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Garage Sale Tips and Tricks

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  By Forrest McCall | Last Updated:  January 11, 2020

Looking for a little extra income to push you through the end of the month?

There’s no better way to do it than with a classic garage (or yard) sale. Not only can you make a few bucks, but you can also declutter your home and get rid of items you no longer want or need. Garage sales offer a little more safety and security than selling items online and bypass the shipping costs.

Keep reading to learn the tips and tricks involved with your next garage sale!

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History of Garage Sales

Garage (or yard) sales started in the nineteenth century when charities started to hold sales for unwanted items to raise money. From there, they have evolved into what we all know of. Whether you call it a garage or yard sale, the concept is the same, selling household items that you no longer want for a low price.

Garage Sale Equipment

Most of the time, garage sales require very few items other than the items you plan on selling. But some people like to be more advanced than others.

Display Tables or Racks

When setting up your garage sale, you’ll need a way to display everything you have for sale (and what is NOT for sale!). You can use a standard wooden or plastic table to display your items. Some people might decide to get a rack to hang clothes for sale.

Price Tags

Unless you want to be harassed by people constantly asking the price of a certain item, you need to have price tags for your items so people know how much they will cost. You can pick these up at your local office supply store or on Amazon.

Cash Box

Where will you keep the cash for your sales? Some might just put it in a cup or container while others will purchase a cash box allowing them to close and lock the box if it is not being watched.


Unless you can do the math in your head, having a calculator next to your cash box is probably a good idea. When adding up many different items it can be easy to make a mistake, so it’s a good idea to have a computer do it for you.

What Should I Sell at My Garage Sale?

Common items found at garage sales are clothes, home decor, books, movies, music, and just about anything else you can find around your house. Whether you want to make $10 or $100, garage sales are a perfect method!

Clothes… Any Clothes

The sweater you bought from Target years ago that you never wear anymore… it’s time to sell it. Even if it’s just a few bucks, this money can add up. If you have designer clothes you can ask for even more money. Sweaters, shirts, hats, jeans, or pants are all great options to sell at your garage sale. Make sure your clothes are cleaned and ironed for a better chance of selling them.


Dress shoes and casual shoes alike are sometimes sought after at garage sales. Pristine condition dress shoes could bring you upwards of $100 depending on the brand. Give them a little wash before putting them out to increase your chance of kissing them goodbye.


If you have any jewelry that is rarely worn, consider putting a price tag on them and letting them go during your garage sale. Depending on the type of jewelry you can rake in a significant amount of money if you find the right buyer. Many collectors search for old jewelry to add to their collections sp ensure that you know how much the jewelry is actually worth so you don’t end up “giving it away”.


Do you have a stack of old VHS tapes, DVDs, or Blu-ray Discs? Well, this is your chance to declutter (and get paid to do so!). Ensure that your movies work and decide on your price before putting them out.

Home Decor

People are weird. We like different things. That fuzzy chair from the 70s that you hate, someone might fall in love with. Any home decor that doesn’t get approached would be a good candidate to list during your garage sale.


Have a pile of books that haven’t been opened in a year? This is a perfect time to get rid of them. Give them a quick dusting, determine the price, and watch them leave.


If you have any tools that no longer get used, they would be a perfect addition to your sale. These items typically have a higher selling price also, helping you make more money.

Children’s Toys

New parents are always looking for a way to get their child a new toy and there’s no better place to do that than at a garage sale. If your children have outgrown some of their toys, put them for sale to earn some extra cash.

Sports Cards

Selling sports cards, Pokeman cards, or Yugioh cards can all be extremely profitable and great items to sell at a garage sale.

If you need to make $300 in a week, selling trading cards is a great idea if you have them. Just don't price them too low!

What day of the week should I have a garage sale?

Garage sales are typically held on Saturday or Sunday mornings. This allows people working throughout the week to attend your sale. You could consider having your garage sale on a holiday morning, but we would not recommend it.

What time should my garage sale start?

As mentioned above, garage sales are typically held in the morning between 7 and 10 am, but this time is up to you. Whatever time you decide to start your sale you should make it known what that time is.

How long should my garage sale last?

You can expect to keep your garage sale open for anywhere from 2 to 4, and even 5 hours. Sometimes people will extend their garage sales if they still have items remaining that they’d like to sell. Ultimately, how long your garage sale lasts is up to you.

How to promote your garage sale

If you decide to have a garage sale, people need to know about it! Some neighborhoods choose to have a weekend in which garage sales happen, otherwise you might be in for a surprise when no one shows up. There are a few common ways people promote their garage sales.


Some people will put up signs around the area listing the day, time, and location of the sale. You will often find these on telephone poles or street signs.

Social Media

The other most common way to promote your sale is on social media. It’s important to mention the date, time, and location of the sale and a sneak peek of the items you will have for sale.


Similar to social media, the Nextdoor app allows homeowners to connect about local problems, questions, or comments alike. You can post your sale on the app for easy access to local residents.

Tips to make more money on your garage sale

Know your inventory

You’ve probably heard countless times of bargain hunters picking up extremely valuable items at local garage sales for much less than they are worth. Be sure to know how much your items are worth before putting the price-tag on them. If you don’t know how much an item is worth, a quick Google search should give you an idea, otherwise, it might be a good idea to keep the item until you figure out it’s worth.

Be firm on your price

If it’s the first day of your garage sale, keep your prices firm in order to sell them for more money. You can always extend your sale and lower prices as you see fit, but keeping your prices firm is a great way to make some extra cash.

Offer refreshments or concessions

If you want to really entice people to come to your sale, consider offering refreshments or concessions either free or for a small charge. Items like coffee, donuts, and water are a great place to start and you can charge a few dollars for each item.

What to expect during your garage sale

If this is your first garage sale, you might be surprised about how people act. If you have a good setup, people might arrive even before your sale starts in order to get “the best deals”.

You can also expect to haggle on your prices. You will commonly get asked if they will accept a certain price that is below the marked price. If it is an item that you don’t want to let go of, mention that you will not budge on the price.

How often should I have a garage sale?

How often you decide to have a garage sale is ultimately up to you and your inventory. If you have items you want to get rid of, or if you need a few hundred extra bucks that month, have a garage sale. Many people will choose to have a garage sale twice per year, once in the fall and once in the spring but it’s ultimately up to you.

Final Thoughts on the Best Garage Sale Tips

Having a garage sale can bring a boost to your income and add a little fun to your weekend. You can use your garage sale to declutter your house while earning a few extra bucks. There isn’t much needed for your garage sale other than the items you want to get rid of and a few tables and price tags. Some of the most common items found at garage sales are clothes, shoes, jewelry, books, movies, and other household decor items. It’s important to know your items worth before putting a price tag on them or else you run the risk of “giving them away”.

Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing expert dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He has a Bachelor's degree in business and has been featured in many popular publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Bankrate, CNET Money, and many others. To learn more about Forrest, visit the About Us Page for more info.
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