How to Organize a Garage Sale | Long Distance USA Movers

How to Organize a Garage Sale – Tips and Tricks To Make the Process Easier

Whatever the reasons for organizing it may be, you need to introduce yourself to the “rules of the game” if you want to know how to organize a garage sale.

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With the right preparation you'll sell everything you don't need

It is usually organized when you are moving from one home to another, when downsizing or doing a big decluttering project. Or if you inherited or bought some property with the furniture and appliances included. This is an easy and profitable way to get rid of the unwanted stuff or replacing it. Whether you are moving or not, you wouldn’t want to just toss things in a pile. Here are some of the best tips and tricks to put you on a path to success.

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How to Prepare For a Garage Sale

Before you start, there are a lot of preparations required. You have to pick a date and advertise what you intend to sell. You have to search for the things you want to sell and make an inventory list, organize your things, and buy the necessary supplies. Proper preparation means that you’ll only have to set up your stuff on the actual day of the event.

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What is the Best Time?

Every community has its own rules regarding what days are the busiest ones, and you want to avoid them. Usually, it’s Friday afternoon and Saturday and Sunday morning that is the best time for this event. You wouldn’t want to overlook the weather since rain can ruin this project. In some communities, during summer, a lot of people go away for the weekend.  Your best bet is to pick the middle of the week in these situations.

Another thing to think about is when people have the most cash on their hands.  That’s usually the beginning of the month when they collect their paychecks. As for the time of the year, it is best to organize these events in late spring or early autumn.

How to Advertise?

As for anything these days, you do need some kind of advertising. There are a few ways to advertise your event, and they can be free or paid for. You can advertise on your community Facebook page or through Craigslist. You could also print flyers to put up around your neighborhood or advertise in a local newspaper. There are a few specialized forums online that you can use for advertising like Garage Sale Hunter and Yardsale search. 

Your add should include general information like what time does the garage sale start and finish and what is your address (add the instructions on how to find your place if they are needed). It is not a bad idea to include your most prized stuff on the top of your add because they will attract the attention you need. The things that usually attract the most attention are furniture, appliances, collectibles, and kids’ stuff.  Keep your add short and on point.

How to Choose the Right Items?

Start with decluttering. Search all the parts of your house. Your basement, all the rooms, the storage, and the attic if you have one. See what you didn’t use or wear for a long time. If more than a year passed since you last used certain items, that is a sign that those things have to go. If you are sentimental about particular things, put them aside. You should only sell stuff that you no longer find a use for. Make the inventory list of the belongings you want to sell, go through it a few times and make some adjustments if necessary. Once you complete the inventory list, it will be easy to sort out what is to be sold, what is trash and what you want to keep. Go through the list carefully because once you sell or throw away an item, there is no way back.

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How to Organize a Garage Sale –  First Gather the Supplies

You need price tags, packing boxes, paper, and plastic bags to start with. You can find those tags and paper goods in your local dollar store or office supply stores. If you want to spare a few bucks, you can write the prices on the piece of paper and search for old boxes and bags through your house. 

Think about the setting. What do you need to display your things like tables, chairs, or even sturdy boxes? Don’t forget about the mirror so that buyers can try on the things they want to buy. An improvised changing booth is not a bad idea either. If you are selling a lot of electronics, you should have an extension cord so that buyers can plug in the appliances and see how they work. And last but not least, have your designated spot where you will sit and charge for your stuff.

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Tips on How to Organize Your Items

Consider your garage sale as a pop-up store and envision it like one. You should organize different sections in the place where you sell your things. Think about it like a big Home Depot or all-in-one store. The best way to organize things according to where they belong. Make a section for kitchen, wardrobe, living room, kids room, maintenance appliances, etc. You can also organize according to groups: furniture, electronics, clothes and shoes, accessories, toys, kids’ supplies and clothes, collectibles, etc. It is important not to scatter it around without order. It should be easy to search for particular things in one place.


You shouldn’t just put up any clothes to sell. You should sort out clothes that are wearable and throw away the ones that are not usable. Be sure to wash and iron your clothes before you put them on display. The better the state off your clothes, the higher the price they are sold for will be. No one wants to buy messy and dirty clothes. 

Clothing racks are also handy. You can hang more delicate garments like dresses, shirts, and suits. Always hang every item on a separate hanger. Organize your clothes as neatly as possible, according to season (summer, winter, spring and autumn clothes), by type (dresses, skirts, shirts, jackets,etc.) and by gender and age (female, male and children’s clothes). It is good to have a full-sized mirror and an improvised changing booth nearby. Customers usually like to try on clothes before they buy them. There are some things you should keep close by or within the clothes section. Things that typically go with clothes are shoes, bags, jewelry, accessories, hats, etc.

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The same thing goes for your furniture. You can put up any furniture to sell, but you’ll probably end up without selling the distressed and damaged pieces. Get your furniture as clean as possible and set it up according to the type, or the rooms which it belongs to. 

Now strategy comes into play. Place your best looking and most prized belongings in the center and scatter the less appealing ones around it so that buyers have to pass them by when they go for the best pieces. You can also create “buy one – get one free package,” which will make some things more appealing. Think about populating some furniture with decorative elements – put cushions and covers over the bed, put small figurines and vases on the table, while positioning pots and pans on the kitchen furniture. That way, you’ll end up selling most of the stuff the way it is, with all the decorative pieces you put on. 


