How to have a successful garage sale

T
wo weeks ago I had a big yard sale. I hype it up on social, posted on social channels and groups and even the Next Door App and invited my friends to come by and sell their things!

I made $1200 that day. It was a good day.

I know, it was the most I ever made, but I made that much because I had the most to sell and there were some furniture items that were pretty big ticket. Not everything I wanted to sell sold at the price I wanted, and some people will take a sticker off one object and put it over another sticker!! I am so shocked that people will even do that price tag swapping at a garage sale to save $2. But, it’s not worth my energy to freak out over, that’s on them.

I thought I’d share what I decided to sell and how I priced items to get such a good amount. I’ll also share what didn’t really sell and why I think that is. So hopefully this post will encourage you to have your own sale – and invite some friends, REALLY the more the merrier.

How to manage a group garage sale

  • Pick the date that will primarily work for you, if you are hosting.
  • Then invite friends to see who will join.
  • Have everyone be in charge of their own things and use chalk to square off their sections.
  • It’d be a good idea to use different tags for colors or whichever colors each person uses or buys.
  • Have everyone post where they think will get some eyeballs – their personal social media, their own communities.
  • Post on Facebook groups and your social and Next Door App to fellow neighbors and make sure it says “GROUP garage sale”

How I decided what I was going to sell

Probably the most important decision is deciding what to get rid of. Since this was at my house I didn’t have to worry about what would fit in my car, I only had to move it out to my garage!

  • Anything I was “meh” about – furniture, clothing, accessories I looked at. If getting a few bucks in exchange for it is worth it and I get my space back, then I put it out!
  • Deciding if that item was what I wanted to present to the world. In terms of clothing, accessories, and or even home decor – if I didn’t like how I wanted to present myself no matter how cute, pretty or expensive it was, it didn’t feel like me so out it went to the garage. I’m changing my style and it was time to swap the items for cash to buy what was more “me” today.
  • The items that have been sitting there out of guilt – because one day I’d use it (but never did) or I felt like I overspent on it and having it in my possession longer would justify the cost by the breakdown of ownership days (it doesn’t).

How to price your items

I have to preface that a lot of my things were not necessarily thrift store items (though the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure and some of us still think our items are treasure when they really are junk LOL). But really, I think I had some good stuff, new things, recent things and clearly since I sold so much of it, it proves that it was!

  • I had a $1 box and I didn’t tag any of it. Just threw it all in there.
  • Housewares, tagged usually $5 each or 5 items for $20 as an incentive to get things gone.
  • Clothing varied –
    • Cheap clothing $7 each or under
    • Clothing valued over $100 were priced at $25 each, or 2 for $45, or 2 for $65 to encourage people to buy more! Each items after 3 would be $20 each. Now these are Free People, Lilly Pulitzer, J.Crew like NICE worn once items.
    • Not a lot of these expensive items sold, because of my small frame, that is a hard thing to sell when it comes to size – shoe sizes too!
  • I had a $2 bin
  • I also had a $5 bin
  • For the bigger items, I would print out the page on the internet to show the actual price to justify my $80 or $40 ask. That was helpful.

Additional Garage sale tips

  • Is your goal to make money or get rid of it? Mine was to get rid of it – so I priced accordingly. The products I didn’t want to just get rid of, I priced it knowing that if I got that price I would be satisfied.
  • Make signs on colored paper so people can see what pricing is
  • Put expensive items by you to make sure people don’t steal them
  • Put tape over the sticker prices if you are afraid of people swapping the tags – but is it worth doing it for hundreds of items when they will swap it to save $2? Maybe not.
  • Don’t let it come back into your home!! When the sale is done, load up a car, drop it off to be donated to bless someone else, an organization or a single mom in need.
  • Print out your Venmo code on paper so people can scan it easily and pay you with it!
  • Or, if taking cash (which we also did) have lots of change, go to the bank ahead of time.
  • Don’t price anything with change, it’s a pain to handle and add up.
  • You know those extra shopping bags you are keeping for a rainy day? Bring them all out so people who buy a lot can have a bag to put them in! It also helps you identify who has paid.
  • Enlist help for checkout and have them install the Venmo app on their phone (like your hubby).

Remember at the end of the day, getting rid of items you feel MEH about and decluttering your home is worth it no matter how much you make. And, if you spend the day selling with friends, it’s never time wasted! Have fun at your next yard sale.


Diana Elizabeth feels like she should have another garage sale but it was so much work setting it up and “marketing” it. But, maybe now she’ll donate it to the local Dove Thrift Store, which is what she did after the yard sale and she saw some of her goodies there the week after and then went yesterday and most of it was gone which is fantastic!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.

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