How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale! 7 Proven Tips That Will Make You Bank!

May 30, 2021 | Cleaning Tips and Tricks, Make Money, Organization

You guys know how much we love a good yard sale, right? We basically wrote the guidebook for becoming a yard sale ninja, and today we're turning the tables! We'll show you how to hold your own successful yard sale–these garage sale tips will help you make bank!

garage sale sign, from Fun Cheap or Free

‘Tis the season for garage sales, and while they're fun to shop, they're even more fun to host! No, really. Hear us out! There's no better way to get organized and make a little money at the same time.

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Don't overthink it! We've got a few garage sale tips to share that will help you plan, hold, and clean up after a successful (*cough, cough money-making) sale. Are you ready to get started?!


woman texting friends, from Fun Cheap or Free

Okay, are you ready for the first rule of yard sale hosting? Garage sales are always, always, always more successful with more than one family involved. Did we mention always?!

Ask a few close friends or neighbors if they'd be willing to join your sale or post a message in Nextdoor to gauge community interest! If you're able to host at your place, you don't have to limit your outreach to neighbors. Put feelers out to other moms at preschool, family members who live nearby, or friends from church.

As soon as you confirm two or more other families who want to participate, let them vote on the date. Try to limit the options to two or three. You won't be able to please everyone, so just pick a date and go with it! Next up, time to choose a location.

Pro Tip: Small items sell quickly! If you don't have enough small items on your own, this is where joining forces can really come in handy. Lots of little things from multiple families = a large yard sale of sellable stuff!


Alright, your date is locked in, and now it's time to start planning the rest of the details! Here are a few quick tips to consider as you think about when and where to host your garage sale.

  • Start Early – If you can't start your sale by 8:00 am, don't bother! 7:30-9:30 am are usually the peak hours for yard sale shoppers. In general, 7:30-11:00 am is a good range to expect to be available.
  • Avoid Dead-End Streets Not only are dead-end streets typically low-traffic areas, but they're also tough to navigate. If it's too crowded, people may be turned off by it and turn around and leave!
  • Pick a Culdesac if You Can – Culdesacs, on the other hand, are prime real estate for group yard sales. You can set up your sale in the street or multiple driveways if you get the neighbors involved.
  • Make Sure There's Plenty of Parking – Convenience is king! Make sure your potential shoppers have plenty of spaces to park.

Okay, now that you know when to hold your garage sale, and you probably have an idea of where to host it, let's talk about how to get people to come!


yellow yard sale sign, from Fun Cheap or Free

“If you build it, they will come.” That's true in some cases, but usually not with garage sales! Here are a few tips for marketing the heck out of your next garage sale:

  • List in Your Newspaper  No, we're serious! Most local papers have an option for digital advertisements, so do both if you can. Newspaper classifieds are still super popular with seasoned bargain shoppers, so don't miss out.
  • Advertise Online – Post in Nextdoor, on Craiglist, and the Facebook Marketplace to get the word out! Don't forget to include pictures! If you have a killer, modern, beautiful piece of furniture you're selling, post a picture of it!
  • Re-List Your Ad the Morning of the Sale – If you only list it once, it WILL get dwarfed by all the other ads in peak garage sale season. List it as soon as you wake up in the morning, then list it again when your sale begins. If you want traffic, it's worth the extra five minutes.
  • Give Your Sale a Clever Name – Don't just say “multi-family sale” or “moving sale.” B creative! Call it the “best neighborhood yard sale ever,” then list the reasons why. For example, all in one place, nice neighborhood, many families involved, listed types of items for sale, etc.
  • Describe What You are Selling – Kids clothes? Furniture? Crafting supplies? The more specific you can get, the more it will help.
  • Make Signs – When it comes to signsthe bigger, the better. Make them bright and easy to read. Less is more. Keep the wording simple and straightforward. And put them out the night before if you can!

Got it? Now that you know how to plan your garage sale and promote it, let's prepare for the big day!


Okay, it's almost time for the big day! Here are a few quick tips to help you prepare for a smooth, successful garage sale. Make sure you have these items on hand:

  • Shopping Bags – It's a simple common courtesy for helping people take their new treasures home. Just round up some old grocery bags!
  • Plenty of Change – Most yard sale shoppers pay in cash, so make sure you have plenty of change to kick off the morning.
  • A Chair Trust us. It's going to be a long couple of hours, so don't torture yourself! Bring a camping chair, even if you don't think you'll use it.
  • A Waist Bag Yes, that's right – a waist bag. Keeping your cash in a cash box is dangerous, as is keeping it in your pocket. You want ALL your change on you at ALL times, and just know that you will NOT be able to sit (or stand) in one place the entire time. You WILL have to walk around, and waist bags are all too practical here.
  • Water & Snacks – For obvious reasons…we are humans and need to eat. 🙂
  • A Marker, Paper, and Tape – Mark large items as “SOLD.” People will often pay for an item and have to come back with a bigger car to get them, so you'll want to protect those items.

