How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+

I used to hate having a garage sale. Really, I hated them. They were SO.MUCH.WORK!  From the sorting and purging to the prepping and pricing. It was all such a pain in the butt. That is until I figured out a few tricks to make my garage sales easier, more fun, and more lucrative (with the same old junk to sell). Want to know how I made $500+ on my latest epic garage sale? Let me share my method!

Ready for Your Epic Garage Sale?

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

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Garage Sale Preparation Phase One

  • Purge room by room. Start purging your home of items you want to sell about two weeks before the sale. Take anything you want to sell to the garage. You can go ahead and set up a few table if you are afraid to leave stuff on the floor.
  • But a hanging rack so you can start purging your closet of clothes.
  • Have spare boxes, bins or laundry baskets to sort like items into or items you want to charge the same amount for. Such as boys jeans, girls dolls, etc.
  • The night before the sale move the furniture you want into the garage if you haven’t already. Always put the furniture near the garage door so you can easily bring it in and out.

Advertising Phase Two

  • Buy/Make two to three BIG signs 22” x 28” inches is best. I like to make my signs on  corrugated poster board because then it’s easy to stick the stakes into the bottom and then stake into the ground.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • Make sure you put signs around the smaller streets. 
  • I put my address and the days and times of the sale. Some people like to be cute on their signs but I like to put just the facts. If I have some special stuff to advertise I may write that on the sign as well.
  • You can also have 8.5” X 11” signs along the way in one color advertising what type of items you may have, i.e baby clothes, video games, Lego, Toys, Home Decor, etc. This gets people excited about your sale.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • Post the BIG  signs on main intersections next to your home. You want to guide people to your home from the main intersection. I put the signs up that morning about 15 minutes before the sale starts.
  • Share on your neighborhood Facebook groups, Nextdoor, Facebook garage sale groups, and Buy/Sell/Trade sites.
  • Post an ad on Craigslist. Check out, “Garage Sale Ads That Attract Buyers”

Organizing Sale Phase Three

  • The day before the sale I will set up the tables in the garage the way I want them. I like to have a nice flow where people can walk on either side so I will line all of the tables up in the center of the garage from the front to the back. Then as you are facing the garage I’ll put a long table on the left and the furniture or clothes on the right. See design below:
  • Weather permitting I will put hot ticket items lining the sides of the driveway. I’ll put any big kids toys, furniture, exercise equipment, or any items I think will attract attention. I try not to block the center of the drive way so it’s easier for people to walk up.
  • If I have tons of stuff I will set the driveway up the same as the interior of the garage. I still like to have nice flow. I don’t want people bumping into each other of going in circles.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • Put lower priced and free items at the front to lure people in as well.
  • Always have paper and plastic bags on hand to wrap breakable items.
  • Organize in categories of like items and sections.
  • Stage items if you can. Set up small vignettes with your items and make sure items are assembled if necessary.
  • Hang as many clothes as you can. Make sure to put the clothing tags on them with brand, size, and price.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • Organize clothing tables by person and size, i.e. boys clothes, girls, clothes, men’s women’s, business, gym clothes, etc. Make sure each item has clothing tag or make note of the items in each bin and how much you are selling for i.e. all gym clothes $2 each. That way people can’t try to confuse you when they come up to purchase.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • Make sure items are clean and wiped down.

Pricing Phase Four

  • Put a price on everything. People don’t want to guess where they should start negotiating.
  • I like to buy ready made stickers with prices on them like these from The Hillman Group.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • I like to pick one color. These save so much time when it comes to pricing. Plus, I like these because they are easily removable and won’t leave residue.
  • They don’t stick great to everything so you should have some masking tape or other tags available.
  • Tags for clothing should have room for the Style/Brand, Size, and Price. I found these tags on Amazon and a tagging gun too!

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • For a sale with multiple people always put the initials of the seller on the tags and make sure to record it under each person’s sale.
  • Download this inventory Items to Sell sheet to keep track of what you have sold and for what price. Especially helpful if you have multiple people selling.
  • If you have no idea how to start pricing your items you can download this Printable Yard Sale Pricing Guide. I always ask for what I would pay for an item at a garage sale. If it’s a two day sale you can cut the price the next day. If it’s a one day sale you can advertise you will cut prices in half for the last hour of the day. Many people will return to see what you have left.
  • DO NOT price to high or people will remember that for your next sale.

Selling & Negotiating Phase Five

  • If you don’t want Early Birds which are usually re-sellers coming to pick your best loot, then only open your garage five minutes before the start time to move stuff out. You can hang a sign on the outside of the garage door that says, “Opening 8:00am SHARP” It’s more polite than, “NO EARLY BIRDS!” 🙂
  • Make sure you have enough change in the beginning to break big bills.
  • Always greet people when they arrive and thank them when they leave.
  • Never turn away a customer! Make conversation and ask them what they are looking for. You never know you may have something still inside that they want!
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate politely.
  • Don’t be offended by someone’s offer. They are there to get a deal. Just negotiate or say no politely.
  • Cut your prices in half the second day if it’s a two day sale. As time goes on that day you can cut even further. Your goal is to get rid of the items at this point. Some money is better than no money and you will end up donating the rest.

Extras

  • If it’s a super hot day you can set up a canopy for people to stand under and get some relief.
  • Offer bottled water, lemonade, or soda for sale.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

  • Offer grilled hot dogs, cookies, power bars, or other snacks for sale. (We once had a garage sale and my husband did this and made twice as much money as the actual garage sale!)
  • Always have a box, bin, or table with FREE items set out front to attract people.
  • I even had a boys of junk toys that I call a treasure chest and I would let the kids pick something out of for free before they leave.
  • If you have a ton of stuffed animals see if kids want to pick on for free. It make make their day.

People will remember your extras and your courtesy and will be back for your next sale. They will also spread the word about your sale as well.

Clean Up Phase Six

  • Close your garage door promptly at the time you said you would end. I will still see people cruising by and if I’m having a two day sale I want to get set up for the next day.
  • Whatever you do DO NOT start taking all of the items that didn’t sell back into the house! You got them out so let’s keep them out.
  • Take pictures of all items left to donate for tax purposes. Make a list and list their value for tax purposes.
  • Load them up and take them to a donation drop off.

How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+ | www.smarthappyorganized.com | garage sale, organizing a garage sale | cleaning out garage

    • Put valuable items on Craigslist for a few days. Consider lowering your prices even more.
    • List on Freecycle.
    • Call a for a donation pick up.
    • Please don’t forget to go and remove your signs when the sale if over (you may get a ticket from local police if you don’t).

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10 Replies to “How to Organize an Epic Garage Sale and Make $500+”

    1. Oh my gosh Janet we did that once! We had a TON of stuff because we were having a yard sale for our animal rescue we used to have and had donations to sell. We had stored them in our barn and when it came time for the big sale we lined them up on blankets on the ground and it was 1/2 acre wide! We made a lot of money for the animals though. So unless it’s a yard sale like that I highly recommend tables and racks!
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