Garage sale organization tips and tricks for a successful and profitable yard sale plus free printables. Let’s talk yard sales, getting rid of STUFF and making money in the process!
For a SUCCESSFUL garage sale, use these best garage sale tips and organizing tricks I’ve learned over the years that help me make the most money possible at my yard sale style events.
Updated on February 9, 2024
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1- Plan EVERYTHING
When it comes to organizing a successful garage sale (or yard sale or rubbage sale, etc), the planning part is EVERYTHING.
A garage sale is NOT an event that you set up last minute. Plan your yard sale as early as possible so you can be completely organized and ready on the day of your sale.
Need a Free Planning Checklist?
If you’re JUST starting the planning phase for your yard sale or garage sale, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all you need to do to prepare for before, during AND after your sale.
Good news! I found a free checklist you can click and print right now.
✅ Tip: Print this one-page garage sale planning checklist to get started organizing your garage sale.
2- Get a Buddy (or 10)
Garage sales are not something you want to tackle alone.
Strongly consider recruiting ALL the help you can for not only the DAY of your sale, but the day BEFORE as well.
There are lots of things to get done before your actual sale day, so get all the help you can.
3- Be Findable
Too many yard sale events FAIL simply because the sale location was not easy to find by potential customers.
Have your yard sale in a easy to find location AND have great signs everywhere you can that lead people to you.
4- Signs, Signs, SIGNS
Speaking of signs… you’ll need a LOT of them (well, you do if you WANT lots of people to show up and buy your stuff lol!)
Get creative with your garage sales signs and make sure they stand out and are EASY to read.
Need Free Printable Yard Sale Signs?
Grab these free printable yard sale signs – it’s a pdf file in hot pink and black colors that really stand out.
This blog post also offers free printable yard sale AND garage sale signs, but you have to download them one by one.
5- Skip Trying To Sell JUNK
The best way to prevent potential yard sale customers from stopping at your sale is to have a LOT of just plain JUNK for sale that they immediately see when pulling up.
If it’s true JUNK, just give it away to anyone that might possibly want it or – just throw it away!
What NOT To Sell:
– don’t sell junk.
– don’t sell broken items.
– don’t sell dirty or stained clothing.
– don’t sell fake designer items (unless you are CLEAR that they are fake!)
– don’t sell vitamins, medication or anything ingestible.
– don’t sell ANYTHING with an expiration date.
– don’t sell baby car seats unless they are brand new IN BOX.
– don’t sell used makeup or beauty products (’cause that’s just GROSS!)
– don’t sell already worn undergarments or bathing suits (’cause that’s ALSO gross!)
– don’t sell ANYTHING that could be a choking hazard (ie, small toys, stuffed animals, etc)
– don’t sell electrical items unless you have a plug handy for customers to test them first.
Above all, use common sense, don’t sell junk and don’t sell anything that could become a liability issue.
6- First Impressions Are EVERYTHING
Make sure your most interesting and desirable items for sale are at the very front of your sale location. You want people to pull up and instantly want to browse because they see you have genuinely useful and awesome items for sale.
You most want to attract garage sale “flippers”.
These are people who make it their job to go to yard sales, garage sales and estate sales looking for valuable items to buy cheap and then resell (ie, “flip”) for a profit.
There are 8 types of unusual items that sell the best at garage sales and yard sales because FLIPPERS are out hunting for them all day, EVERY weekend.
Those unusual items “Flippers” are looking for at garage sales are:
– rare books
– retro video games (or ANY video games)
– kitchenware (dishes, pots and pans, etc)
– designer name brand clothing and accessories
– collectible games (think Pokemon)
– high-quality jewelry
– power tools
If you have any of those items, be sure they are well-displayed front and center.
7- Advertise a LOT
In the time leading up to your garage sale, take advantage of any place you can advertise your upcoming sale.
Even consider putting a few pictures of the really cool stuff you’ll have for sale.
Try your local community pages on Facebook or NextDoor, at your church, work…anywhere – just do whatever you can to get the word out.
8- Keep Your Sale Area Clean and Organized
Remember, this is not a JUNK sale – it’s a well organized garage sale.
Keep the area clean and clutter-free… don’t make people have to dig through piles of STUFF… and make sure pricing is clear.
Do your best to have most of your items on tables AND have your tables organized by category.
ie, a table for toys, a table for boy’s clothes, a table for books, etc.
Believe it or not, this makes a BIG difference in your profits.
Having organized garage sale tables by category makes it easier for people to find what THEY are looking for.
Have printed signs on each table that clearly mark the category of items for sale ON that table.
The nice folks at TallySheetApp.com (a very cool garage sale “cashier app” for yard sales) have these free printable yard sale table signs.
9- Price EVERYTHING
People don’t really LIKE to ask how much something costs. Make your garage sale pricing clear and easy to find.
10- Price Your Items To SELL
Speaking of yard sale pricing, be real about the prices you decide on.
What YOU paid for an item no longer matters other than for giving you a general idea of how to price it.
What DOES matter is getting rid of said item YOU no longer want or need – so price your items so they SELL.
A good rule of thumb for pricing items at a garage sale is to charge 10% to 20% of the original price paid. This will help you sell a lot of stuff since people love a bargain – and you’ll actually make MORE money when things are prices to SELL.
