Money in Your Pocket: Tips for Hosting a Garage Sale

Money in Your Pocket: Tips for Hosting a Garage Sale

Jason Loper
Jul 20, 2011

Whether you call it a garage sale, tag sale, moving sale, or rummage sale, summertime is a great time for getting rid of your old stuff … and making a little scratch, too. While hosting a garage sale can seem daunting, this list of tips should help get you on your way.

Be legal. First of all, check the laws where you live to make sure you don't have to acquire a permit to host a sale. It's all fun and games until someone gets fined.
Set sale hours. Set definite hours for your sale and stick to them. If you're planning a Saturday sale, consider starting at 9AM and ending at 4PM.
Be prepared for early birds. There are folks who live for garage sales who will arrive at yours an hour before it starts. You can specify "no early birds" in your ad but that may not stop them. Plan to have everything together an hour before your start time, just in case. Also, don't be surprised if resellers arrive early and clean out all the good stuff.
Price everything. Or, if you don't want to take the time to tag each item, group things by price and create larger signs.
Be realistic about pricing. Just because you paid a pretty penny for that Bow Flex doesn't mean you're going to see a return on your investment. The goal here is to get rid of old stuff and make a little extra money, not fund your retirement.
Everybody likes free stuff! If you have some things that you just want out of your sight (hello, ex boyfriend's old junk), consider creating a free pile. Trust me, that stuff will be gone in no time! And, as the day goes along, you can add unsold items to the free pile.
Clean your stuff. One way to get folks to pay a little more for your old stuff is to clean it first. As you've seen here on Apartment Therapy many times, a little soap and water can quickly turn trash into a treasure.
Have singles and change on hand. Inevitably, the first few folks will pay for a one dollar item with a twenty dollar bill — so be prepared.
Get out of the house. While it may be tempting to host the sale inside your house, consider how many strangers would be tramping through your personal space. And, while I like to think that everyone is on the up and up, one of those strangers could have nefarious intentions, like scoping out how easy it would be to break in to your home. So pull all your old stuff outside and have a strict 'no strangers in the house' rule.
Do it in a group. If the thought of doing this alone seems overwhelming or if you're worried about safety, rally your neighbors to host a multi-household garage sale.
Get the word out. From craigslist and posting printed signs, to spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter, get the word out about your sale.
Offer refreshments. Ok, so this is really only if you want to go fancy with your sale. Still, a pitcher of lemonade and some cookies can be awfully charming!
Get rid of the leftovers. If you still have leftover junk at the end of your sale, consider listing an ad in the free section of Craigslist or on If you have a lot of leftovers, some thrift stores and donation centers will pick up from you. There's no need to drag that stuff you didn't want back into the house!

Make Weighted Windproof Garage Sale Signs
Survey: Having a Garage Sale — To Price or Not To Price
Yard Sale: The Art of Evicting Junk

Images: 1. Flickr member bluebike and 2. Flickr member fooferkitten both licensed for use by Creative Commons

moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt