5 easy tips for a successful garage sale

This is a guest post by Alyce from Blossom Heart
We recently sold almost all of our belongings, boxed up most of what was left and the rest was squeezed into luggage and moved to Japan with us. So as you might imagine, we had one massive garage sale and learnt several important lessons about what works and what doesn’t work.

Choose items that will sell.

People come to garage sales for a variety of reasons, looking for many different things. But there are some things that will sell well:
  • Kitchen goods –  All those unused platters and cooking dishes will make a quick buck or two! Sort through all your kitchen cupboards and pull out all the crockery, glassware, platters, appliances and Tupperware you rarely or never use.
  • Books and games – Book lovers and bargain hunters can’t pass up cheap secondhand books! But if the games are missing pieces, mark it accordingly and make it cheaper.
  • Big furniture items and appliances – If they’re in good, clean working order, someone will buy it. Even that 20 year old TV sitting in the back shed will make some electronics-enthusiast happy!

Price wisely.

You might have exactly what people want but if it’s too expensive, they’ll just walk away. But don’t underprice either – expect people to haggle and price accordingly. It is also easier and more time-efficient to bulk price items. Make all your books $2; glasses and mugs 50c. Easier for you and the customer.

Advertise widely.

There is not point in having a garage sale if no one know’s it’s on! Spend a little money on advertising so you can make more money on the day. There are specific garage sale websites for individual cities and states – find the ones that are relevant for your location and that have the biggest usage. Put an ad in your local newspaper/s or put a sign up on a local community noticeboard. In your ad, highlight what you’re selling, especially any big-ticket items. But do not put your street number, just the street name and suburb. Otherwise you WILL have people knocking on your door before the actual day!

On the day of the garage sale, place prominent and easy-to-read cardboard signs around your neighbourhood at the key intersections to get to your house. On main roads, the bigger the better! Balloons will also help attract attention.

Donate the rest.

At the end of the day, some items left may be worth trying to sell through other means like eBay. But for everything else, save the hassle of sorting and packing away what’s left – load it all into the car and take it to your local op shop and give a little back to the community.

Have you ever had a garage sale? What tips do you have to share?


Alyce and her family are living in Japan for 3 years while her scientist husband works at a national laboratory. She blogs at Blossom Heart about her new Japanese life, as well as the occasional side bits and pieces. You can also follow her daily life visually on Instagram as @blossomheartblog, or via Facebook or Twitter.

You may also like


Norlin Mustapha July 2, 2012 - 3:12 PM

Great tips there Alyce. I’ve never had one even when we moved simply because we couldn’t be bothered to get ourselves organised, especially since we had to also fix up our house before selling it. Instead we gave the stuff away and those that we wanted to replace, we sold on Ebay . 

Giulia O'Keefe July 2, 2012 - 8:15 PM

Price everything, especially what you’ve advertised & want to sell; even if it’s a general sign that says “cheap-just ask!” (use quiet times to price what you ran out of time to do).
Rope off entry until advertised start time. It builds impatience & excitement in buyers & they will tend to make purchases as soon as they see something they like instead of thinking about it & just so somebody else doesn’t buy it!
You can’t sell space! Don’t spread out too much. Keep items close & grouped together; stand books so you can read spines, hang clothes in garment styles, label linen in sets, etc etc

Terri September 16, 2014 - 9:06 PM

Have plenty of plastic bags and small change.

Katrina September 17, 2014 - 9:24 AM

Ooh yes! I must have. Thanks Terri.:)


Leave a Comment