Pro Tip: Don't pre-price your items. It's unnecessary and ineffective. It's okay to think through prices ahead of time, especially on your bigger things; just don't waste too much time tagging everything. We'll share more on this below in the “pricing/negotiate” section!


rack of hanging clothes for sale, from Fun Cheap or Free

Ready to setup all your loot? Here are some tips for displaying things in a way that will boost your chances of making some good sales:

  • Create a Main Display – Arrange your decor and furniture items in a way that helps people picture having them in their home. Put them up front to highlight the bigger items you have, and impress people when they drive up.
  • Use Tables – Don't lay all your items out on tarps. It's MUCH less desirable that way. Even if you only bring a few card tables or a long table or two, it will make all the difference in the world.
  • Hang Up Adult Clothes – Borrow a clothing rack, or string a rope from one side of your open garage door to another. If they are hung, you will sell more. People don't want to have to dig! Take it a step further and organize by size/gender.
  • Organize Baby/Children's Clothes in Boxes – Organize by size and gender, and note the contents of each box with a big, easy-to-see label. This makes it easy for shoppers and easy for you to haul off items that don't sell.

Pro Tip: Organize your other small items in cardboard boxes or plastic bins, too. For example, toss them in boxes labeled by age “baby toys,” “stuffed animals,” “books,” “DVDs.”


Okay, here's a super important garage sale topic! Let's talk about pricing and negotiating so you can maximize those profits! Here are a few quick tips and tricks we've picked up along the way:

  • Don't Use Price Stickers – If you put prices on every item when people are walking around looking at your things, they will only focus on the PRICE on the sticker. Even if it's only $1 more than they'd like to pay, often they will walk right by. If you DON'T have stickers on, people are likely to pick up the item(s), bring them to you, and ask, “how much for this?” It allows you to then negotiate on price if you name a price that doesn't interest them. See next tip.
  • Negotiate if You Can Tell They're Interested – If someone looking through your clothes asks you the price, and you say, “$3 each,” and they say, “okay, thanks,” and start walking away, that means they don't like the price but were initially interested in the clothes. Capitalize on that! Say, “I'll tell you what, for you, it's $1 each.” They will not only appreciate the deal, but you have most likely hit on a better price-point. That being said…(see next tip)…
  • Don't Price Too High – If you price too high for whatever reason (it's a good brand! It's hardly used! These still sell for a lot in the store! I love this thing!…), then you'll have a HUGE pile of unsold items that you have to pack up and take to the thrift store at the end of the day. Price it RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, sell it all fast, and get something rather than nothing for it. It's a yard sale, for heaven's sake! People are there for the cheapest of cheap. If you want top dollar for something (especially large items), you're better off selling it individually in the on Facebook Marketplace or in the classifieds.

Okay, now that you know how to price your items for success, let's talk about the last step in the whole process. It's clean-up time!


cash from garage sale, from Fun Cheap or Free

We know, we know. This isn't fun! However, these tips and tricks will help make your garage sale clean up a bit easier:

  • Remember, People Will Take Anything That's Free – As you near the end of your sale, toss everything you know you don't want to keep on a tarp or table and mark it “free.” All the items that everyone had been passing by all day will suddenly become the hottest items in town! The less you have to pack up and haul away, the better!
  • Ask the Kids to Help – Your older kids can help you box up items that don't sell, so add that task to their chore chart! #RaisingCapableKids
  • Count Your Cash – If you held a multi-family sale, figure out how you're dividing up the profits ahead of time. And when it's over, count that money and then stash it away.
  • Don't Forget to Take Down Your Signs – Divide and conquer, if you can!
  • Delete Your Ad – You don't want people misreading the date and showing up at your house at 7:30 am the following Saturday!

And that's that! You just held a killer garage sale, so go kick your feet up and think about what you're going to do with that cash.

We hope these tips help make your next garage sale a screaming success! Enjoy the process, and don't over-think it.

Do you have other tips to add to the mix? We'd love to hear them! Leave a comment below.

Image with text that reads "garage sale ideas" from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more tips that help put a little extra cash in your wallet?

Good luck & happy selling!


  1. Addie

    These are really great tips but honestly, I don't know very many people who like going to yard sales where they have to ask the price on everything! I can see how this may be a good idea on large, costly items but I usually walk away from a garage sale without things marked.

    • Jen

      I completely agree. I did a garage sale with a friend at her house. I showed up the night before with all my stuff marked, and none of her stuff was. The next day my stuff was flying! I made a whole heck of a lot more than she did. Maybe her stuff wasn’t as nice as mine… But I would watch people walk right past the stuff unmarked. I will leave a sale if things are not marked.

      • Katie

        I agree. Its awkward when people say “make an offer” because if you low ball it will make them defensive and if you atleast see a sticker with $2 but really only want to spend $1 you atleast know you are in the ballpark rather then expecting to pay a dollar and the person says “$6!!!” when you ask the price. All other tips are spot on though.

  2. Heather

    This is a fantastic post! I also love to yard-sale, and I would love if everyone followed these tips, it would be so much easier! The worst is when people don't put enough clearly marked signs out, and you end up losing track of where you're supposed to be going.

  3. Em

    Not having prices is a terrible idea. I hate having to ask for prices on every single little thing! So does my large group of garage sale friends-

  4. Megan

    Is fall a bad time to have a yard sale? I am wondering if this is all seasonal (hosting and shopping at yard sales) or if it’s year round?

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Depends on where you live! In Arizona, for example, the Fall is the hot time for yard sales because it is too hot in the summer. Here in Utah the weather is unpredictable (and usually freezing) so yard sales are basically done by September. Where do you live?

    • Stacy

      Depending on where you live I guess. I’m in NY, usually end yard sales by the of September due to unknown weather. But if you’re in a warmer climate area, fall would be good.

  5. Becky B

    Some charities if you call ahead will come and pick up the “leftovers” from your yard sale and take it away. All you have to do is help put it in the truck and of course call ahead and schedule when they should come. No more taking several trips to the good will or thrift stores!


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