If it’s a really great item that deserves a higher than normal garage sale price, or something unused AND unopened in its original packaging, print out a listing from Amazon that shows how much that same item would cost them if they bought it brand new. You can start pricing those items at about 50% of the new cost and then bring it down as you sale winds down to make sure it sells.
Having that “if bought new” price displayed allows your customers to see really good potential deals – and helps sell those bigger ticket items.
Above all – remember: whatever you do NOT sell, YOU are stuck with – so price things to GO.
11- Get Change
Be sure you have low-denomination bills to make change for your customers.
You certainly do not want to lose a sale because you didn’t have the right change to give them back.
Usually, about $100 – $150 in low denomination bills is plenty to handle change at your event.
And – above all – KEEP YOUR MONEY SAFE!
If you have enough help, designate ONE person with the money at your checkout area at ALL TIMES.
Don’t leave your money unattended and make a point to remove larger bills from your money box at least once an hour.
If you don’t have a cash box, make sure to get one with a security cable so it can be securely locked TO the checkout table.
12- Less Than $1? Toss It!
Don’t even bother with pricing any item UNDER $1 – it’s simply not worth it.
But, you CAN “bundle” items TOGETHER with a better price tag.
If that’s not possible – just throw stuff away.
13- Remember Your WHY
Above all, remember WHY you’re having a garage sale or a yard sale… you want to get RID of stuff, right?
Make THAT your primary focus all day long.
Keep telling yourself, ‘EVERYTHING MUST GO!’ and work to get it GONE (with some extra cash in your pocket)!
13- Learn From The Pros
If you want to learn how to organize and run a SERIOUSLY profitable garage sale or yard sale, do what the Pros do to make a lot of money.
That page above has TONS of tips and super helpful advice from those that are true Garage Sale Professionals (and they make THOUSANDS at each sale!)
What About Selling Clothes?
Selling clothes at a yard sale or garage sale COULD be profitable… BUT… it’s all in the display and the pricing.
First off, clothes simply do not sell at yard sales if they’re all piled in a box. They need to not only be in REALLY good condition, but hung up and displayed like in a store AND be organized by size or type to make it easier for potential buyer to “discover” their treasure.
Pricing is everything when it comes to selling clothing. Rule #1 is to NOT over-price these items no matter how much YOU paid for it.
A good rule of thumb for pricing clothing at a yard sale is to set prices at around 10-30% of the original retail value, depending on the item’s condition, brand, and how “cool” it is at that moment.
For example, basic t-shirts and casual pants could be priced at the lower end of this range, while designer or high-quality pieces can be priced closer to the 30% mark.
It’s also helpful to be open to negotiation and I strongly suggest offering discounts for multiple purchases to encourage sales (ie, 5 for $25.00 or something like that).
So yes, clothing DOES sell (especially kid’s clothes that are in near-perfect condition) – but as with everything else you’re selling, remember: the goal is to GET RID OF IT.
More Garage Sale Tips And Tricks
Below are a ton more resources to help you have the most successful (and profitable) garage sale or yard sale ever.
From organization, to display ideas and pricing guides, these resources below are SUPER helpful!
Best Organization Tips
1 – Step By Step Plan For a Successful Garage Sale – 16 of the absolute best garage sale tips on the block with you, so you can have a super successful garage sale – the most cash with the least hassle!
2 – What Not To Sell at Garage Sales (10 Items To avoid!) – As the weather gets warmer, it’s time to start planning your garage sale. But before you put everything out on the driveway, it is important to know what items will sell and…
3 – 9 Garage Sale Tips for the Most Successful Garage Sale EVER – Follow these garage sale tips and tricks for sellers to make your next garage or yard sale the most successful you’ve ever had!
4 – 6 Tips for Staging Your Garage Sale for Best Results – Are you ready to have your best garage sale ever? Consider these 6 tips for staging your garage sale so you can create a visually pleasing display that guests are excited to shop.
Best Garage Sale Pricing Tips
1 – The Ultimate Yard Sale Guide To Make Thousands – super helpful garage sale tips to make the most money possible with tips from the Pros that make THOUSANDS at each sale event they have.
2 – How to Host a Successful Garage Sale – Pricing Guide Tips – The term ‘yard sale’ and ‘garage sale’ can be, and often are, used interchangeably. But, regardless of how you define your sale, they both require the same elements to be…
3 – Printable Yard Sale Pricing Guide – PDF printable with garage sale item pricing suggestions.
4 – How To Price Items For a Garage Sale – After I read these Garage Sale Success Secrets, I learned how to best price items, and other tips for maximizing the cash you make on each garage sale event you have.
Best Garage Sale Display Ideas
1 – 24 Tips For a Successful Garage Sale – Get rid of your clutter and earn some money by having a garage sale! Here are 24 tips for having a successful garage sale.
2 – 22 Smart Tricks To Make $100s With Your Garage Sale – Make money with a garage sale and find out how to hold a successful garage sale with these great tips on pricing, marketing, and set up for sales.
3 – 9 Incredibly Smart Ways to Display Clothing at a Yard Sale – Want to know the best way to display clothing at a yard sale? Check out this blog post which gives you 9 smart ways to organize and display clothing.