Just take a look around the house. If you aren’t able to judge the things you’ve stored or kept hidden inside your house, the moving process will very well enlighten you. Most of us don’t realize the number of items that we’ve kept in our homes unless we need to sort and pack each of them while moving to a new location. And when the time comes, you definitely don’t want to waste your moving resources on those items which you may never even use. Here’s when planning and organizing a garage sale would make complete sense.

The saying, “one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure” holds the essence of a garage sale. What’s even better is that you get to clear stuff out of your house and earn some quick cash as well. However, organizing a garage sale can get a little tricky and be overwhelming for some of us, but not if you plan in advance and are well prepared. To help you out there, here are a few tips and suggestions on how to organize a garage sale before moving. Let’s get started right away!

When Should You Organize A Garage Sale Before Moving

You’ve decided to host a garage sale before your move, but its timing will also be crucial in deciding the success of your garage sale. Ideally, in most parts of the country, the months through early spring and early summer are the best time to organize a garage sale. So, even if you’ve planned an off-season move, it is better if you try and organize your garage sale before that. Fall could also be a good time to do so in a few parts of the country.

After you’ve chosen the month, try to schedule the garage sale at the beginning of the month, preferably the first week itself. The reason for this is simple. Most people and small business owners are likely to receive their paycheck during that time, making them more willing to buy stuff at your garage sale. When it comes to finalizing the day and time for the sale, try and pick a consecutive Friday and Saturday.

While Saturday mornings are the most popular time to host a garage sale, you can host a two-day sale and start off on Friday evening itself to double the number of potential customers for your sale. From 8 am in the morning to 5 pm in the evening is a good time to host a full-day garage sale.

Which Items Can Be Displayed At A Garage Sale

This is definitely going to be the first step in the planning of your garage sale. Only after you’ve thoroughly observed and scavenged each room will you be ready with a list of items that you can display at your garage sale. While making your inventory, if you realize that you might not have enough items for an individual garage sale, you can reach out to your friends and neighbors who might be interested in a community or neighborhood garage sale.

In general, most items that are gently used and are in good condition are suitable for a garage sale. These could include pieces of furniture, kitchenware and vintage dishes, power and garden tools, clothing, games and toys, books, jewelry pieces, home décor, appliances, and exercise equipment as well. Just make sure that all the items that you choose to display at the garage sale are in a decent, usable condition, and are thoroughly cleaned.

Any broken appliances, dirty clothing, and used undergarments are not appropriate items to be displayed at a garage sale. Try to think from a buyer’s perspective to see if you would be interested in a product. If the answer is affirmative, only then would it make sense to display that item at your garage sale.

How To Organize A Garage Sale

Pricing Your Items

One of the most important aspects of a garage sale is the pricing of your items. Remember that people are attracted to garage sales in the hopes of getting a good deal. You cannot be charging very high prices because then your items won’t sell and you can’t be charging really low because that may not be worth your time and efforts of organizing a garage sale. How should you be pricing your items then?

Generally, you can price your items at one-third of their actual price or not more than 10% of their value. But some vintage, antique, or high-quality products can be sold at a much higher value. The best way to go about this is to do some market research. Check the current value of the item and then set a lower price accordingly. You can also check out some other garage sales happening in your neighborhood to get a little idea about how different items could be priced and sold together.

Once you’ve decided the prices for each of your items, make sure to neatly label them with a manila tape or a neon sticker and use a sharpie to display the price of that item. Keep an inventory list with the prices with you as well, so that there isn’t any confusion if by chance you miss out on labeling an item.

Spread The Word Around

The success of your garage sale would depend on your advertising skills to quite some extent. People will only come to know about it and drop by if you advertise the garage sale well enough. Ideally, you should start letting people know about your garage sale at least a week in advance and maybe even before if it’s a community or a neighborhood garage sale.

Make complete use of technology to market your garage sale. Some of the most widely visited websites are Craigslist, Nextdoor, Yard Sale Search, and Garage Sale Finder. You can put up an ad for free on these websites and let as many people know about your garage sale. Don’t leave out social media also in this aspect and use the Facebook Marketplace to reach out to more people. You can also publish your ad in a local newspaper classified in your neighborhood to let people know about the sale.

Along with these steps, make sure to tell all your friends, colleagues, and relatives, and ask them to spread the word amongst their acquaintances as well. Making posters and signs and placing them on every corner of your neighborhood is also another step of ensuring that none of your potential customers are left uniform about the garage sale.

