Attention, decluttering enthusiasts! Are you itching to clear space while pocketing some extra cash? Hosting a sale might be the way to go. Here are our top 10 tips to ensuring your garage sales are a success:

Garage Sales Tip 1

Timing is Everything

Fun fact: The most popular months for garage sales are April, May and September.

Did you know that weekends generally see a 30 percent increase in garage sale visits compared to weekdays? Plan your garage sales for Saturday or Sunday to maximize foot traffic and increase your chances of making sales.

Check your area to see if anyone hosts community-wide or neighborhood-wide garage sales. Being part of a larger event also can spur additional foot traffic and increase your profits. Your local chamber, HOA or city hall are good places to ask. (You may learn your HOA or community either does not allow garage sales or requires purchase of a sale permit.) If there are no larger events planned, consider organizing a neighborhood garage sale weekend.

Finally, consider what you may want to include in your garage sale. Seasonal items, such as summer gear and clothing, tend to sell better and bring higher prices just before or during the season when they are needed.

Garage Sales Tip 2

Declutter with Determination

Fun fact: The average American household contains more than 300,000 items! 

Start decluttering early to ensure you have a solid inventory for your garage sales. And, while it is true that one person's trash is another person's treasure, be selective with the items you choose for your sale. Vintage and retro items often lead to quick sales, but tired, dirty or stained items can turn off potential shoppers. Instead of tossing that box of clothes from your basement onto a folding table, take time to evaluate the pieces. Wash what needs to be washed.

When you begin decluttering, start with three buckets: Garage Sale, Donate and Trash. While it is tempting to add a fourth bucket for things you are unsure about or that have sentimental value, it's better to make real decisions. If the item hasn't been worn or used in the past year, you are likely ready to let it go. When an item pulls at your heartstrings, take a page out of Goodwill spokesperson Matt Paxton's playbook and look for ways to keep the memories and lose the stuff.

Garage Sales Tip 3

Price Strategically

Fun Fact: According to recent surveys, items priced under $5 sell the fastest at garage sales. 

While you may have some big-ticket items in your garage sale, remember most shoppers are looking for a bargain. A good rule-of-thumb is to price your items at no more than 10 percent of their retail cost. This means if you bought a sweater for $20, you would price it at $2 in your garage sale.

It's also a good idea to decide your motivation for hosting your garage sales. Do you primarily want to declutter or are you primarily interested in making a profit? Set your prices according to your primary motivation. Lower priced items are more likely to sell, especially if you offer bundles or other deals.

Finally, while not every item placed in your garage sales needs to be researched, you may want to check some items online for more accurate market pricing. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with any collectible vintage items included in your sale.

Garage Sale Tip 4

Embrace the Power of Bundles

Bundle deals can be a game-changer when it comes to moving inventory quickly. Consider offering discounts for purchasing multiple items or implementing a "fill-a-bag" promotion for smaller items. Even if you choose not to begin your garage sales with some sort of pricing discount like a bundle, keep it in your pocket for the last day of your sale.

If you have a large amount of similar items, consider saving yourself time by bulk pricing. Place all of the items together - for instance, put a variety 3T clothing in a plastic bin - and hang a single sign indicating each piece is $1. Higher end similar items should be individually priced and kept separate from the bin. (For instance, bulk priced items in the bin and individually priced items placed across the garage and on a hanger.)

Shoppers love getting a bargain!

Garage Sale Tip 5

Organize for Success

Fun Fact: Well-organized garage sales can increase profits by up to 25 percent.

Put extra effort into organizing your sale items. Arrange them neatly and group similar items together for easy browsing. Make it easy for shoppers to know the price you are asking for an item. Labeling some items as "make an offer" means that many shoppers won't bother or, if they know the item's true worth, they will strategically low-ball you. It's always better to invest the time to research unusual items unless you just want it gone.

While bundling can save time, it can also cause problems if you place a variety of items on a table for $1 and another set of items on a different table for $2. How will you know which items are which when someone walks up with a handful? Bundling works best when you create a base price for items of a certain type and individually price similar higher-end items. It works best for shoppers when you create different zones for base price and individually priced items.

If the weather cooperates, move at least some larger or high-interest items toward the street. Doing so will entice "drive-by" shoppers who like to take a glance before deciding to stop. Keep smaller, more expensive items - i.e., jewelry or video games - closer to you.

If your space allows it, display items vertically as well as horizontally. This can be done by hanging clothing or by using shelving. Doing so will provide added curb appeal to your sale, prompting more people to stop and browse.

The more organized your sale, the more likely shoppers are to find something they love.

Garage Sales TIp 6

Get Creative with Display

Fun fact: Shoppers are more engaged with items at eye level.

Invest in display racks, tables and shelving to showcase your items effectively. No cash for racks? Search YouTube for some DIY alternatives using household items. Don't be afraid to get creative and make your setup visually appealing.

If you have several items with a similar theme such as nautical or farm house, consider displaying them together. Group all of your new with tags or new in box items. If you have a lot of sports equipment, toss it into a section with sport clothing or related gear. (Tip: To keep your clothing displays looking great, pin or tape  a price tag on the front that lists sizing information.) When shoppers can see how different pieces work together they are more apt to purchase multiple pieces from the same collection.


Garage Sale Tip 7

Advertise Like a Pro

Fun Fact: About 65 percent of shoppers find garage sales by following neighborhood signs.

You don't need to spend money to hire a professional, but one of the best investments you can make in your garage sales is a clear, eye-catching sign. You can print something from your home computer or mark it by hand. Just make sure the text is big enough to be read from a passing car and able to stand out when surrounded by political or real estate signs. To hinder "early birds," don't place neighborhood directional signs until after your garage sale opens for the day. And to keep your neighbors happy, remember to remove your signs when the sale is complete.

