How To Organize An Effective Garage Sale: A Practical Guide


Regardless of whether you have already sold your house and want to cut down on your moving expenses or you’re still waiting for your future buyers and want your home to look spick and span, and not cluttered by unnecessary household items, the best way to get rid of any unwanted possession is to organize a garage sale. This way you will not only free up some space which has been unusable until this moment, and therefore increase the effective area of your house, but you will also earn some additional money to help you through the relocation process or to get well-deserved treats for you and your loved ones.

And while organizing a typical yard sale may look like a piece of cake – you simply take out all the stuff you don’t need anymore and pile it up on a table in front of your garage or on your driveway, practice has taught us that in order to achieve a genuinely effective garage sale, you need to observe a number of fundamental principles and practical tips which we will share in this article especially for you.

Inventory your stuff

The first thing you need to do is to go carefully through all of your personal possessions stored and long forgotten in the attic, basement, shed, closet or garage, and single out any items that you no longer need and think you can sell. If you’re a person who’s known to have trouble parting with things, then you surely won’t enjoy this important sorting process. But if you’re relocating, just remind yourself that the more undesirable stuff you have to pack and move, the more time and money will be wasted. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used an item in over a year, the chances are that you probably never will.

Once you’ve gathered enough stuff for the rummage sale, it’s time to inventory it. Although some choose to skip this step, you’re advised to prepare an inventory list with all the items for sale and their corresponding price. Why? Because price tags tend to disappear mysteriously and it’s almost impossible to memorize and keep track of all the goods and their corresponding prices in the heat of the lawn sale when you get bombarded with all sorts of questions, discount requests and so on.

Assign reasonable prices

When you’re ready with your inventory list, go through it once more and assign a fair sale price to each item. Remember that something is only worth what someone would actually pay for it. Most of the potential buyers will be bargain hunters who’ll expect to see some really low prices. One fourth of the original price will usually work for most used goods. If you overprice your stuff, you may end up taking it back to the house when the sale day is over. However, if you’ve decided to part with valuable antiques or items that are particularly preserved or like new, then it’s only natural that you will want to get more money for them.

Advertise your garage sale properly

People won’t come to your yard sale if they don’t know that it exists. So, it’s time to spread the word. Placing an ad in your local newspapers is a great place to start. The Internet is a powerful medium that should never be underestimated – inform your social network circle of friends of the sale so that they can pass the information on to their friends. Make sure you include the days, times and address of the event, and even consider listing any specific highly desirable merchandise to attract more attention.

Placing appropriate durable signs and posters on designated, and strategic, spots around your neighborhood a few days before the garage sale is a must-do step to bring more potential customers. These announcements should contain the basics, be well legible even for people driving by and survive the whims of nature.

Make your sale attractive and safe

Keeping your garage sale neat, well-organized and safe is the key to ending the day with a bulging wallet and a bunch of empty boxes.

First, arrange the entire vending area so that it looks tidy and inviting to people. The merchandise on sale should be laid out on tables with enough space between the individual items so that they can be clearly seen and freely inspected. Avoid placing your stuff on the ground – if you don’t have enough tables, you can borrow some from your neighbors or rent folding ones. Also, put some efforts into making your grounds more attractive – use big colored price tags, hang helium balloons of different colors or play some relaxing music in the background. Think of other creative ways to elegantly draw people’s attention – the unwritten rule is that more customers will bring even more customers to your organized sale.

And finally, it is your obligation to take the necessary precautions so that no one gets injured while on your property. Take a thorough look at the entire premises for any sharp or dangerous objects and keep them secured and away, especially out of children’s reach.

Bring out the salesperson in you

Treat every visitor as your guest – welcome and greet them with a friendly smile on your face. Be ready to negotiate with dedicated hagglers, to answer countless questions and to show some flexibility in offering last minute deals, special bundles and discounts. Also, try not to lose your temper whenever faced with difficult customers. Everyone should feel comfortable at your lawn sale, including yourself.

Stay alert throughout your sale

Garage sales are all about making a few bucks out of your excess household belongings while hopefully having some good time as well. However, certain dangers tend to creep in whenever a bunch of strangers gather together. Here are some final safety tips to stay out of trouble at your sale:

  • Use a fanny pack instead of a cash box.
  • Get plenty of change and petty cash.
  • If a customer asks you to use the bathroom in your house, either have someone accompany them or refuse nicely by directing them to the nearest public building.
  • Lock all the doors and secure entrances to your house when you’re busy selling your goods.
  • Be ready to move your stuff quickly inside in case of rain or prepare enough waterproof covers to keep your stuff dry.
  • Be on the watch for potential shoplifters or even counterfeit money – it could happen to you too!

Organizing and holding an effective garage sale is an important step that often is the prelude to an upcoming relocation. If this is your case and Moving day is quickly approaching, then it’ll be more than useful to know how to best handle a last minute moving and stay on top of things.

Good luck!


Brian Jamesson is in charge of marketing at Xpress Movers.

He's a dedicated moving professional who provides timely advice to thousands of people to better their relocation experience on a daily basis.

Brian is an author of moving related tips and articles at Xpress Movers Blog that cover topics ranging from how to choose a professional mover to customs regulations and moving paperwork guides. Digg

Comments are closed.