Use Signboards

While you’re preparing posters for your garage sale, you can also make a few signboards to direct all potential customers to the sale. Get crafty with your signboards and come up with creative ways to hit the bull’s eye. You can simply mention the garage sale and clearly specify the date and time, or you can get a little quirky and come up with a short message to catch the attention of your potential customers. A few examples of such catchy lines include ‘Turn left for what is left in the sale!’, ‘Take away the best of the rest’, and ‘Used but can still be useful to you!’, among others.

Whether you choose a simple or a witty sign to put up, just make sure it has all the relevant details about your garage sale including the date, time, and location. Remember to use the same paper and font on all your signs so as to not confuse your potential customers with some other sale that might coincide with yours in the same neighborhood.

Good To Know: In some cases, you might need a permit to host a garage sale in your locality. Make sure to confirm about the same from the local authority in your area and only then place the posters and signboards that you’ve prepared.

Set Up A Theme

Like we mentioned for the signboards, if you have a theme for your garage sale, it might just help you stand out from the crowd. You need not go too over the top and can just stick to a color theme if you’d like. Using a single color will give recognition to your garage sale and at the same time make it easier for your potential customers to figure out stuff at your sale. If you only intend to sell a particular set of items then you can also set your theme around that. For instance, if you’re selling vintage and antique objects, your poster or signboard could also read ‘Welcome to the classy garage sale’ or ‘Antique goods that are too good to be true!’.

Offer Deals And Be Open To Bargaining

The key to attracting potential customers to your garage sale is by offering interesting deals and discounts. You can choose to offer bulk deals that let you sell your items faster and can also encourage people to buy more. For instance, if you’re selling a book for $1, you can offer 3 books together for $2, and if you’re selling wine glasses, you could sell a group of six together at $2 or a dozen at $4 instead of selling them individually.

Most people, including us, love getting a good bargain when shopping. While a couple of people at your garage sale will pay you the price as per the label on the item, there might be a handful who would try to get you to budge on your prices. Be open to haggling at least for a few items. If you come across a buyer who is interested in a particular item but isn’t really willing to pay the full price, do consider dropping the price to a level that suits both of you. Make sure to have a firm lower price limit for every item that accounts for your profits as well. Keeping room for a good bargain might just make the potential buyers more likely to purchase a couple of items.

Ensure Safety

While preparing for your garage sale you need to ensure that your space is as safe as possible and make sure to take every precaution to avoid unwanted mishaps or accidents during the event. The first step is to make sure that the space where you’re hosting your garage sale is thoroughly cleaned and there aren’t any obstacles hindering the movement of your visitors during the sale. Place your items in a way that they are well spaced out and will not be scattered or damaged by your customers. Make sure to keep all valuables within sight and have a few family members help you keep a watch out on your items during the sale.

If you have pets at home, try keeping them inside the house as they might scare a few of your potential customers. We suggest keeping your house locked during the sale so that you need not worry about strangers sneaking into your house without your permission.

On The Day Of The Garage Sale

Display Items In A Systematic Manner

The better organized your items are kept for display, the more are the chances of people noticing and purchasing them. To attract people to your sale, you can keep a few quirky or unique items at the entryways. Furthermore, arrange for enough tables and racks to neatly display all your items for the customers. You can lay smaller objects on shelves for easy accessibility and use hangers for clothing items.

You can group similar items together to make it easier for people looking for things in that section. For instance, if you’re selling kitchenware, try and arrange all the crockery pieces, utensils, and glasses together itself. Similarly, books, magazines, and CDs could be placed together. Make sure that all your items are thoroughly cleaned and neatly kept for display at your garage sale.

Pro-Tip: If you’re displaying electronics, make sure to have an extension cord and a power outlet available at the location. Keep some batteries handy too so you don’t need to rush into the house looking for some spare ones during the sale.

Choose A Convenient Billing Spot

Earning a few bucks is definitely on your mind when arranging a garage sale. So you don’t want your billing or calculations to get messed up on the day. Make sure to arrange a convenient spot for billing and packing items. Ensure that there’s enough space near the counter for people to line up and not bump into each other. Keep a family member or a close friend who is good with accounting and quick calculations at the billing counter.

You should also keep a calculator handy to assist with the calculations. Keep a fanny pouch on you to keep the money in and once you’ve collected a valuable amount, consider keeping it safe inside your house. In addition to this, make sure to keep a copy of the list of items at the billing counter as well so you can tick off the items that have been sold.

