July 27, 2018

Cluttered Garage? Learn the Ins and Outs of Having a Garage Sale!

Desorganized garage

We’ve all been there before – you open the garage in search of something, spend an enormous amount of time digging through boxes and moving around equipment, and probably never find what you actually came in to look for. There’s a solution to that issue. Start getting rid of that stuff that’s cluttering up your garage! A garage sale is an excellent way to go about doing that. Not sure how to pull off a garage sale? It’s not all that complicated, and we can give you a quick rundown to help ensure success.

Whether you’re going into spring cleaning mode, or just want to retake possession of your garage, this is a great option. Of course, you don’t want to toss all of the items in your garage. Many of them still have value and some are sentimental. Go through and take inventory. What can be thrown away? What can be sold? What must be kept?

Here are a few insider tips to help ensure that your garage sale is a huge success.

Is It Right?

Before we go any further, ask yourself whether a garage sale is actually the right step for you. Are you only looking to make some room in your home and garage? If that’s the case, then you might want to consider donating it to Goodwill, or to a local charity. This allows you to get rid of your stuff, and you can make a difference in the life of someone else.

You also need to realize that having a garage sale is a real commitment. It takes effort and time, and a lot of sweat. It’s not a quick process, either.

So, if you want to make a profit on your unused, unwanted stuff, and you have the gumption to go through with the sale, then you’re ready to get started. The first step is to start with the prep work.

Laying the Groundwork

  • Permission: It might sound a little odd, but your municipality might have rules regarding when and where you can hold events like garage sales. So, make sure you check with the local government, or your HOA. You might also need to pay for a permit, depending on where you have the sale.
  • Getting Things Together: Start early and start sorting and separating your items. You’ll want to get everything organized by categories and types – toys with the toys, and games with the games, etc. This can take a lot of time, so start early, well ahead of the event (we recommend a few weeks beforehand).
  • Get Help: Don’t think that you need to do all the prep work on your own. Enroll family members to help, as well. You can get your kids interested by telling them that they can keep the cash for any of their belongings that are sold.
  • Choose the Right Time: When you plan your garage, make sure you choose the right time. Avoid holidays. Avoid the winter months. Avoid the rainy season. There’s a reason that spring is usually the time for garage sales, and it all has to do with the weather.

Let Them Know

Start spreading the word about your garage sale about 10 days before the event. If you have a local paper, you might think about taking out an ad, particularly if you’ll be having a multi-family event. Things to consider now include:

  • Posting notices on free websites
  • Telling friends, family members and neighbors about the event
  • Posting on Facebook and other social networks
  • Putting up signs about the event the day before it begins

As the Event Approaches

You’ve got just a couple of days until your big event. You want to make sure that everything’s ready, so it will go off without a hitch. You have a lot on your plate right now, but try not to let the following items wait until the very last minute:

  • Sort and organize your items. Get everything into some type of order (by type, by seller, etc.). Make sure that everything you’re selling is in good condition. If it’s broken, it’s probably best to throw it out.
  • Whatever items you have, make sure they are clean. Wipe down toys. Wash clothes. Clean dishes. You get the picture.
  • Offer plastic bags to help your customers take their treasures home with them. Grocery store bags work very well. If you don’t have a large collection, enlist the help of friends and family.
  • List everything that you’re going to have for sale, and the price for each item. Add up the total so you know what you are looking at in terms of ballpark profit.
  • Create price stickers – a small sticker with the price handwritten on it is fine. Try to keep your prices even on the dollar or to the nearest .25 are both good ideas. Place the stickers on the items.
  • Small clothes, like baby items, can be sold in bundles to make things easier for you and your customers.
  • Don’t price items by sentiment. Only work with market value. Just because something has sentimental value to you does not mean that it will have any additional value for a buyer.

Setting the Stage

The presentation of the items you are offering for sale is important. Think about how things are displayed in stores – displays are meant to be attractive, and to make it easier to tell what’s what. You need to do the same thing with your garage sale items.

  • Use tables rather than the ground. If you don’t have enough plastic tables, borrow some from friends and family. In a pinch, you might be able to borrow from your church, or rent them. Get your items off the ground and closer to eye level.
  • Don’t sell broken items. We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. If something is not in good working condition, toss it. The only exception would be if it is a vintage item that might appeal to a collector and/or a tinkerer.
  • Keep gaps to a minimum. It might feel natural to just place your items for sale haphazardly on the table. Don’t do that. If there are gaps between items, your customers often think that the best items have been taken and will stop shopping.
  • Tidy the area. Your garage sale will be held outdoors in your yard – make sure that the grass is neat, and the yard is tidy.

The Big Day

The big day is finally here, and you’re all set to make a profit (and get rid of some junk).

  • Double check that the signs you hung up yesterday are still up. Check for damage, moisture-related issues and the like. Have a few spares so you can easily replace damaged/missing signs.
  • Attract attention to your driveway with signs, but also add some helium-filled balloons to your mailbox.
  • Make sure you are out and about ahead of the time you published for the sale to start. Being punctual is important. If you listed that the sale starts at 8 AM, make sure you’re there at 7:45 to ensure that everything is set up correctly.
  • Make sure you have the ability to make change. You’ll need to break big and small bills, and you’ll need coins, as well. Ideally, you should take care of this the day before to ensure that you have plenty of change.
  • You’ll need to haggle with some people. Accept this now.


The day has ended, and now it’s time to retire. Tally up your profit, and put everything away. If some items did not sell, don’t feel bad. You can always donate these to a charity or another cause in your area.

How’s Your Garage Door?

Now that you can see it clearly, you might notice that your garage door needs a bit of a makeover. Contact us at 1-800-244-9253. We’d love to offer advice and guidance, as well as a professional hand with installation. We can even send you a quote by email if you want. Of course, you’re always welcome at our showroom, and you can use both our design center and our image gallery to inspire you.


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