Almost always, broken or damaged appliances are a no-go. If you have very expensive devices that are damaged, someone might consider buying them and investing in their repair. It is easiest to organize them all in one place. Have an extension cord so that customers can check them up before buying them. Pay special attention to kitchen appliances and clean them thoroughly from any grease and residue. Appearance is the first thing that catches the eye.

Bulk Stuff

Certain things are best sold in bulk. Arrange bundles off your DVDs, some of your books, smaller jewelry, dinner sets, glasses, etc. Fill baskets or boxes with these smaller elements and offer, let’s say, five pieces for ten bucks. it will save you time, and people tend to buy more of this stuff in bulk.

Things for Children

Put all the things for children like clothes, furniture, toys, and books in one place. Moms tend to be very picky when they are buying stuff for their kids. Take special care of the cleanliness of the stuff for the children you sell. Also, position the stuff properly. Put the toys visibly on display so that kids can see them, arrange the clothes on hangers and according to size and gender. The only time when you should put all those things in bins and sell them in bulk is when they are not in the best condition.

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How to Set up Shop and Start Earning Some Money?

If you did all the things above correctly, the only thing left to do on the day of the actual sale is to mark the sales area, put up the signs pointing towards your yard and set up your inventory. 

Arrange your display so that everything will be visible and neatly stacked. Put your furniture and bigger stuff more in the back because they can hide the rest of your things if you put them in front. You can put all the kitchen furniture, appliances, and smaller elements in one place, and the kids’ stuff in the other. Display your living room stuff separately, as well as clothes, shoes, and accessories. 

Try to optimize the way you showcase your articles. Utilize parts of your furniture as a display for the smaller stuff. But be careful not to overcrowd it since you’ll have to take off your smaller items if you sell your furniture first. 

Organizing your yard or some enclosed space can prove to be quite challenging. That is why you should try to visualize your presentation in advance. If you don’t have enough display tables or boxes, try to borrow some from your friends, family or neighbors. Try to be friendly with all your customers. They tend to be more relaxed if you warmly greet them once they arrive. Also, expect a lot of questions concerning the things you are selling and be patient and prepared to answer them. This type of sale is very personal, and people will give themselves the liberty to ask you anything about the things you are selling.

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How to Set Price For Your Things

When pricing the items to sell, you should try to be objective. Offer them for a third or a quarter of the actual price of a new piece. If you overprice your stuff, you’ll likely not sell it. If you have trouble with setting an objective cost, ask your friends to come over and help you. Ask them how much they would pay for something. 

While there are no general rules, there are a few tips on how to estimate the average cost of certain things. You can sell your clothes for anything between one and fifteen dollars. It all depends on the condition they are in and what part of the clothing you are selling. 

  • Baby clothes and smaller pieces of clothing go for one to three bucks the most. 
  • Jackets and better-preserved clothes can be sold for more. 
  • Furniture prices go for a third or a quarter of the original cost. 
  • Books and jewelry can range a lot, but we are guessing you won’t sell your most prized possessions. 

You shouldn’t set up your prices too high and expect your buyers to bargain them down. Some customers don’t have time or don’t want to bargain. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t haggle. If a buyer is interested in buying more stuff, offer them a better deal.

Don’t Run out of Change Money

Always have spare change cash on hand. You wouldn’t want a potential buyer to turn back because you have no spare change to give back. It is best to accept only cash because people can manipulate checks and you can’t check them on the spot.

Keep the Price Tags Visible

All the things should have a price tag on them, or if you are selling them in bulk, the tag should be in front of the box. This will save you time because you won’t have to answer for every small thing, and keeping things transparent will reassure your customers about your honesty.

Safety Tip

Although this is usually a close-knit neighborhood event, if you advertise publicly, you may attract some unwanted visitors. That’s why you should mind the safety of your home. Lock the doors and close the windows because you might not be able to control the crowd around your house. Keep the money from the sales close by, maybe in your pockets or a money box that you’ll always have in sight. It is better to be safe than sorry, so every safety precaution is necessary for this event to be stress-free. 

Make It a Family Project

It is not a bad idea to ask your family and friends for help during the event. You should have someone you trust to assist you not just to set up and organize but to oversee the whole event. There should be someone taking care of the other buyers while you charge for the sold things,   or while you are showing things to potential buyers. Also, this event can last for a whole day, and you should never leave your things unattended. 

What to Do with Things That You Didn’t Sell?

Unless you have crazy success, you will have to deal with the leftovers. The worst thing you can do with the things you didn’t sell is to put them back in your house. Research the options for disposing of your unsold stuff. You can donate it, transport it to a scrap yard, sell it on Craigslist or similar sites, or give it away to your friends, family, and neighbors. You can also deposit it in a storage unit. As we already mentioned, the important thing is not to take it back to your home.

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While you can’t expect to earn a fortune in your yard haul, you can earn some money that you can redistribute, which can come quite handy if you are moving. Depending on how much stuff you are willing to sell, you will save a lot of money you would otherwise spend on transporting those things to your new home. Your earnings can even cover a good deal of your relocation expenses. In any case, you can engage the same company that does the moving part to take care of the transportation of your leftover things from the yard sales. Contact our company for more details about storage, transportation, and other moving services and get a free quote.

Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

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