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Hosting a Successful Garage Sale

As an avid garage saler who has hosted many successful sales, I have compiled some great ideas to assist in the planning of your own sale this summer. If you want to have a successful one, remember that making money is a bonus, but it is the purging of all of your unused treasure that is the far greater payoff.

Signage: You will need signs that are large, easy to read and placed at every intersection in your area. Signs on main streets should be placed well before the turn so potential shoppers have time to change lanes, if necessary. If there can be any doubt which direction to turn, post a sign. Also, remember to check your signs during your sale. If you have a lull of customers, it may be because one of your signs blew over or fell down.

Pricing and product display: Pricing everything in your sale is a waste of time. Make use of boxes. Write a price on the side and fill it up with items of the same value. A box labelled ‘free’ is a great place for junky items you are unlikely to sell. For items you want people to be able to see more easily, use blankets and have one sign that applies to all of the items on that blanket. Four chairs and a piece of wood make a great table. String tied between two trees is an effective way to hang clothing. Group same-priced items together and use one pricing sign whenever possible. When you have items that you want a specific price on, do not waste money on costly stickers – masking tape will do the trick.

Be cautious of pricing items too high: When people perceive your prices as high, they are less likely to buy from you. Make offers that encourage people to buy more. Kids’ books are great items to do this with. One book may be 25 cents but five for a dollar is even better! If a child is at your sale admiring a small toy, give it to them for free. You will have a happy child, a parent who now has time to look at your higher-priced items and one less item to drag to a donation bin.
Be more liberal with your pricing as the day goes on. Mid-afternoon, remove any items you are not willing to give away and start telling buyers that everything is now free. (Yes, you read that right, free!) People will cart away free items by the boxful, saving you the hassle of getting rid of them yourself at the end of the day.

Change and bags: Make buying easy! Be sure to have enough change on hand. Want people to buy multiple items? Provide bags to make it easier for them to transport purchases.
Balloons: Balloons are wonderful things, especially at a garage sale! Place balloons on all your signs and in your yard and people will flock to your sale. Countless people have arrived at my sales and told me it was the balloons that brought them, so use balloons in abundance!
At the end of the day, remove all of your signs. Your neighbors will thank you, not to mention you will need those signs for the garage sale you will host next year. We all swear we will never accumulate that much stuff again, but we always do! It is not a bad thing either. Without unwanted treasures, there can be no sale, and garage sales are fun.

Good luck at your next sale!



Dawn is an elementary teacher who is taking time off to be a full-time mom. When she is not busy with her two boys and husband, she enjoys writing children’s stories, learning to speak Spanish and garage ‘sale-ing’ every chance she gets!

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