Mom Living

How to Organize and Hold a Successful Garage Sale

Do you have a bunch of stuff you want to get rid of but just haven’t gotten around to it?  Are you at a point in your mommyhood, like done with babies, where you need to clear the clutter?  Maybe making bank on your stuff will give you the motivation to get organized and hold a garage sale.  The task may feel daunting, but with a little planning it really isn’t as bad as it may seem.  I’ve held several garage sales myself, and have been to many sales (it’s a sick hobby of mine) and have learned what works and what doesn’t.  Keep reading to get tips on how to organize and hold a successful garage sale.

how to organize a garage sale


How To Organize

1.  Figure Out What You Are Going To Sell

Think of the areas of your home that you know is overflowing with “stuff.”  Places like closets, playrooms, kids dressers or clothing bins, the garage, never used wedding gifts that are collecting dust.  Focus on one area at a time before moving on to the next.  It can get overwhelming if you dwell on everything, breaking things down into smaller tasks helps curb those mountainous thoughts.

As you go through each area make 4 piles:

  • Toss
  • Keep
  • Donate
  • Sell

Throw away the things from the toss pile.  Put the keep things back where you found them.  Get the donate items out of your house right away.  Put the sell items in a designated garage sale area.  Keep repeating this process for each area you go through.

2. Organize What You’re Going To Sell

Like writing a blog post, start broad get narrow, it’s time to narrow down your garage sale items even more.  It’s a good idea to weed things out that are not in demand, out of date or broken.  It is a hard pill to swallow if you have 10 unused rolls of wallpaper with hearts and sheep.  More than likely people are not going to want to recreate the country decor look from the 80’s (although I hear brass is coming back.)  If you have a printer that’s hardly been used but is broken, not many people know how to fix that.  Got good condition baby clothes that have sat in storage for 15 years?  People are not going to want to buy clothes where the elastic waist bands are shot or have a musty storage smell. Getting rid of things will ensure you will be selling things people will buy.

3. Figure Out Your Price Points

Okay I’m going to rant, this is just my personal opinion, or rather pet peeve.  I can’t stand going to garage sales with over priced items.  This sale is not a boutique, antique store or upscale consignment.  If your goal is to get rid of stuff and make a little cash on the side then do what Walmart does, price low and sell high.  If you want to price things high then find another avenue to sell your things.  There’s nothing worse than going to a garage sale and coming across these scenarios:

  • Finding a name brand piece of clothing full of stains and holes priced at $5.00.  Okay maybe it’s a Nike shirt, but wear and tear doesn’t discriminate.  Both Porshes and Yugos lose value once they drive off the lot same goes for most other items.  Sure some have a higher resale value, but if non name brand clothing is priced at $.50  price the name brand stuff for $1.00, especially if it’s tattered.
  • Pricing used non-name brand items higher than what you could get it for brand new at the store.  For example, I’ve seen Granimal clothing at garage sales for $4.00.  I can go to Walmart and get the same thing new for $2.98.

In summary if things are not priced right you will lose sales.  People go to garage sales to look for bargains.  Make your things priced to sell.  Not sure what what number to put on an item?  Best Garage Sale tips recommends the following:

  • Ask what would you be willing to pay for the item if you were the shopper. An example, for me $1.00 is max I would pay for used kids clothing.  If it were in pristine condition or new with tags, $3.00.
  • Price things lower than thrift stores.
  • Take inventory of other garage sales.  Go to a few sales and look at prices are being used a few weeks prior to your sale or peruse Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace garage sale ads.
  • Price things with room to negotiate.  There are shoppers out there who like to dicker.  If you have something you don’t mind selling for $10 price it for $15.

You can find a lot more detailed information on pricing at Best Garage Sale Tips.

To make the pricing process easier, as in using price tags, I find stickers are the way to go.  You can find nice packs of garage sale stickers at the dollar store.  Easy peasy with peel and stick and you’re done!  If you are combining your sale with other households, each family can pick a color of sticker to price items with.  Then you can keep track of who buys what with the colors on the day of the sale.

Hold A Successful Garage Sale

Now that you have your items priced and ready to go it’s time to set everything up.  This can be fun, think of it as an opportunity to redecorate your garage because you will want to make the sale look pretty.  Presentation is key.  Stores display items nicely and you can too.  Stores also keep their shoppers in mind and try to make things user friendly (well most of the time.)  You want your sale to be organized in a way that draws the shopper in, draws attention to your items and have things easily accessible for them to look through.

