yard sale is a perfect way to clear out the clutter and make some extra cash.  But, you don’t want to toss some items onto a table and call it a day.  Check out these garage sale tips to help you make the most money possible.

Tips for a successful yard sale

It seems that every time I look around my house and decide to declutter, I need to get more and more things!  Sure, you can donate those items, but you could easily turn around and make some money!!  After all, “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure.”

Don’t just toss everything onto a table and call it a sale. To have a successful garage sale, you need to do some prep work.   I have had numerous sales and have netted more than $1,000 on a couple of occasions.  Follow my tips to get the most profit you can from your sale.

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The right day and time is the first step in getting ready for a garage sale that will make you money.  However, it all depends on where you live.

In my area, Friday nights and Saturday mornings are the best times for sales. For other regions, it may be a Wednesday. To find out when you should have your sale, watch for signs in your neighborhood and city.  You can also check your local newspaper for garage sale listings.

Take the time to find out when you have local garage sales as if you can plan your sale on the same day as others, you will get more traffic. Patrons want to hit as many sales as they can on a single day, so work with the best days instead of against them.

As far as the time and number of days to run your yard sale, it is personal preference. However, if you are going to have it on a weekday, try to run it into the evening so that you can catch those people must work as well.



Many times, when you can post a neighborhood or subdivision sale, you can have a larger draw, as people know that they can drive to one area and hit several sales. If you are participating in one of these, I recommend a Seller’s List.

A list such as this is where each household participating provides their address and the types of items they have for sale. It would be available at the entrance of your neighborhood – by the signs – for people to grab to see where they may want to go shopping.


123 Main: Kids’ items, furniture, housewares, misc.
125 Main: Tools, sporting goods, linens, misc.

Organizing for a yard sale



If you walk up to a sale and everything is thrown onto a table, and you can’t even see what is for sale, more than likely, you will turn and walk away. Taking the extra time to have several tables and items split out can yield you even more money.

There are some tips you want to follow when it comes to learning how to organize a yard sale.  You will need to have several tables and will want to place like items together.  For example, you may have a table for toys and one for kitchen gadgets.  By keeping like items together, people can find the type of things they want without having to scan tables of stuff, where it can be missed.

When potential buyers see the pride in how you put items on display, it tells them that you took care of them.  Things tossed onto a pile or haphazardly onto tables have less appeal and will turn those buyers away.



When you are pulling your things out to set on your tables, be sure it is clean. Nothing is worse than picking up a plate with food on it, or a picture covered in dust.

Spend some time wiping down or even washing items before you put them on display.  This simple trick can be the difference between making and losing a sale.



If you are selling clothing, be sure to take the time to launder everything before you sell it. Would you really want to purchase a coat that had chocolate ice cream drips down the front? Probably not. However, if it was clean, you may have more interest.

Take the time to wash and fold everything.  Fold them neatly on tables and sort them by size and gender, as needed.  Doing so makes it easy for shoppers to find what they are looking for and when it is clean and folded neatly, they are more willing to buy.

If you have outfits, take time to press and hang them on display.  Ironing is not fun, but a wrinkled shirt may not sell, but a nicely pressed one will (and often for more money).

I also HIGHLY recommend hanging clothes. Doing so helps you in more than one way:

ONE: It helps your customers to look through all your items without rummaging through a table resulting in a mound of wrinkled clothes.

TWO: It can increase the value of the outfit. By hanging an outfit on a hanger, or folding it together, it makes it worth more to the buyer. It also helps you as all items are already together at the time of the sale, and you aren’t looking over three tables trying to find the matching hat or socks.

THREE: People feel like they are shopping in a store rather than a garage sale.

When hanging clothes, use paper plates as size markers.  Cut a hole in the center and then slide the plate onto your bar.  The more organized your sale is, the more successful you will be.



While you may be willing to negotiate your price, having your entire sale marked “Make Me an Offer” can turn many people away. Most need to know what you are asking. Place stickers on all items so that shoppers know the price.

If you are willing to negotiate, hang “We Negotiate” signs around the space.  People will then know you are willing to haggle a bit.

When it comes to garage sale pricing, check out Ebay or Craigslist so that you can be sure you are asking a fair price for your items. Just be sure you don’t underprice your stuff!



Be sure to set up signs with directional arrows to help guide people to your sale. Place your largest sign at the busiest intersection closest to your house and then set them up every so often down the path to your home, to guide people to your sale.

If you don’t advertise, people can’t find you. I even will put one in my yard so that it helps to just really draw people in.



One of the best tips I have for a successful garage sale is to make sure you have the proper change.  Ensure you have enough ones, fives, quarters, etc. so that you can make change for your customer’s purchases.

So, how much change do you need for a garage sale?  I recommend getting $75 – $100 in change.  But, do not keep all of it in with you.  Set the additional change in the house and run in to get it when needed (you don’t want to tempt people by flashing too much cash).

I also recommend keeping your money in a cash box or even a carpenter’s apron. Never let it sit in the open as it is just too tempting for the wrong person to grab it and run.

Another recommendation I have is that when you start to get a large sum in your box, take some of it into your house so that you don’t have as much available for others to see. Even the person who seems harmless could try to grab and go, leaving you hanging.

Make sure you accept cash only.  You don’t want to deal with potential returned check charges.  You should also be wary of large bills as you don’t want to end up being paid with counterfeit bills!

If someone is making a very large purchase, ask them to make a deposit on the item and they can go and get the cash and then come and complete the transaction.  That way, if they say they want it (and then I don’t sell it) and they never return – I don’t miss out on a potential sale with another customer.



When you advertise your sale will begin at 8:00 a.m., be ready to open your doors BY that time. Many times, people arrive early so that they can find the best deals and if you don’t open on time, you could lose someone who is willing to part with many of your “treasures.”



My final tip for a successful garage sale is to be willing to negotiate prices. Always know how much you MUST make from the sale of each item.  Start high and be willing to negotiate with the buyer.  Simply by pricing it higher, you have wiggle room and come across as someone easy to talk to.

The last few hours of your sale are a GREAT time to help get rid of those last piles of junk that you really don’t want to have to box up to cart away. I will offer a 50% off all marked prices deal during the last 1 – 1 1/2 hours of my sale. It is amazing what you can unload when you say that it is marked down….even something that someone can pay $0.25 for vs. $0.50 is a deal to many, and after all, $0.25 in your pocket is more than you’ll get to have to get rid of it later.

Hopefully, you are all set and ready to make your sale a success.  Oh – and don’t forget about the most important detail — What are you going to DO with all your new-found money!??!

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