Your Best Garage Sale Advice: How to Make the Most Money, Not Annoy Neighbors & Get Rid of All Your Stuff

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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These past couple of months with our Guide to the Perfect Summer, we've tried to bring you the step-by-step information you'd need to organize and throw a lucrative garage sale. And along the way you've dispensed your own great advice, tips, warnings and ideas.

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For apartment dwellers without a garage

"Yes, you can have a sale inside your apartment — especially if you are moving. Folks will beat down your door if you advertise "moving sale" instead of garage or yard sale. Once everything is boxed up, lock up all valuables in the bedroom, and have whatever you want to get rid of in the living room. It really helped that we were on the ground floor, however, I know people would go to a third-floor sale. Safety first, though — make sure you are not the only one there. Let all your neighbors know ahead of time (maybe they can participate, too?), and prop your doors open. If this still doesn't work for you, a lot of apartment complexes will have a community sale which is held at the pool or other gathering place. Talk to your neighbors and the property management to get a community sale going. You'll get to meet a bunch of your neighbors, too!" — Lisa in SC

"Rent a table at a site? Tack onto a friend's garage sale? Host a virtual garage sale? There are ways to sell things even if you don't have an actual garage or yard." — HomeSweetAntique

"You can always stoop sale — put your things out front of your apartment and then hang out with some lemonade, snacks, and a good book. Put up a few signs to increase foot traffic, but mostly it's a relaxing day sitting outside as people stroll by. I agree — less fun, less money, and less likely to sell big-ticket items than a suburban yard/garage sale, but it can be done." — xlizellx

"To the people that have no yard, I just want to say that I have seen a lot of people around here put a bunch of stuff on a flat-bed, pull along trailer, and haul to a parking lot on a busy street. I don't know if they need a permit there or not (I don't for my own yard), or if they need to get permission from the parking lot owner or not, but they are there a lot, so it must be okay. And to the other posters that think it is too much of a hassle, check with a local consignment shop. A lot of times they will come to your house and go through your stuff with you, and haul it off to sell in their store. Of course, they will take probably 40% of the sale, but if it is just sitting in your garage, not making you any money, then it might be worth it then." — Lisa in SC

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The best trick to thwart early birds

"Put in your Craigslist notice: "Early Birds will be charged double" (and do it)!" — p_capucine

For extra help and extra inventory

"I'm an apartment dweller and I recently had a yard sale at my mother's house. My mother and other family members brought things to sell so there was a lot of things from people with different styles. It also helps that there were multiple people working and setting up the the yard sale, so it wasn't as much to take on." — kittensandpeaches

It takes a village to make a $1000

"We just participated in our neighborhood-wide garage sale for the first time. It was a pretty great experience. We got rid of tons of stuff, made almost $1000, and met a bunch of our neighbors as they wandered the neighborhood. This is a highly advertised event, though, and draws a lot of traffic. I think it works best if it's a community effort. We have not had this kind of luck in the past." — LowBrowLawnParty

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Make enough money to pay the movers

"The last time I moved in Chicago, I had a small yard sale and got rid of extra furniture, clothes, and kitchen appliances that didn't make my downsize. I actually ended up making $350, which helped cover part of my movers!

One key to this was listing bigger ticket items on craigslist, then telling people to come to the sale to pick them up. I had a decent amount of casual lookers that picked up a few items, and oftentimes not even the listed ones." — rebecca_f

The perfect garage sale location trifecta

"We live on a well-traveled corner, near three active churches and an ice cream store. A Sunday sale last year netted us a small fortune." — pantone18

How not to be obnoxious with your garage sale

"Take down your signs when the sale is over please!" — Louanne

"And don't call it an Estate Sale when it legally isn't. Pet-peeve." — jocie-o

"A few years ago we did a neighborhood sale, it was wonderful. Everyone loved it and we had a BBQ after." — greensneakers

"Please do not just leave your unsold junk on the curb. It is often considered illegal (depending where you live) and people have been known to be fined. Plus, if it doesn't get picked up right away and happens to rain it will be useless. Walk it over the the thrift shop and donate your items, post it in the free section of Craigslist, or (if the item has any value) auction it off on eBay." — andie_

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Food for thought: Skip the garage sale entirely (but still get rid of some stuff)

"Ah man, just give your stuff to Goodwill. Yard sales are a lot of work, don't really make much money, and, in the summer, are hot, hot, hot.

With a donation to Goodwill, you can get a reasonable amount (but don't over value as it is used stuff, not new) of a tax deduction perhaps, people still enjoy their finds, the stuff mostly stays out of the dump, and a worthwhile community group gets money to carry on their programs."
Alicen'Wonderland

"Between permits, tax liabilities, and the time; it is simpler to just donate the items and take a tax write off." — Trouty

"Those who enjoy holding garage sales may want to support some organization that holds big annual garage sales, e.g., scouts, by donating surplus things and volunteering as staff." — Miami Elaine

"If you live in an apartment, go set up a table at a flea market. I actually prefer to sell at flea markets, anyway—more shoppers. Set up at the first of the month or mid-month when it is busiest." — fierymermaid

More posts in this series

Throw a Great Garage Sale

(Image credits: Shopclass: An Idea Studio & Multi-Purpose Furniture Store; MaxyM/Shutterstock; Adrienne Breaux; Lane Johnson; How To Declutter, Recycle, and Refresh Your Wardrobe!)

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Adrienne photographs beautiful homes in and around her home base of Austin, Texas. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine and spends all her free time exploring small town Texas. She watches a lot of Star Trek.

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