Money In Your Closet: A Successful Garage Sale

by CS

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  1. Have it when it's cool but not hot.
  2. Price everything or group items and price them. Stickers on the front of pictures/paintings will ruin them and tags stuck through shirts make holes. Hook the tag on a seam or place the sticker inside the piece of clothing.
  3. Make large easy to read signs and place them so customers can easily find your sale. Place them where ever there might be confusion of which way to go.
  4. Get friends, family and neighbors to participate. You increase your chance of customers by having multi or neighborhood sales.
  5. Keep it organized and be sure to display your items neatly (nothing dirty or gross).
  6. Bring everything you can off the ground. Use two ladders with a pole hung between them to display clothes or use your clothes line. A ladder can also display plants or other items. A covered box will also work.
  7. Make sure your signs have the date(s) and times displayed, along with arrows pointing the way, at major crossroads.
  8. Get the customer to stop by displaying some larger or more interesting items up front. Most people won't stop for boxed items or when all they see are clothes and/or small items.
  9. Start on time and have some one there to help watch your items. Thieves will steal any where from any one. I had brand new watches and other things stolen when early birds came. They also work in pairs or groups to distract you so they can steal your money box/container or items all day long, through out the sale. Keep your money on you with zipper facing inward so they can't easily open it while asking you something. Avoid large bills.
  10. Remove all your signs immediately after your sale is complete or within 1 day.
  11. Sort and prepare your items more than one day before the sale. My mother sold a lot of costume jewelry at a greater price because she sorted, cleaned and displayed each piece individually. She got co-op or flea market prices because of her extra work (at least $200 - $300.00 more).
  12. Advertise every where. Newspapers, flyers, bulletin boards at grocery and other businesses, even work at work.
  13. Have something to keep you occupied between customers. Never read or gossip on the phone when you get customers.
  14. Make sure every one selling is authorized to negotiate any item offered for sale. It's a real turn off when a customer hears "That's Mary's you will have to wait until she gets back, I can't lower the price".
  15. Crafts and gifts sell at yard sales but be prepared for much lower profits. People going to yard sales won't pay the same price they would at a craft fair or in a store.
  16. Antiques, collectables and paintings should not be sold unless you know how much they are worth. Or don't care how much you get for the item. I sold an antique dish once for $2 that was worth over $40.
  17. Make sure your home owners/renters insurance covers accidents. Also display signs that you are not responsible for accidents or injuries occurring on your property. The signs should be used as back up only as I am not sure how legal they are.


  1. Broken or damaged items are a great turn off for Yard Saler's. If you must sell these items, let the customer know. I once sold a chess set with one piece missing. Yes, I got less money but I had repeat customers at my next sale because they trusted me to be honest.
  2. Never glue staple or nail signs to poles or trees. This would damage them and pose potential hazards to people and animals. Remove all signs and tape when your sale is complete.
  3. Never let any one use your bathroom. Besides the potential of being robbed, there are some real pigs (filthy people) out there. No matter who they request the bathroom for (even a child) refuse, or you might be very sorry.
  4. Never let any one try clothing on in your home either (same reasons as 3). Instead provide a tape measure (make sure they return it) and/or put the actual size on the item.
  5. Never give them your home telephone number instead get their number for any reason. Thieves will call to see if you are home.
  6. Accept no checks or payment other than cash. Tell them to return with the cash. I wouldn't recommend holding the item, for more than 20 minutes (if that long), too many potential problems could occur.
  7. Film, video tapes, and other similar items melt when exposed to heat (or sun light). Items wrapped in plastic sweat when exposed to sunlight. Glass can start a fire if it reflects light onto something flammable. Cold weather also ruins some items. Be careful how and what you offer for sale.
  8. If you want to keep the item then don't put it out in your yard sale. In other words price the item to sell and be willing to negotiate.

Use these points for a safer, less stressful and profitable sale. Do a search on the net for yard/garage sale tips but I wouldn't pay any one for those tips. The people who charge money for Yard Sale Tips offer nothing you can't probably get for free (or don't already know, now). I have done Yard Sales off and on for years using the above tips and made money while getting rid of my clutter. I recommend as one good 'free' resource.

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