Looking for ideas to make a little extra cash or a side hustle this summer? Have awesome junk laying around? Why not plan a garage sale!?!? We have the BEST 13 tips for hosting your next profitable garage sale! These tips ensure I have hundreds of engaged customers at my sales and I bring in thousands of dollars!
You can sell virtually anything at a garage sales but let me give you some tips if your new at this and don’t host or attend garage sales on the regular.
What to Sell at a Garage Sale:
- Kids outgrown clothing, toys, games and furniture in good condition.
- Household items you don’t use often like small kitchen appliances and dishware.
- Furniture in good, servicable condition with no tears or stains.
- Tools, tool boxes and manly garage items.
- Adult clothing, purses and shoes in good condition (no tears or stains).
- Arts, crafts, fabric and supplies related to.
- Vehicles, bicycles, ATVs, sporting goods equipment, fishing gear and gear.
- Halloween, Christmas and holiday decor you no longer use.
- Antiques, vintage and old stuff in just about any condition (lots of people are looking for upcycle projects)!
What Not to Sell at a Garage Sale:
- Old undergarments and bathing suits.
- Used mattresses
- Things that are broken, missing parts or do not work (save that for the FREE pile)
Why you should listen to me…a so called “Garage Sale Tips Expert”…is that even a thing?
Yeah…it’s a thing!
First, I’ve been garage sale-ing practically since birth. My mother would take me with her every weekend! As an adult I still go EVERY week. Man, I really love a good deal on a treasure! So, I know what a well run sale looks like from a customers standpoint.
I’ve also hosted garage sales for over 15 years and run estate sales for my clients. Yearly we host a HUGE antiques and vintage sale called “Chix Pix” at our hobby farm (Flying Chix Farm) in Snohomish, WA. I also run estate sales for clients at their request.
Garage sales are a crazy ass passion of mine that not a whole lot of people understand. I love it so much that I made it into a side hustle that I make damn good money at. More on that later….
I make thousands of dollars at my sales and I’m able to attract hundreds of customers. Given all my experiences I think I have some great garage sale tips to share with you on hosting a successful garage sale this summer!
So here’s the list of garage sale tips to make your garage sale a super profitable one!
Garage Sale Tip #1: Make a Supply Kit
This is an easy one. Just gather up the following items and put them into box or a basket that you can carry around easily. You will need ALL of these things at some point in your garage sale so have them easily accessible.
Basic Tools like screwdrivers and power drills
Cleaning supplies and rags
Also gather old grocery bags/paper sacks/boxes for customers to put their items in. Make a trip to the bank to have ample change ready to give back to cash buyers (I usually have $200 on hand in various bills…you will use’em).
Garage Sale Tip #2: Take Pictures & Advertise Your Sale in Advance on key websites (for FREE!)
Advertising your sale well in advance is crucial to success. At least a week prior to your sale take plenty of pictures of your items and post them to the following places:
Be sure to include dates and times of your sale. These are the top places garage sale junkies go for leads on sales. Also, include a line on your listing that says you won’t be able to answer questions, ask them to come on down to the sale and see everything for themselves.
I can’t stress this enough…posting pictures of your items will get the customers who are interested in your type of items to your sale.
If your sale is mainly baby clothes you want the mom’s to see this so they show up at your sale…not the burly, manly type who are only looking for tools. It’s also a nice courtesy to your customers- so someone looking for tools doesn’t drive out of their way for a baby clothes sale.
Garage Sale Tip #3: Pick the Best (ONE) Day for a Garage Sale
The best day for a garage sale is Saturday (where virtually everyone is off from work). The second best day is Friday. My experienced advice to you is to make it a one day sale. Two day sales are generally a waste of time. Seasoned garage sale maniacs know that all the good stuff is usually gone within the first few hours of a sale. You won’t get enough people & sales to justify your time on the second day.
You can also plan your sale to coincide with a major event in town that draws a lot of people (like a music festival or car show for example). Post signs near the event to draw in more people.
Garage Sale Tip #4: Research and Price Everything in Advance
This is probably the most important garage sale tip here! Price all of your items in advance by researching the pricing of those items on websites like Ebay (for everyday items) and Poshmark (for clothing and shoes). I know this is time consuming but it will net you more profit!
You want to price your items 10-20% below listed prices to help ensure the sale while still receiving near top dollar. Seasoned garage sale customers are checking these sites to see if they’re getting a good deal or not and you want them to buy from you!
There’s a natural tendency when confronted with a customer asking for a price to undervalue your items (I notice I do it too). It’s like you’re afraid you’ll offend them or something. Setting prices in advance eliminates this natural tendency.