Set Up A Pleasant Atmosphere

A welcoming vibe to your garage sale will definitely attract more visitors. If you’ve chosen a color theme, you can decorate the space where you’re hosting your sale with those colored balloons and ribbons. To encourage visitors to shop around for a longer duration, you can also set a small refreshments stall offering some cookies and lemonade. You can keep some chocolates or mints around the billing counter and hand them over to customers who make a purchase.

To lighten the mood at your garage sale, you can also play some background music while the sale is on. Create an interesting playlist beforehand so that you and your visitors can enjoy the sale while also jamming to the songs. All these small yet enjoyable tactics will help your garage sale stand out from the rest.

Provide Bags And Keep Some Change Handy

To have a successful garage sale, it is important that you be a smart seller. What we mean by this is that along with being polite and proactive with your visitors, you will also need to pay attention to what they need or are looking for. For instance, there might just be a couple of your visitors who are walk-in customers present in that area. So, most likely they might not have any carry bags to keep their purchases in. By offering bags at the billing counter, you can make sure that your potential customers are not discouraged to shop for such reasons.

Another thing to take note of is the amount of change you need to keep handy. If you’re selling items in single dollars or a few quarters, chances are that some of your buyers might not have the exact change. By keeping at least $100 in coins and a couple of small bills, you can avoid the haggle over change at the last minute.

Attract People With A Free Section

Offering freebies is a very popular marketing strategy that attracts a number of customers. You can offer deals like ‘Buy 3, Get 1 Free’ or ‘Shop For A Certain Amount And Get This Item For Free’, to attract a few potential customers. If the intention of your garage sale is also to get rid of your stuff before you move, you can consider keeping a free section at the sale. If you have a couple of items that you definitely don’t want to take to your new house and you can’t put a price tag on them as well, place them in the ‘free’ section and let people pick what they need.

What To Do With Items That Didn’t Sell In The Garage Sale

As much as you would want all your items to be sold at the garage sale, there could be a few things left unsold. And for all such things, being prepared with a Plan B will save you from some last-minute stress that could crop up. Since you’ve already decided that you no longer need these items, it only makes sense to dispose of them instead of packing and carrying them to your new house.

One way of going about it is selling all the valuable items individually. You can list out a few of your things on online marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor. For clothes that went unsold, you can also list them on sites like eBay, ThredUp, and Poshmark, while you can check out marketplaces like Decluttr to list down your unsold furniture and electronic items.

For all the leftover items, you can also consider donating them to NGOs or even locally-owned thrift stores. You can check out Goodwill which accepts almost all safe and non-perishable items as charity. You can also check with your friends, neighbors, or colleagues who might be interested in your items, now that you’ll be ready to give them off for free as well. If none of these works out for you, you can also consider reaching out to some Junk Removal Companies and get rid of all your unwanted stuff.

Also See: Where To Sell Clothes For Cash Online?


What Is The Fastest Way To Organize A Garage Sale?

Advertising is the key to how fast your items can sell in a garage sale and how successful your garage sale can be on the whole. If you’re setting up a garage sale on a short notice and need to organize it at the earliest, make sure to advertise it well enough through newspapers, posters, word of mouth, social media, as well as online marketplaces. Be prepared with all the items you need to display and organize them systematically for the convenience of your customers.

How Do You Price Items For A Garage Sale?

Usually, the items that you have in a garage sale are either partially used or are unused but kept idle for quite some time. Naturally, for all such items, you cannot expect to have a huge profit margin. Generally, none of your items should be priced more than 10% of their retail value. Though this seems like a very small amount, this pricing will help you clear most of your items in the garage sale. In the end, you should price the item based on its utility, present condition, and chances of getting sold.

What Should You Not Sell At A Garage Sale?

Broken appliances, outdated electronics, used undergarments or dirty clothing, and used skincare or beauty products, are all items that you should not be selling at a garage sale. Not only are these items unsanitary in nature but you’re also least likely to find a buyer for such items.

What Is The Best Month To Have A Garage Sale?

The early spring months from March to May are considered to be the best months to organize a garage sale. The pleasant weather after winters makes it easier for you to set up a garage sale as well as is convenient for shoppers who are more willing to venture out of their homes during spring.


Organizing a garage sale is a great way to not just declutter your house but also earn some cash in the process. By planning well and using a few of these tips, you can definitely have fun in the process and be rewarded with some pleasant profits as well. As a bonus, you will also have fewer things to pack and load for your move, saving you a few resources yet again.

Read Also: Top Local Moving Companies in the US