Garage Sale Tips & Strategies For Homeowners

When was the last time you were able to park your car in your garage? Like most of us, it’s about time you let go of some things and cleaned out your garage. This article will help you plan a garage sale and sell some of the used items you stored in your garage, closets or at a storage unit.

Garage Sale Permits

Most cities require you to maintain a permit when holding a garage sale. If you don’t, you might get a friendly visit from a city representative the day of your garage sale offering a warning or to have you shut down the garage sale. The best way to ensure you follow the local regulations is to check your cities website. They will post information for renters and homeowners planning a garage sale. If your city doesn’t have a website, simply drive down to their offices or call them to find out about garage sale permits. For the most part, the paperwork is minimal and the fee is around $5-10 depending on where you live. Be sure to look into this a few weeks before the date of your garage sale.

The Early Risers

There is a large group of garage sale aficionado’s that like to grab the bargains as the sun first rises. Depending on when the official sunrise is, be sure you are setup nice and early in order to catch these early risers as they drive around the neighborhoods looking for garage sales.


Unless you are planning to liquidate everything you put out for your garage sale, you don’t necessarily have to take the first offer price you hear. Most buyers will be looking for absolute steals, which often comes at your expense. Be sure to counter their offer with one more suitable to your sale needs.

With this in mind, it is probably good to have some idea of the items value. If you overprice items, they will never sell and most interested buyers won’t even make an offer. If you undercut the price for the item, it will likely move quickly, leaving you with less money in your pocket. Research potential item prices ahead of time, especially for large items or items that you might think have more value. Be sure to watch the History Channel’s, Pawn Stars, and see how they handle the negotiating. It’s worth learning how to handle the negotiation process and see what will likely end up being a fair price for you and your garage sale buyer.

Go Through Boxes

I cannot think of the number of times I mislabeled a box of items. It says it’s Christmas stuff, but I found baseball cards. Be sure to thoroughly check any and all boxes you think you might have some good things for the garage sale. This will also be the best opportunity to plan out the items you wish to sell and begin thinking about potential prices.

The Setup

It’s always easiest to simply throw everything on a blanket and let the buyers go through it. This might hide some items you could have sold, so it’s best not to do it. Make sure you setup up everything in an orderly fashion. This might include putting valuable items on tables, so they are closer to the buyers eye level, or it might mean organizing items by price. The easier it is for everyone to go through the items, the easier it will be for you to sell them.

One of the biggest no-no’s is throwing a blanket down over your wet lawn, and tossing clothing items on top of them. How will you sell the clothes if everyone is focusing on them being wet? If you have some way to hang clothes, say on a rack, this would be preferred.

Making Change

Always, always, always have enough coins and small bills to make change. If you sell a fifty-cent item, the buyer obviously gets fifty-cents back, so have the necessary change available. It is usually best to start the day with around $50-100 in small bills and change. Throughout the garage sale, you will likely be paid in fives, tens, and twenty dollar bills, so you will need to have enough change available.

There is nothing worse than not being able to sell an item because you couldn’t produce fifty-cents worth of change. Don’t worry though, if you end up in this situation, try offering to package the item with something else they might be interested, hopefully making the amount an even dollar amount.

End of Day Deals

For those that wish to liquidate everything they put out for sale, the end of day is not necessarily the best time to do so. Usually, the traffic to your sale has decreased, so you might consider offering packaged deals earlier in the day. This might mean offering five shirts for two bucks or something similar.


There are serious garage sale buyers that will simply drive-around neighborhoods on Saturdays looking for garage sales. It usually is a good idea though to make some effort in pointing potential buyers to your sale. This might include posting an ad on a classified website or paying for a small ad in your local newspaper.

In addition, signage is a great way to direct people to your garage sale. Make sure the signs are readable and posted in locations where the most traffic occurs. This is typically just outside the bounds of your housing development. Always remember to take down your signs at the end of the garage sale.

With these garage sale tips and strategies in mind, I wish you all the best on your next garage sale.

Do you have some additional garage sale tips or strategies? Share them in the comments section below.


Frugal Buzz