How to Hold A Successful Garage Sale

Whether you are preparing to downsize your home into something of a more manageable size, or if you are just tired of seeing the accumulation of stuff in your home, basement, garage…. Then it’s time to take some steps to clear it out! July and August are the perfect months with our great weather for holding a garage or estate sale! You have plenty of time to poke around, purge and get rid of the stuff!!

GARAGE SALE: An Easy Overview to Get You Started

  • First of all, garage sales are best done in groups of 2-4 people. It’s a lot of work and you’ll do better pooling your goods and energy with other people as well as attract more peeps! If no one else needs to hold a sale, then bribe your friends and family to keep you company!
  • As you walk through your home, yard, basement and garage ask yourself the 3-W’s: When was the last time I needed this item? When was the last time I looked for this item? When was the last time I used this item? If the answers are consistently 1-2+ years, then it probably can go. If you really really need it in 3 years, you can buy another one. Stop holding onto stuff you don’t need or use.
  • Pick a weather-permitting date. Pretty much anything after July 4th seems to be on target for us Portlanders & Vancouverites! Choose a Saturday and a Sunday and be prepared to be open for biz at 7am both mornings.
  • As soon as you have chosen your garage sale date, schedule the Salvation Army pick up for the Monday following your weekend sale. Be clear on the items they do and do not pick up. Agree with your co-sale-ers about who is responsible to divvy up and deliver any other remaining items and where. i.e. who is going to Best Buy for approved used electronics, who is going to Habitat ReStore for building materials, who is going to drop the unused paint to Metro etc.
  • Advertise it. I have found that advertising my top 10 items in Craigslist with a post for each item (with multiple photos of each item) referencing the garage sales is a great way to drive traffic.Posting in Craigslist is easy and fast.
  • Post it on Facebook and ask your friends to share it. Generate excitement!
  • Be sure to have a minimum of 10 big ‘garage sale’ signs posted at major entries into your neighborhood and at the corners leading to your street and home. And don’t forget where you put them up so post-sale clean up is easier.
  • Gather up supplies well ahead of time: grocery bags are the best—the ones with the handles even better. Save paper bags, plastic bags and all those amazon boxes you don’t know what to do with for your garage sale. Ask friends to save theirs too for you! Pens, permanent markers, bags, color stickers, note pad for tracking sales etc. Also, make a master list of the prices that you tag big items with so the old ‘tags got switched’ doesn’t catch you off guard.
  • Get plenty of change from the bank. As in $300 worth of $1’s, 5’s and lots of quarters and dimes.
  • Decide your purpose for the sale before you start pricing. Are you really ready to let go of this stuff? Don’t put stuff out that you aren’t serious about selling. Getting rid of it early on vs. hauling it later is helpful so price it right the first time and be prepared to barter with people who may buy additional items from you.
  • Borrow as many 6’ tables as possible. Set them up in your garage the week prior to the garage sale. Start laying items out and group similar items together. As soon as you have things sorted and on the tables, you will want to get the color dots and start pricing. **If you are holding this garage sale with multiple people, each person gets a dot. At check out—each color dot goes on it’s own page and is taped to it so it doesn’t come unstuck.  This will help when divvying up the proceeds at the end. Have all of your pricing done and ready before your garage sale.
  • Have a **free** box. And continue to fill it with ‘free’ stuff throughout the weekend. This is another way of getting rid of stuff so you don’t have to haul it somewhere Monday. If there are items that are getting zero attention and you want them gone, put them in the free box!
  • Be ready for people to push back on your start time i.e. if you say 7am, they’ll be there at 6:30am. At 6:55am, your team can pull out the tables from the garage and set up down the driveway either in the middle or on the sides—whichever way generates the most room for people to walk around. Big stuff is easy to pull out and arrange accordingly.
  • Adhere to the golden rule: once it has come out of your house into the garage sale, it does not go back. Anything not sold by the end of the garage sale on Sunday gets donated Monday or is part of the approved items for the pickup you already have scheduled Monday.
  • Pay attention to how stuff looks i.e. re-arrange, consolidate, break down tables as stuff sells. Having your junk look good will help it sell!
  • Smart safety advice: have men at the sale who appear to belong to the house i.e. hubbys, boyfriends, male friends and never agree to meet someone at your house to look at the individual posts without someone there to back you up. Never invite a stranger into your home i.e. have the item in the garage or even better, put it out front prior to the agreed upon time to meet. Don’t answer personal Q’s to someone you don’t know. If you are selling individual items, then meet at pre-designated safety spots near police headquarters with security cameras engaged.

We hope this helps you have a successful garage sale, meet some great people and bank some bucks! Along with the big sigh of relief you’ll experience as you feel the load of stuff you don’t need leaving your house for good!

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