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Best Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale

So you’re ready to turn unwanted clutter into cold, hard cash in one of the greatest trash-to-treasure methods of our time: hosting a yard sale.

But before you toss a sign in the yard and throw your old sneakers and action-figure collectibles in a jumbled for sale pile, check out these tips for a successful garage sale—including a step-by-step process for prep work and how-tos for garage sale pricing. Let’s do this.

Tips for Getting Garage-Sale Ready
How to Price Garage Sale Items
How to Advertise Your Garage Sale
Garage Sale Tips for the Big Day
Make a Plan for Your Garage Sale Profits

Tips for Getting Garage-Sale Ready

It’s time to get rid of your stuff and increase your income. Here’s how you can get ready for your big garage sale day:

1. Check for permit requirements.

Before you prep for your yard sale, check your city or county government website for permit requirements in your area. Otherwise, you could be looking at a hefty fine, which kind of cancels out what you’re trying to do here!

And if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, make sure they don’t have any rules against garage sales. (This is serious. Susan from Neighborhood Watch will not hesitate to report you.)

2. Clean out your closet.

You know that closet in the hallway that you avoid? The one you open very slowly out of fear that something might fall on you? Yeah . . . it’s about time you clean it out.

And while you’re at it, go through the rest of the house. If you don’t use it or wear it often (or you forgot it even existed—like the Tamagotchi in the back of your sock drawer), it probably needs to go.

You’re about to make some extra cash and gain extra space. Decluttering never felt so good!

3. Start sorting.

As you’re unearthing all of those tennis rackets, clothes and old board games, sort them into three basic categories: keep, sell and trash. Don’t worry about setting your yard sale pricing right now—just focus on sorting and getting organized.

4. Gather your crew.

Get the family in on the process! The kids can sort things ahead of time and help the day of the sale as well.

You can also team up with others in your neighborhood to make it a muti-family event. If you have more sellers involved, you might bring in more browsers!

5. Set a date.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings are usually the best time to hold a successful garage sale. Consider scheduling your sale on the first weekend of the month—when people have just gotten paid and haven’t spent all their fun money yet.

6. Stock up on supplies.

You can buy simple pricing stickers and blank labels at the dollar store or any office supply store. Or if you want to be really kind to your budget, just pick up a permanent marker and masking tape and get to pricing your items.

You’ll also need tables to show off your stock and chairs so you have a designated area to cash people out (and stay comfortable) on garage sale day.

7. Get ready to accept digital payments.

Listen. This ain’t your grandma’s yard sale. Get with the times, and make it easier for shoppers to buy your wares by accepting digital payments.

Download a free app like Venmo, Cash App or PayPal to your smartphone. Or check out services like Square or Stax so you can accept card payments. It’s true, cash is always king, but taking other forms of payment can help with sales.

Bonus garage-sale tip: Make sure you have a working hot spot if your Wi-Fi signal is sketchy.

How to Price Garage Sale Items

When it comes to garage sale pricing, you’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. What would you pay for that item at a similar garage sale? What would be too much? What would be so cheap you felt like you stole it?

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Here are some garage sale pricing tips for all that good stuff you just cleaned out of your house.

1. Keep your emotions out of your pricing.

This is yard sale pricing 101, people: Don’t be so sentimental about your stuff that you price yourself right out of a sale. Your Pogs collection might be worth a lot to you, but to a stranger, it’s only worth a couple bucks (if that).

Try this range: Price fair items around 10% of their retail price, great quality items around 30%, and brand-new things around 50%. You can always go lower to encourage a quick sale, but if you go higher, you’ll probably be stuck with the item at the end of the day.  

If you need an objective opinion, ask a friend what they’d pay, do a quick online search to check the current value, or check out how people are pricing their stuff on Facebook Marketplace or eBay. You might be able to charge more for certain brands or items that are currently in demand.

If you’re not sure about garage sale pricing, here are some suggestions to get you started:

Garage Sale Pricing Suggestions


Suggested Price

Gently-Used Baby Clothes

$1–3 an item

Well-Worn Baby Clothes

Less than $1

Adult Clothes With Tags

More than $5

Used Adult Clothes






Low-Quality Jewelry


Valuable Jewelry

Have it assessed and maybe don’t sell it at a garage sale

Hardcover Books


Paperback Books


Blu-Rays, DVDs, CDs


Toys and Games


Home Décor


Kitchen Gadgets


Small Kitchen Appliances

No more than 1/3 the retail price

Power Tools


Low-Quality Furniture

$10–50 (a dream for people looking for cheap furniture to fix and flip)

High-Quality Furniture

Around 1/3 to 1/2 the retail price

2. Make prices visible.

Another key in yard sale pricing: Make sure those numbers are in plain view. To save time, you can also group similarly priced items together with a sign that breaks down the cost.

Another option: Use colored stickers and hang up a chart that specifies the cost by color. For instance, green stickers are $1, blue stickers are $5, and red stickers are $10.

Bigger items call for bigger price tags. Don’t make the buyer search for a tiny sticker on that armoire you’re selling. Make it big, noticeable and attractive to the buyer.

3. Bundle items.

It’s easy to pass up DVDs or books at $5 a pop. But if you offer them at four for $10, you’re sure to catch someone’s attention.

Look around for ways to make a deal. If it’s the end of the day and you really want to move your items, let customers fill up a bag with items at a $5 or $10 flat rate.

It’s like those grab bags at the store from when you were little. Maybe the nostalgia of that sweet deal alone will get adults excited to hand you cash for your bundled clutter.