Garage Sale Tip #5: In a Rush? Use the “Price Grouping” Method
If you need to host a quick sale for quick cash and don’t have a lot of time for set-up consider using the ‘price grouping’ method. Set up tables or areas (using Wide Blue Painters Tape) with a pre-set prices. Like $1 table/area where everything on that table/area is $1 and a $5 table/area where everything is $5 etc.
Make as many tables/areas as needed based on your price and put the items in that area. This saves you from labeling items individually which is a huge time suck.
Garage Sale Tip #6: Make it Presentation Worthy
If your treasures have been sitting in the garage collecting dust give them a good cleaning. If your furniture pieces area a little wobbly then tighten up all the screws. If customers see dirty stuff that doesn’t look well cared for they will either keep walking or try and negotiate you down on prices. This is especially important for your high dollar items!
Group like items together so that they will be seen all at once by perspective buyers. Don’t mix up baby clothes with Christmas decor. Have a section for all the holiday items, all the clothing, all the furniture, all the tools etc.
Garage Sale Tip #7: Leave Yourself Negotiating Room
Seasoned garage sale customers will want to negotiate with you. So don’t price your items at bottom dollar. Depending on the value of the item, leave your self $1-$5 of “room” to negotiate down with customers. It’ll make them feel like they got a good deal and haggling is a part of the whole garage sale culture.
Garage Sale Tip #8: Post Bright Signs with Key Information
Signage is really important! Use large bright color garage sale signs that contain ALL of the following information:
- Directional arrows to guide customers to your sale. Make it easy for people who happen to be passing through to find your garage sale. Also, not everyone has GPS capability.
- Dates of sale (so old signs or signs accidentally left up won’t be followed unknowingly by garage salers in the future).
- Full address so it’s easy for GPS users to punch you in and find you quickly.
Garage Sale Tip #9: Getting Customers to Spend More
This is my TOP garage sale tip! Customers will spend more if they are able to use credit (through Square or Square Cash) or a money transfer app (like Venmo). Most garage sales operate on a cash only basis but I have proven through my hosted sales that customers WILL spend more when they are able to use credit cards or a money transfer app.
We’re living in a cashless society and customers don’t always have a lot of cash on them (especially if they just happened on to your sale by accident). Consider setting up Square or Venmo prior to your sale especially if it’s a large one with high dollar items. It’s completely acceptable to ask credit card customers to pay the credit card fees associated with any credit based transaction.
Garage Sale Tip #10: Top Selling Items at Garage Sales
I’ve hosted garden variety garage sales, estate sales and antique/vintage sales. In my experience the following items sell the best and for top dollar:
- New or gently used, on trend (or close to on trend) furniture
- On trend (or close to on trend) Home Decor
- Antiques and vintage
- New in box electronics and home appliances
Garage Sale Tip #11: Get Friends, Family & Neighbors Involved
This is one of my favorite garage sale tips! The more stuff and variety of stuff you have at your sale the more customers you will get. If you have friends, neighbors or family near by that want to get rid of some items- bring them in on the sale.
In some cases friends and family will give you items FOR FREE (especially family members). So don’t be afraid to ask if there’s anything you can have to raise a little extra money. I bet you they do!
Garage Sale Tip #12: Start a Free Pile & Advertise It
Take all of the broken, missing something and inoperable items from around your home and put it into a FREE pile. Be sure to let everyone know on your internet garage sale listings that you have a FREE pile. Generally speaking this mostly grabs the freebie seekers but they might shell out some cash on the priced items in your garage sale.
Garage Sale Tip #13: Didn’t Sell It?
If you didn’t sell every last thing don’t fret, there’s still lots of opportunities to sell your stuff (it just might take a little extra work). Garage sales are a great way to sell things quickly for cash but you don’t always get top dollar. Garage sale customers generally expect low prices and it can be difficult to sell high value items to them.
There is a way to get top dollar for your items if you’re willing to do an additional incremental amount of work.
Remember earlier when I said I make a really great side living with garage sales?
What if I told you that I make an extra $500-$1000 a month selling stuff without even hosting garage sales?
It’s a fun little side hustle to help pay off bills, save up for a vacation or create an emergency fund. I get to do this all from home and with about 6-8 hours of work every week. To be honest I’d be spending 6-8 hours on this every week anyway but now I get paid to do it!
If you want to learn how I make an extra $800-$1200 a month then CLICK HERE!
Last year I hosted a vintage and antiques themed garage sale and netted over $2000.00 in profit! Thanks to targeted advertising with lots of photos we were able to attract over 200 engaged customers (my husband counted)! I think you can do the same if you use our proven garage sale tips! Best of luck to you!