Ideas for garage sales

In this page I am going to discuss some different and creative ideas for holding garage or yard sales. This section is not intended to be a lesson on how to set up or organise a garage sale. For that please see how to organise a garage sale

The idea of this post (if you will excuse the pun) is intended to give you ideas related to garage sales and yard sales that you may not have thought of or that will help you with your next sale.

Ideas to make money with garage or yard sales

Many people just hold garage sales to clear out junk. The average takings at a garage sale are only $400. Personally I believe that you should make at least $1,000 profit if you are going to go to all the trouble of holding a garage sale.

To do this you do not only have to sell your own stuff! There are many people who do not bother with garage sales because they either do not know how to organise one or they just could not be bothered. So sell their stuff for them!

You could make a very good full time or part time income doing this. I never sell other people’s junk for less than 50% commission. Many times, people will just give me their stuff because they are too happy for me to take it off their hands. I always try to sell at least 2-3 people’s stuff at any given sale. If I sell 3 people’s stuff and I get 50% from each one, I get 150% (50% x 3). This is like holding 1,5 of my own garage sales for free!

If you want an excellent program to teach you how to do this, check out

Ideas relating to when to have a garage or yard sale

The date you choose for your garage sale is very important if you really want to make a lot of money. Don’t just pick and arbitrary date.

Try to think when the people in your neighbourhood will have both the TIME to come to your sale and the most MONEY available to spend with you!

This means that you will probably want to hold the garage or yard sale on the weekend. You should also try to hold it as close to payday weekend as possible. You want them to spend money with you before there is too much month for their money!

Also try to avoid dates that are associated with events that may pull your customers away. Examples would be voting day or major sporting events.

Do not forget to tell your neighbours of your plans! In addition to being a common courtesy, they may have an event of their own planned for that day…this will kill your parking and cost you sales.

Ideas of where to get inventory for your garage or yard sale

It is always important to have A LOT of inventory to sell to make your garage sale stand out.

When going through your own home, be ruthless! Use the “6-month rule”. If you have not used an item in the past 6 months, sell it! There is no place for sentiment in this business!

The only exception to this rule relates to items of true sentimental value. You will generally never get close to what they are worth and the emotional turmoil will eat you alive.
The majority of the stuff that you will find to sell will be in ‘difficult to get to” places. So look in high cupboards and in boxes packed at the bottom of the pile! The store room, attic, cellar and the garage itself are the places where you will uncover most of the gems.

Ask friends and neighbours to give you stuff to sell. I found that on average, each person would give me 10 items! If you have a lot of friends, you will get a lot of junk!

Other places to get inventory include auctions, flea markets and other people’s garage sales!

Ideas for pricing your garage or yard sale items.

You will be having a garage sale for one of two reasons. Either it is to clear out junk or it is to make money.

If it is to clear out junk, then what you charge really does not matter. Just ask yourself, what price would I be prepared to pay for this item, and then charge that price or less. The reason is because you want to ensure that you sell everything, else you will not have totally succeeded in cleaning out your junk.

If you want to make money, your objective is to sell the items for as much as you can, while still ensuring you sell them. This becomes more important when you are only having one garage sale. If however you do this as a full time business, then if you do not sell an item on this sale, you can always reduce the price at the next sale.

I am not a great fan of these ‘garage sale price lists” that do the rounds on the internet. The reason is that items sell for different prices in different states and even in different parts of the same state! You need to do a bit of market research.

The best way to know what prices in your area are likely to be is to visit other garage sales in your area. After you have been out shopping for a couple of weekends, you will have a fair idea of what to charge for your items.

There are obviously more scientific and proven ways to do this, but if you follow the above guidelines, you will be ok with 95% of your pricing. Remember, there is no right or wrong price, nobody is looking, so just price it and sell it!

If you want a more detailed discussion on pricing (recommended if you are trying to make money), then look at the Garage Sale Blueprint video course, which has a whole module on pricing. You can find it at

Ideas for displaying your garage or yard sale merchandise

Remember that a good garage sale will have many items that Wal-Mart sells. Just because they are not new, does not mean that you should not copy what the pro’s do. Think of your garage sale as a ‘second hand mini Wal-Mart sale”

What I am getting at is that you should just copy the way the major retailers display their merchandise for your sale.

Here are a few things to think about. Make sure all of your merchandise is clean and priced. Put all similar items together. No use in having toiletries mixed in with toys!

Have enough merchandise without the place feeling cluttered. Put additional merchandise under your tables which you can bring out in stages to keep you display in good shape.

I like to use table cloths that cover all 4 sides of my tables. I store additional merchandise, packing materials and other items under concealed under the cloths so my display always looks a million dollars.

When things quieten down, ALWAS, restock and re merchandise your display. Always think of the customer. Just because they are not the first customers at your sale does not mean that they should not be treated to an inviting display.

Make sure you have enough space for your customers to move around freely without bumping into the merchandise or each other.

Some creative ideas include putting boxes under the table cloths to make tiers to improve your display. I have seen a motorised lazy suzan for jewellery.

Let you imagination run wild. Just copy ideas from other people’s garage sales!

Ideas to advertise your garage or yard sale

Advertising is lifeblood of any business and garage sales are no different. People can only come to your sale if they know about it.

I suggest a garage sale advertising campaign. Try as many different ways to advertise your garage sale as you can afford or have time to.

The two things you absolutely MUST DO are to place classified adverts and have signs out on the day with arrows pointing the way to your sale.

Other advertising methods include flyers, banners and display adverts in your local press.

If you contact the editor of your local newspaper with a good story, you could even get some free publicity.

Try to be creative by adding colour and movement to the outside of your home to help draw customers in. Balloons, ribbons, pin wheels and streamers work well. Giant inflatables and a mini helium blimp will also add attention to your sale.

For a lot more detail on the different elements of your advertising campaign, see the advertising section.

More garage sale ideas

Many of these ideas were taken from the Garage Sale Blueprint video course. You can find more information at