4. Don’t hike up your prices and expect to haggle.

Remember: You’re trying to make extra money here. Set your garage sale pricing so things will sell. Period. Don’t set the starting price high and expect your customers to haggle you down. Some potential buyers will try to talk you down (and I’ll cover that in a minute), but many will walk away from big price tags—and you just lost a potential sale.

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Don’t overthink your garage sale marketing too much. Grab some blank posters and balloons from the dollar store. Post signs at both ends of your street and at nearby busy intersections where a driver can easily read them.

If you want to advertise in the local paper or church bulletin, do it at least a week in advance. Or post about your event online on Yard Sale Search, Garage Sale Finder, Facebook neighborhood groups, or Facebook Marketplace. (Who knew Facebook could still be useful?)

But remember: Keep it simple and don’t stress. If you build it, they will come.

Garage Sale Tips for the Big Day

Now that you’ve set a date and priced your stuff, it’s time to sell! Here are some garage-sale tips for the day of the sale:

1. Have some change on hand.

You don’t want to lose a sale just because you don’t have some spare George Washingtons floating around (that’s single dollar bills, folks). Have enough small bills and coins on hand to make change for your cash-paying customers.

2. Know how to negotiate or haggle.

Everyone wants a deal (who doesn’t?). Like I talked about earlier, when you set your garage sale pricing, avoid the strategy of setting super high prices and expecting to haggle with all your customers. But some customers will want to negotiate, so be ready for it! Just stick to your guns if the price gets too low. You’re not giving your stuff away! Well . . . not yet anyway.

3. Make it appealing.

If you really want your stuff to sell, you’ve got to make it look nice. And don’t forget to make sure it still works!

  • Clean the dust off of older items.
  • Wash clothing and fold it nicely or hang it up.
  • Display clothing as complete outfits if possible.
  • Place a mirror near the clothing and accessories.
  • Fill bicycle tires and basketballs with air.
  • Scrape the mud off your kid’s old soccer cleats.
  • If something needs batteries to run, fill it with some half-used batteries (or even new batteries if you want to be a hero) so the buyer knows it works.
  • Keep an extension cord handy for buyers to test out appliances or other electronics that need an outlet.

It might seem silly, but going the extra mile can really be the difference in making a sale or losing one.

4. Set up your stuff.

The morning of the sale, get up early and do a little setting up. Keep it organized, clearly priced and easy to sort through. And don’t forget to stock your check out area with grocery bags and newspaper to wrap up fragile items.

Those small touches will go a long way!

5. Get your family involved.

If you have a teenager, you know it’s hard to get them excited about most things that happen early on a Saturday morning—let alone a garage sale. So, why not cut them in on the profits?

Make a deal with your teen: If they gather up their unwanted items to sell, you’ll let them keep whatever cash they make. Is this just a secret plan to get your teen to clean their room? Absolutely. Shh. I won’t tell.

If you have younger kids, get them involved by letting them set up a little side hustle like a lemonade stand or bake-sale booth. Who can resist a pint-sized entrepreneur offering refreshing pints of lemonade on a hot day? (Hydrated, heartless monsters, that’s who.)

6. Be safe.

Most shoppers are well-meaning people just out looking for a good deal. But the reality is, you’re still letting strangers shop on your property. Here’s how you can have a safe and successful garage sale:

  • Keep the doors of your house locked during the sale.
  • Don’t let anyone into your house. (Keep a pitcher of complementary water outside and point them in the direction of the nearest gas station if they need a bathroom.)
  • Be on guard when it comes to all that cash too.
  • If someone makes a purchase with a large bill, give it to a family member to take inside for safekeeping.

7. Sell unsold items online.

If you still have some higher-dollar items left at the end of the day, sell your stuff online!

Post photos in your community’s Facebook group, list items on Craigslist or eBay, or share them on apps like Swap, OfferUp and VarageSale. Consider selling clothing on places like Poshmark, ThredUP or Kidizen (for baby clothes and kids’ accessories).

Just be sure to always include pictures. And research similar items before you price yours so you can get an accurate idea of what to ask for.

8. Donate or trash the rest of the unsold items.

Everyone has leftover stuff after a garage sale. You will too. If you’re sick of looking at it and don’t want to haul it all back inside, it’s time to donate.

Ask a friend with a truck to help you haul the items to a local thrift store or charity. If you don’t have a friend with a truck, schedule a donation pickup.

And if an item is too used to donate, put it in that big bin at the end of your driveway (aka your trash can). Don’t feel bad—those things served their purpose, and you don’t need the clutter.

Make a Plan for Your Garage Sale Profits

If you use these garage sale tips, you should have a successful yard sale from start to finish.

But remember: The more time you take on the front end to prepare, market and organize your stuff, the easier (and more profitable) your garage sale will be.

And once the hard part’s over, you can count up your profits and put that money to good use—with a budget!

That’s right. You don’t want to accidentally spend all that money you worked so hard to earn. Go ahead and create your budget for free with EveryDollar. Then, add that extra cash into your budget and put it toward your current goal.

You’ll have a plan for your money and less clutter. I’ll call that a win. Happy garage sale-ing, my friend!

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George Kamel

About the author

George Kamel

George Kamel is the #1 national bestselling author of Breaking Free From Broke, a personal finance expert, a certified financial coach through Ramsey Financial Coach Master Training, and a nationally syndicated columnist. He’s the host of the George Kamel YouTube channel and co-host of Smart Money Happy Hour and The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk radio show in America. George has served at Ramsey Solutions since 2013, where he speaks, writes and teaches on personal finance, investing, budgeting, insurance and how to avoid consumer traps. He’s been featured on Fox News, Fox Business and The Iced Coffee Hour, among others. Learn More.

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