How to have a killer Garage Sale


I like to think that I’m pretty savvy when it comes to garage saling, I’ve inherited my grandma’s nose for sniffing out a great deal before I can even see it. One of the things I’ve also learnt though through the past few years is how to have a killer garage sale!

My favorite garage sale to go to is an organised one. Everything is laid out for you to see, you aren’t having to sift through items to find anything. I’m the type of shopper that if I can’t see it when I glance over it, I don’t want it. I don’t have the patience to dig through of box of what-nots in hopes that there is a gem.

Here are some steps and ideas for you to do to ensure you have a succesful garage sale!

  • Purge your closets.

If I know that I’ll be having a garage sale at the end of August (such as I am now), I slowly start going through the house at the beginning of the month and set items aside that I know I want to include in the sale. This means going through all the closets and the downstairs store-room. Why these places? When we’re done with an item, these are the places they usually end up. It’s that whole out of sight, out of mind mentality.

  • Have a pre-sale.

If you have items that you know will be higher priced, post them on your local buy and sell pages. In our area Kijiji.ca and Facebook Buy & Sell pages are a big thing so I make the effort to post my bigger or higher priced items in advance. I’m more likely to get the price I’m asking for by posting on these pages than if I had the item in my garage sale. When you go to a garage sale, you’re looking for a bargain not a dent in your wallet.

  • Organize your items

This is huge if you’re trying to sell clothes, whether it’s adults or kids. Costco actually comes to mind when I think of this. I hate sifting through those piles looking for my size, unless you’re hitting the store up first thing in the morning (when everything’s still organized) you could spend 10 minutes looking for the size you need! I use shallow clothes baskets and keep different sizes in different baskets. That way when people are looking, they know to look in one bin for size 2-3 boys clothes or in the one next to it for size 7-8. People like simplicity.


Keep like items together. Toys and books are in an area, kitchen items another and so on and so forth. People are more likely to buy more if they see like items together. If you have a box of Hot Wheels on one table and tracks on another, chances are you’ll sell 1 or none. If they see the tracks and cars side by side you’re more likely to sell both items together.

  • Price fairly

Don’t depend on a garage sale to make you a fortune. You’re selling used items and people are looking for a bargain, although  this doesn’t mean under selling your items, you just need to be fair. I heard once that 1/3 of the original price is what you should be pricing items at. Again though, if you have something that was never used or used but in incredibly good condition, price it so. For example: My parents bought a mailbox for when they had completed their outdoor reno. Once the reno was completed, the mailbox no longer fit the look they were after. It was still in its original packaging, so dad wrote on the box the original sale price and then marked the price he was asking for it. This allows people to see that they are getting a deal but also not being over charged for an item they may feel is too much.

  • Have a FREE item bin

People love free items, I love free items. This time around I have items like a pacifier clip, empty baby wipe containers, baby socks, & smaller toys (let’s get real, McDonald’s Happy meal toys). These are items that I would have priced at .25 or less and won’t make or break me if I give them away. I’d rather see some kid haul away some small toys rather than toss them.

  • Mark items clearly

If you’re selling drapes, mark how long they are and state that it’s a set (2), same thing for curtain roads, blinds, anything where someone would question the dimensions. Again, if they can see it, they are more likely to buy it. This cuts back on the questions that are asked and you can avoid drawing a blank mind (it happens to the best of us) if you are asked a question. When I’m selling clothes I’ll put a big sign that says “Clothes $2/item unless otherwise marked” This lets people know that unless there is a sticker on it, it’s $2. Easier for you to add, easier for them to see. Shoe sizes get marked before the price so that they don’t have to search and you don’t have to  try to remember. If something is broken or needs batteries, let the person know. Nothing sucks more than getting home and finding out your purchase doesn’t work.


  • Trash the junk

If you have broken toys, clothes with stains or holes that can’t be fixed, or items that are so worn they won’t work even with magic – just toss them. If they are junk to you, chances are they are junk to your neighbor. If you think it’s junk but is salvageable or could be used for parts, put it in your free bin. You would have tossed it anyway so why not give it away for free?

  • Be prepared to negotiate

My grandma can’t buy something at a garage sale without negotiating the price. She’ll pick out the flaw and use it as a tool to lower your marked amount. Don’t take it personally if someone offers you less than what is marked, they’re just looking for a deal. Be flexible with your prices, within reason. If you feel the item is worth what you marked don’t be afraid to say the price is firm. If they really want it, they’ll accept that.

  • Don’t clutter your tables

Lay all your items out so that it can be seen when people are glancing over them. If you’re me, you usually have a list of sales you are wanting to hit up & you want to do it in as little time as possible. If it can be seen, it will be bought. Put your large items along the outside edge of the area you’re setting up & try to avoid putting items under your tables, it makes them hard to see.

  • Promise yourself not to bring anything back in

Once I’ve decided to sell something, I make sure that it does not find its way back into the house. Household items and toys get donated to local organizations like Community Living and the Diabetes Association & clothing gets donated to our local secondhand stores.

Most importantly don’t forget to ADVERTISE. I usually make up a ‘poster’ to post on the buy and sell pages, stating the time, date and address. I usually throw in a blurb such as ‘household items, toys, boys & girls clothing’ so that people have an idea of what is there and hopefully to entice those who may not have thought of going.

It takes a bit to prep for a garage sale, especially an organised one, but the payoff for an uncluttered house is huge.

Happy bargaining!

  • Organizing a Chaotic Closet
    Aug 31

    […] feel like I’ve taken a step in the right direction with the huge purge and garage sale we had last week. Our belongings are less and thanks to a 1×6, some stain and 3 hooks I’m already ahead […]

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