More good advertising options are online or physical community bulletin boards, newspaper/shopper classified advertising and social media. If you plan to pay for advertising space, make the most of it by mentioning what makes your garage sale special - i.e., multi-family, lots of tools, baby gear. If you'll be participating in a community-wide garage sale, take advantage of the organizer's advertising opportunities.

If you plan to host your garage sale at your home, please consider personal safety before announcing your address on social media.

Garage Sales Tip 8

Make it an Experience

Fun fact: When music is playing, 75 percent of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase. 

Create a welcoming atmosphere by providing refreshments and softly playing some upbeat music. Consider letting your children (or your neighbor's children) open a low-cost treat booth. Buy mini bottles of water or juice and keep them in a cooler so shoppers can purchase one at a reasonable price. (Don't forget to add a trash receptacle at the end of your driveway or some other strategic location.)

Include a few items - especially inexpensive toys - in a free box. Parents will thank you when they don't have to say no to everything.

Have some tester batteries on hand and, if you have lamps, a few lightbulbs too. Plug a power strip into an extension cord to create an electronics testing station.

The key is to set the mood for your sale and make your shoppers feel comfortable.

Garage Sale Tip 9

Stay Flexible with Pricing

Haggling is part of the fun at garage sales, so be prepared to negotiate prices with shoppers. Research shows sellers willing to negotiate typically make more sales and end up with higher profits in the end.

If you are including an item and know you want a certain price for it, consider pricing it a few dollars more. Doing so will provide wiggle-room to negotiate with a shopper or for markdowns or other deals on the final day of your sale.

Consider giving a deal to a shopper with multiple items. Maybe the shopper didn't see the matching curtains for the comforter and shams they are purchasing. If a shopper picks three video games, maybe you should offer a fourth for free. Again, it boils down to your motivation for hosting a garage sale.

Garage Sales Tip 10

Donate with Purpose

Once your sale is complete, don't let unsold items languish in your basement or garage. Instead, donate them to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity's ReStore or other local charities. Your items can start new lives, figuratively and literally.

When you donate to Goodwill, we resell what we can in our stores and use the revenue to provide job coaching, skills training and more in your community. As an added bonus, we responsibly recycle what we don't or can't sell. Last year alone, we recycled more than 9 million pounds of goods that might otherwise have landed in local landfills.

With these 10 tips in your arsenal, you're well on your way to hosting a wildly successful yard or garage sale. Remember to stay organized, be flexible and, above all else, have a good time!

A garage sale sign with a sale in the background.

Garage Sales - A Timeline


  • Select a Date - Choose a weekend that aligns with good weather and local events to maximize foot traffic. Check with your HOA or local government about ordinances and policies that may impact your ability to host a garage sale.
  • Declutter - Begin sorting through your belongings (including the stuff stashed in your basement), identifying items to sell, donate or discard.


  • Inventory - Take stock of your sale items, categorizing them for easy pricing and organization.
  • Price Items - Research similar items online, if needed, and price your items. Invest in price stickers and decide if you'll use bulk pricing or bundling.


  • Advertising - Create eye-catching signs for your neighborhood and decide on their ultimate locations. Use social media platforms and online bulletin boards to spread the word.
  • Prepare Supplies - Gather tables, racks, signage and other supplies for set-up of your sale space. Begin saving sacks and boxes that can be given to shoppers. If you'll be selling fragile items, begin collecting newspapers for wrapping.


  • Organize Setup - Plan the layout of your sale space, grouping similar items together and ensuring easy access for shoppers, including those in wheelchairs or pushing strollers. Determine if you have enough tables, racks, etc. to create the space you want.
  • Finalize Advertising - Confirm your sale details and update any social media posts or event pages. If needed, purchase permit from local government.


  • Prep Sale Space - If it is possible, this is a great time to begin setting up your garage for the upcoming sale. Double-check items for cleanliness and hang any informational signs (i.e., cash only).
  • Review Inventory - If you have larger items that are not in your sale space, this is the time to create signs (preferably with photos) for those items. Make any adjustments to prices now.
  • Visit the Bank - At a minimum, get two rolls of quarters, 50 $1 bills, 6 $5 bills and 2 $10 bills. If you have several large items, you may want to have larger bills on-hand as well. Likewise, if you have priced any items less than a quarter, you'll need to gather other coin rolls so that you can make change. Place the money in a cash box or a fanny pack and keep it with you at all times during the sale. If you gather a lot of bills, place some inside of your home for safe-keeping.


  • Last-Minute Prep - Check the weather forecast and make sure your sale space is ready and that you have necessary supplies to help your shoppers be as comfortable as possible. (Do you need to set up cooling fans or sell bottles of water?) Double-check your cash box. Make sure pets have a designated place during the sale that keeps them and shoppers safe. Gather other needed supplies such as paper, pencils and calculators.


  • Open Early - Do not open any later than 8 a.m. and begin set-up at least 30 minutes before you plan to open.
  • Put Out Signs - Place the directional signs you created to lead shoppers to your location.
  • Manage Transactions - Keep track of sales and handle transactions smoothly. Be prepared to negotiate prices with shoppers.
  • Stay Flexible - Throughout the day, assess inventory levels and adjust prices or promotions as needed to maximize sales. If you've voluntarily held some items back, or didn't have enough space for everything, fill in in your inventory as other items sell.


  • Donate - Pack up everything that remains and donate it.
  • Reflect and Replenish - Take note of what sold well and what didn't. Use this insight for future garage sales. Put your feet up and count your money.