How To Organise A garage Sale

This is a question that gets asked a lot more than you may think. Not many people really know how to organise a good garage or yard sale. My definition of a good garage or yard sale is that it is as stress free as possible, that everyone enjoys themselves and that I make a ton of money!

Organising a garage sale is not difficult but it is time-consuming to set up a good sale. While it is possible to set up a garage sale in two weeks, your stress levels will be through the roof. I suggest that you give yourself at least 4 weeks.

The secret is in the planning. In order to make sure that you cover all the important steps and you do not miss out something critical, you should always use a checklist. You can download a free interactive checklist here. This down-loadable checklist covers all the key areas you need to concern yourself with. This checklist differs from most others on the net in that it does not try to put your tasks into time frames. Most other lists will say, 4 weeks before the sale do the following…then 3 weeks before the sale do this…etc.

This can often drive people crazy because they start stressing when they ‘fall behind” schedule. My advice is not to worry about this! As long as you get it all done in the end, you have achieved your objective.

For this reason, I have not tried to put it into these tight boxes. For the most part, as long as you get it all done, all will be well.

HOWEVER, there are a FEW CRITICAL STEPS which must be done upfront in the correct order. Here they are:

1) The first thing is to decide on a date for your sale. This is so that you have a target date to work towards.
2) Once you have your target date, you will need to think about your advertising and start all of the planning for this. This is because the advertising effort often takes some time to execute.

It takes time to design and print flyers and signs.

There is a lead time to book advertisements in the newspaper and other advertising mediums (which we will discuss in great detail in the advertising section)

Obviously you need the date in order to design any advertising material.

3) The third step is to accumulate your inventory. Sometimes it is important to know what you will be selling (or at least a good portion of it) so that you can incorporate these details in your advertising.

For the rest, just get it done.

The checklist has a percentage completion calculator. It will tell you how much you have already got done and then by implication, how much you still have to do. It is a very simple calculator. If you have 100 tasks and you have completed 30, then it will tell you that you are 30% complete and that by implication you still have 70% to go.
You can get access to the checklist here.

If you are serious about running a smooth, profitable and stress free garage sale, check out the Garage sale Blueprint which is  10-part video course which takes you through the process from beginning to end.  You can find mere details at

Here is a summary of the key elements of the checklist:


1. Decide on sale date(s)
2. Decide on sale times
3. Let your neighbours know that you will be holding a garage sale on the designated dates



1. Decide on where to place your classified adverts
2. Check advert submission deadlines with the relevant classified advert service providers
3. Write your classified advert


1. Find out what your local authority rules are regarding signage
2. Decide when you will put up your signs
3. Decide how many signs you will put up and what the direction of the arrows will be
4. Design your sign layout
5. Get your signs printed


1. Design your sign layout
2. Decide how where you will distribute them & thus how many you need to print


1. What other unique advertising methods will you use?
2. What unusual or big ticket items will you put at the entrance to the driveway to pull in customers?


1. Make a list of all the rooms in your house where you could possibly find things to sell
2. Give family members each their own box to fill with sale items
3. Dedicate an area to put all items you wish to sell
4. Note down items you are initially not sure that you wish to sell
5. Make a list of all friends, family and colleagues who you can ask for stuff to sell
6. Arrange a time to pick up the items or to get them delivered


1. Decide whether your sale objective is to make money or move junk
2. Do your market research for bigger ticket items or any items that you are not sure how to price
3. Purchase the relevant labels
4. Print or hand-write labels
5. Apply labels to all goods


1. Clean the driveway, yard and garage thoroughly
2. Clean, polish, iron all of your inventory
3. Clearly mark items that are “NOT FOR SALE”
4. Clearly mark items with defects or warranties
5. Design the layout of your garage
6. Get all of your tables and table cloths ready
7. Make sure you have chairs to sit on!
8. Decide how to safeguard breakables and valuables
9. Ensure you have appropriate lighting
10. Decide on logical grouping for products and hence where in the sale layout you will display them



1. Get a lockable money box which is opaque
2. Get a fanny pack / moon bag with adequate compartments
3. Have a plan to drop your cash when it starts to accumulate
4. Get a paperweight to secure large notes while you are completing a transaction
5. Ensure you have sufficient change


1. Put up all posters the night or morning before the sale
2. Put all large and unusual items in from of the drive way to attract customers
3. Put up balloons at entrance to driveway and throughout the sale and on posters


1. Have enough plastic shopping bags or boxes on hand to help people carry their purchases
2. Have enough newspaper to wrap fragile goods in
3. Decide whether you will give receipts – if so, get a carbonated duplicate book
4. Make sure you have enough people to help on the day of the sale
5. Have dustbins available and have mops, brooms and other cleaning materials handy
6. Consider whether to sell refreshments
7. Have an extension cord to test electrical goods, batteries or bulbs for product testing
8. Put up a sign stating that prices will be reduced on the last day of the sale
9. Collect peoples contact details to inform them of future sales
10. Have a calculator on hand to total up sales and calculate change due
11. Have duct tape and masking tape on hand


1. Pack up all unsold items – take them to auction or donate them to charity or store them for your next sale
2. Clean up your sales area
3. Take down all signs and posters and circulars
4. Have a canopy if you will be displaying items outside to create shade for you are your customers