1.  Have Enough Tables

It’s best to put the majority of items on tables where shoppers can easily view everything.  It’s also recommended you have enough tables for the merchandise to sit on so it’s not over crowded and jumbled up.  Ever go to a store and see a chaotic mess?  Does it make you want to say forget it and walk away?  If things are just piled up on top of each other your items will get overlooked.

2.  Organize The Tables

Put some thought into how you organize the tables.  Like a store has departments, think of the tables as departments.  Kids clothing go on one table, toys on another, decor on another.

Now within in each table organize the department.  With clothing put items together according to size, like one row for 0-3 month, a row for 3-6 month, etc.  Tape a sign at the edge of the table with the sizes to help lead shoppers to the sizes they are looking for.  Take it one step further and have a girl and boy table organized by size.  Please refrain from dumping clothes in a pile like a load of dirty laundry.  Folding and laying things out nicely will payoff.  Also it may be tempting to just keep clothes in their storage bins but it is a lot of work making shoppers dig through everything.

For items such as household things you can group items together like kitchen wares in one area, linens in another, and decor in another.  As long as everything is laid out neatly that is okay.  I like to take things one step further and set up little displays, like put taller stuff in the back, medium sized in the middle and little things in front of the table.

If are short on tables you could make some with saw horses and planks of wood.  Also save table space by putting large items in front of the tables.  When it comes to toys you an skip putting them on tables, spread those out on a blanket.  Notice how stores put things at eye level for kids?  This display has the same effect.  I love it when moms brings their kids to a sale and they notice a toy my kids hasn’t touched in years.  At .$25 they just have to have it, watch it disappear!

3.  Advertise and Marketing

A week before your sale post ads on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.  Be sure to include hot ticket items that will be there.  You may get inquiries from people wanting to buy items before the actual sale.  That is up to you if you want to deal with that.  Also be sure to include hours and location.  If you have things set up and ready to go you can include pictures of the sale in the post.

On the day of sale you can take pictures of individual items and post them on Facebook Marketplace to draw buyers in who may be looking for just one item and say “available at my garage sale.”  This tactic particularly helped me make sales at my most recent garage sale because it was rainy and cold.  People weren’t wanting to venture out and look at sales but were willing to drive if they knew they could pick up an item.

Get enough signs to put on street corners so people can find your sale.  The Dollar Store sells nice ones for a buck.  Stick the signs on main roads and one one your street corner.

Put up a visual like balloons on your mailbox so people can spot you.  Put large items and some tables out in the driveway so it looks like you’re having a sale.

4.  Include a Lemonade Stand

Who can say no to a cute child sitting at a cute little table serving up lemonade in cute cups.  My kids love the attention. It’s also very sweet  when people throw a dollar into the cup and tell the kids keep the change.  I let my kids keep the lemonade stand money.  It helps smooth things over when they see me put their toys up for sale that they haven’t touched in years.

So there you have it!  Follow these tips and you will be organized and have a successful garage sale.  To summarize the tips are:

  • Go through each area of your house and sort items into toss, keep, donate sell.
  • Put your garage sale items in a designated place.  Weed out those items and get rid of anything that is out of date or not in great condition.
  • Price your items at a an amount so it will sell.  Use stickers to easily mark your items.
  • Have enough tables or other implements to put your items on.
  • Arrange everything out according to departments.
  • Display items neatly so it’s easy for the shopper to view and find things.
  • Advertise your sale on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.  Have enough signs out to direct shoppers to your sale.
  • Include extras in your sale like a lemonade stand to draw in customers.  Post ads of hot ticket items on Facebook to highlight what you are selling and get more buyers.

Now get out there, get organized and get selling!  Stay tuned for helpful tips on shopping at garage sales.  You can find great items at bargain prices if you know where and how to look!

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  • Vox

    Now is the perfect time of year for this post! Garage sales are so overwhelming! Thanks for trying to sort it out for us! ?

  • Jessica

    Thank You so much for this! I am so bad when it comes to garage sales and I’m always all over the place! This will help me be more organized!

    • admin

      I know what you mean about being all over the place. It sure is a lot to keep track of!! Hope this helps.

    • admin

      Great! Hope they help her. The tips I mentioned about sorting stuff to sell I also used for packing when we were moving to our new house. So hopefully it will help with that process too!