How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MiFabuloso #CollectiveBias


If you don’t already know this about me, let me enlighten you.  I LOVE GARAGE SALES.  My 2 and 4 year old even get it.  They see a sign in the summer and suddenly my truck just veers off to wherever the sign is pointing.  Over the years, I have scored some pretty amazing deals, and am always on the lookout for another one.  {Is it sad that I write about some of them?}  My love for garage sales goes beyond just shopping at them though.  Part of our spring cleaning is preparing for our garage sale.  Our garage no longer holds our vehicles, instead it becomes a multi-purpose space.  Since we have had great success for many years, I wanted to share some of our steps to having a successful garage sale.  How to have a garage sale.

First up, get your garage clean.  And your house.  Our sale opens as soon as I can get the door open in the morning and the people are pouring in until well into the evening hours.  If my house doesn’t start out clean, it’s really a disaster by the end because I am beat at the end of the day.  Multiply that by 3 days and it isn’t pretty.  Getting our garage in order is a big challenge {and I deem that part to be John’s job}. Less is more folks, so I wanted a multi-purpose cleaner that I could use inside or outside or just about anywhere.

Find a good all purpose cleaner.I picked up some  Fabuloso® Multipurpose Cleaner in the lavender scent while we were at Walmart. This way we could use it to clean the garage and the house.  Since it was a big job, I also picked up some Fabuloso Multipurpose Cleaner Limited Edition Spring Bloom.  These are the prettiest bottles of cleaner I have ever seen!

Fabuloso In StoreSet it up.  Utilize as much space as possible.  We have hung a large curtain along the walls to both cover up items we aren’t selling, and give us space to hang some clothing items.  We simply clip safety pins onto the curtains and hook the hangers through it.  It’s a great way to display some of the items we think will sell fast.  It also allows us to spread things out more.  Take this tip from a professional – that’s me – the more spread out things are, the better and faster they will sell.  Last year we were unable to move any tables outside to spread out the clothes for babies and adults, and things were not selling.  The last day of our sale it was gorgeous out and we moved a few tables outside, allowing us to shorten the stacks of clothing.  The baby clothes were flying off the tables after that.  Keep a table close by where you will be for things like jewelry, makeup, electronics, or other valuables you are selling.  As much as I hate to admit it, people still steal from garage sales. We have had it happen before.  If you have space, you can hang a pipe or wooden dowel from two ropes on the ceiling to use as a place to hang clothes as well.  We lucked out and were given 2 hanging racks that we use all of the time.  You will likely have to go through and rearrange, refold, spread out things as the sale goes on and things sell.  This keeps it looking nice and is easy for people to shop through.


Mark it all.  Price everything.  We do a multifamily sale, so everybody marks their items with their initials.  You can use the colored garage sale stickers, but I find that those don’t stay on the items, especially clothes, very well.  I prefer to use masking tape.  We always keep a box marked FREE for things that we don’t want to/can’t sell, but aren’t really garbage and people might want them.


Advertise.  Keep in mind that not all advertising costs money.  We do put an ad into the citywide paper so that our sale is advertised with the citywide sales.  It’s very affordable – $12.  My sister has to work, so she isn’t available to come help run the sale, so she helps out by advertising the sales on Facebook garage sale sites and Craigslist.  She will also type in pictures of some of the larger items on these sites which helps sell them as well.  If you aren’t already a part of them, most cities have garage sale pages on Facebook that you can join for free.

How to have a garage sale.Prepare what I like to call the money table.  Get a spot for you to sit {most likely stand if you are busy}.  This is where everybody will come to pay you for the merchandise they are buying.  You will need to get change before your garage sale starts.  I suggest having a $10, a few $5, plenty of $1’s, and coins {you can skip the pennies}.  We have a money box that we use, but you can also use a container with a lid.  I also keep a notebook handy with a page marked for everybody’s initials so that we can peel off the stickers on things people buy and put them onto the correct persons page.  I always keep a roll of masking tape and a marker or pen handy.  That way if a tag falls off of something, I can make a new one.  I keep some water handy, and maybe a snack.  And sunscreen.  I also keep a hefty stack of bags to put the treasures in that people buy.  We save them throughout the year when we forget our reusable bags.


Put up signs.  Lots and lots of signs.  The more, the merrier.  And the more successful your sale is likely to be.  We have signs with yellow arrows all the way to our house.  Tons of them.  We are not near a main road at all, in fact, we are quite aways from the main roads but we are still successful because there are so many signs.  If you live far from main roads, it is helpful to write how far from the sign people will need to drive to find your sale, otherwise they may just turn around because they think the sign is old.  Place your signs before the turn to alert people ahead of time, that gives them time to get into the right lane if they are on a multilane road.  If you find that business has drastically slowed down, you may want to check to be sure your signs are still standing.  I can always tell when the wind has blown over our signs.  You can also tie balloons to your signs if you choose {so long as they don’t interfere with the visibility of drivers}.  It’s always a good idea to check with the city on their rules for posting garage sale signs.  Be sure to put signs at every turn, on both sides of the road if you can, at the major intersections, and, if you are a long ways out there, in the middle of a long stretch of road so people know they are headed the right way.  Have a sign at the end of your driveway as well.  Be sure to post signs from any direction people could be coming.  We {and by that I mean John} set up our signs the night before the sale starts while we are getting everything situated for the sale.  Often times, we sell tons of stuff that night because people stop to see if we are open.


When your sale is done, pack it all up, call your local donation centers, and let them pick it all up.  Pick up your signs so people know the sale is over.  Nothing is more annoying than following an old garage sale sign.  Then, count up the money.  We do it nightly, adding up every page, writing it on a separate sheet, and totaling it all up.  Then, see if the money you have matches up with what you should have.  At the end of the sale, we tally up everything from the 3 days of the sale and split up the money.  This is also when I divide up the cost of any advertising between all participating families.

Find a good all purpose cleaner.Now what?  Clean it all up again.  Wipe down the tables using the lavender Fabuloso® Multipurpose Cleaner and take back your house and your garage.


*Tip from the pros*  Prepare your meals ahead of time whenever possible.  We usually do crockpot meals or order pizza.  We do sandwiches a lot for lunch.  I find myself to be exhausted at the end of the day and don’t want or have time to go in and cook.

Do you have an annual garage sale?  What are some of your top tips?  What are some of your best garage sale finds?


    • Haha. Us too. And we live out in the country so you could be following them for quite awhile. Nothing annoys me more than driving quite a ways to find the sale is not that weekend.

  • These are great tips. Haven’t been to any garage sales lately but certainly need to get some spring cleaning done in my closets.

  • Thanks for the tips! As someone who shops garage sales more than hosts them, I can tell you how it is much more impressive if the place is clean and organized. I’m mcuh more likely to browse then!

    • I agree! Especially the clothes in my opinion. If I have to dig under piles and piles of unfolded clothing, I will just skim through it and leave.

  • Great tips! I usually bring my stuff to a friend’s garage sale and then help out for the day, I never really have enough on my own to justify doing a garage sale at my house.

    • We usually have 5-7 families with things in our sale so it ends up being huge. If it was just our stuff, I don’t think we would have one every year.

  • Great tips! I’d really like to have a clothing rack! I’d also add that sometimes you’re better off financially donating some (or all items) for tax purposes. Just something to think about 🙂

    • Yes – we donate everything at the end of the garage sale. It’s great to get rid of it and the tax break is nice too.

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