal. Toward the end of the day, consider slashing prices to get rid of your remaining items and boost your sales.

After everything is said and done, donate

I have yet to hear of someone selling every item at a garage sale—if you’re that someone, I’d love to get some of your tips and tricks. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually stuck cleaning up tables of stuff that didn’t sell. Instead of reluctantly carrying everything back into my house, I like to donate the rest of it to a local charity, like the Salvation Army or Purple Heart. It always feels good to give back—and to know that your once treasured items will be greatly enjoyed by someone in need.

Do you consider yourself a garage sale guru? I’d love to hear your tips for planning a great garage sale. What has worked well for you over the years?

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