How to Have a Garage Sale and Price Your Items

We helped a family member out with a massive garage sale this past weekend.

There were plenty of negatives which could have got us down and produced a bad turnout: it was tax-free shopping weekend, it was hot, and it rained.

Still, we stayed positive, put in the hard work, and ended up making around $500. More importantly, we got rid of a bunch of unused stuff.

A few suggestions for having a successful garage sale:

How to Have a Garage Sale and Price Your Items

Get Plenty of Rest the Night Before

Garage sales mean early mornings. Certainly earlier than I’m used to. With all the stuff you’ll be moving around all day, you’ll need a good night’s sleep before hand to get you started off on the right foot.

Advertise Your Garage Sale

Use online services like craigslist or your community message board the week and day before to advertise your sale. Be as specific as possible about the items you’ll be selling.

Also consider placing an small ad in your local paper.

Lastly, the night before you should get signs out on all the major intersections leading to your house. Instead of buying signs, just make some out of box tops.

Prepare the Items for Sale

Don’t just have piles of clothes and stuff. Categories and organize your things as much as possible. Get them up on tables for easy viewing. Try to make the sale resemble a retail shop as much as possible.

You want your “customers” to enjoy looking at your stuff. You don’t want them feeling like they have to dig and hunt to find anything.

How to Price Garage Sale Items

Consider pricing your items.

I’m on the fence about whether pricing is worth the time, as some people might be discouraged when they see a price and not make a smaller offer; others may be discouraged by no price because they don’t like to haggle.

When in doubt, don’t price it. They’ll ask. So be prepared to answer quickly with a reasonable price.

If you do price the items, then be sure to be objective about your pricing. A good rule of thumb is to price items at a third of what you paid for them if they are still in decent shape.

For more expensive items it’s worth it to do a quick search online to find out what similar items are selling for on Ebay.

Have Help

Consider recruiting a friend or family member to help you out.

It’s good to have an extra hand in setting up your stuff, and a second pair of eyes for watching people while you do your dealing.

Define Your Definition of Successful Garage Sale

Be honest with yourself about what a garage sale is: you getting rid of stuff you don’t need to make a bit of extra cash.

You’re not going to make a profit on these sales because it’s used goods.

Hopefully by now you’ve received your value from the goods. If not, get ready to pay your stupid tax. Your main goal should be to just get rid of the stuff. Whatever cash you make, in my opinion, is just a bonus.

What tips do you have for garage sale success?

Avatar About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Bright, bold signs that are easy to read with big arrows! Also group items and have dollar boxes etc.

  2. Advertising is the number 1 key. Craigslist usually gets lost in the clutter.

  3. Display your garage items in your garage sale on tables where shoppers can walk around the entire area to view them clearly. They will tend to look for cracks and stuffs and ask for a further discount, you have to got a plan to deal with that, it’s a skill you will need to learn and pick up.