Tips for Having a Garage (or Yard) Sale

There must be many first-timers out there who are thinking about having a garage sale this fall. With hopes of having our own first garage sale in years (we kept procrastinating all summer), we are going through a list of questions before signing on to this large and somewhat daunting task. Below are our tips that stem from childhood memories helping Mom, as well as just some plain old common sense. Please add your thoughts!

Initial questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there enough stuff to make a garage sale worth my time? You don't need lots of big things and furniture to make a garage sale happen. But if you're only looking at a few piles, ask yourself if it'd be easier to just donate the items and/or sell the impressive ones on Craigslist.
  • Do I have neighbors that might want to join me? Community sales can be a lot to organize, and many neighborhoods have pre-set annual block sales. If your community isn't one of those, consider asking one or two neighbors to join in as a test run - the more you can advertise and offer, the more likely you are to get a lot of foot traffic.
  • Will this be fun for me? If it sounds like a complete drag (as opposed to the adventure it could be), it might just be a complete drag. You really need to gear up, think of it as a fun time and go for it - or you're likely to be dearly annoyed.

More tips:

  • Advertise well! On the web, in the paper, and with street signs - various demographics get their information in various ways, so it's good to cover your bases.
  • Don't fret if you need to schedule a rain date or back-up plan.
  • Don't run the sale alone. Since it'll be happening in your yard or garage (essentially, your home), we think it's a good idea to always have another person with you. Manual help, moral support, and you can send the signal that you live with others even if you don't.
  • Make sure you have a clear pricing system. Of course there will be times to negotiate, but we prefer a pricing system that keeps the haggling to a minimum. Tag your items with easy-to-add amounts, or set up entire tables and sections with single prices (color coded).
  • Have a breakdown/clean-up plan. Get all the leftovers to your favorite donation destination pronto. You don't want the unwanted lingering around your home much longer.

Image via Garage Sale Professional (Successful tips for hunting and selling).

Also check out AT:LA's garage sale sign archive here. Love it.

(Re-published from 05-28-2008)