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Money & Finance
Articles: Money

Hosting a Successful Garage Sale

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The garage is knee-deep in boxes, there's forgotten toys stashed over the couch, and stacks of clothes that seem to grow day by the day... Signs that it's time to have a garage sale!


Start by having a space to store garage sale items. As you add to your garage sale area, box up, label, and stack everything in one location. You may want to price items as they go into the boxes with white adhesive labels. Although you don't need to pack carefully, you will want to condense space and protect fragile items.


As you go from room to room with a box or laundry basket, select items for your garage sale. Items that make a good garage sale are: clothes that don't fit, clothes missing buttons, clothes not worn in the last two years, outgrown toys, toys missing pieces, extra books, items that have never found a home, things sitting in closets, and mistake purchases.

In between now and the day of your garage sale, keep adding items as you are cleaning or picking up the house. This strategy will accumulate your items with little effort.

Clean your items while you pack and when you set up for your sale. Clean, tidy items sell quicker and for more money!


Pick the day and time of your garage sale. Fridays and Saturdays are the most popular. Sundays may be popular if you live on a route to a place of worship. Most garage sales start at 7:00 AM and run to late afternoon. If you have a Friday rush hour, staying open later might draw in some additional sales.


Plan where you'll place your signs. Start at the nearest large intersection of a well-traveled road. The first few signs directing traffic to your sale should list the date and time. "Big Yard Sale" and an arrow on brightly colored paper is the most effective.

Imagine yourself to be the customer. Place as many signs as necessary to direct traffic to your sale. At a minimum, place a sign at every turn. Also position the signs so that you're customers can anticipate turns. If there's a long distance - several blocks - to travel, a sign that says, "Big Yard Sale" and an arrow will let the customer know they haven't missed your sale.

Signs made from the same color will clue a customer in, much like following a trail. It would be a good idea to have a couple extra signs ready, to place next to other garage sale signs that direct traffic away from your sale, or to direct traffic to your sale when someone leaves a neighboring garage sale.

Sale Aids:

You will want to have change ($50 in ones and $20 in quarters), extra labels, a calculator, bags, boxes, a chair, and a secure place for your money. Some extras would be: a table, a radio to play music, and a place for kids to play while mom and dad shop, which needs to be nothing more than a blanket and a few toys, or the toys being sold. Some soda pops - a dark, a diet dark, and a clear - $.50 a can.


Price everything on $.25 increments. Try grouping items: $.25 each, $.50 each, 2 for $.25, and so forth. Everything should be priced either individually or with a group sign. Price a little higher than what you expect someone would pay for it, but no more than 10 or 20%. Pricing a little high will give you haggle room.

Set up:

Start set-up a couple of days early, inside the garage. Wait until the day of sale to bring out items to the driveway. Set up tables, or other flat surfaces, so that customers will naturally walk from one to other. Hang more expensive clothing. Cover or place signs on items not for sale. Group like items, either by type or price. Sort folded clothing by size, type, or price. Spread out items so customers can glance over the tables. Large quantities of clothing will work well tossed on a blanket, but expect to offer a deal - $.25 each, or fill a bag for $2.00.

Day of Sale:

Now you're pumped and ready to start selling! As items are sold from your tables, fill in the holes and spread items thinner. The tables closest to the street should have attractive items - these are the tables that will decide whether a customer will get out of the car. Having friends, or neighbors, or the kids around will be a help. A couple of cars parked near your house will encourage others to stop. Put big bills out of site as soon as you can.

After Sale:

Pack up for the next sale, or donate items to a local charity.

Happy Garage Saling!

Nicole Davis has been attending and holding garage sales since a little girl helping her mother. Nicole is a Big Yellow Box by Crayola(tm) direct sales consultant selling Arts and Craft kits for children. For more information about the kits or how to become a consultant, please call 800-778-3460.