7 Proven Garage Sale Tips To Make Big Money

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: September 4, 2021

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Looking for some garage sale tips so you can earn big this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Hosting a garage sale is a fantastic way to get rid of the extra items you’ve accumulated in your house.

And, if you do it right, you can make a lot of money, too!

But how can you make sure your garage sale is a success?

After all, it takes a lot of effort to put on a garage sale. If you’re going to do it, you want it to be worth your time and effort.

Thankfully, these proven strategies are the best ways to make sure your next garage sale is hugely successful. With the help of these tips, you’re sure to make a decent profit.

1. Wash/Clean Your Stuff

This is one of the best garage sale tips we can give you – make sure your items are clean.

Just a little bit of elbow grease can lead to a much bigger profit.

People won’t want to spend as much money on stuff that is covered in dust and dirt.

If your items are dirty, you’ll confirm some people’s preconceived ideas that garage sales are full of junk. Not to mention, the experience of browsing through your items will be way less enjoyable for your customers.

But, if you take the time to give everything a good cleaning, you’ll be much more likely to make sales.

Be sure to wash clothes, polish furniture, and deep clean any appliances you plan on selling.

Also, clean up the environment in which you plan to host your garage sale.

For example, sweep your driveway and clear out any distracting clutter from your garage.

This will help create a pristine environment for your shoppers. In turn, they’ll feel more comfortable making purchases from you.

To put it simply, if you want people to be excited about the things you’re selling, make your products look like new. Don’t let the value of your items get lost behind a layer of grime.

7 garage sale tips to make big money | Be The Budget

2. Keep Change On-Hand

Your first customer approaches your garage sale, picks out a few things to buy, and hands you some cash. And that’s when you realize – you don’t have any change to give him!

Don’t let this be you.

Before the day of your garage sale arrives, make sure to stock up on rolls of quarters and dollar bills. Otherwise, you’re sure to lose out on would-be sales.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these days, many shoppers don’t keep any cash on them.

While some people will have planned ahead, others may drive through your neighborhood, see your garage sale, and spontaneously stop by.

Those people are less likely to be prepared with cash to spend at your sale.

To increase your ability to make sales, it’s a great idea to offer alternative methods of payment.

The good news is that you don’t have to buy any fancy hardware to accept electronic payments. All you need is an account with a peer-to-peer payment service like Venmo or Paypal.

Even if you decide to accommodate electronic payments, don’t forget to stock up on change as well.

You’re sure to get at least a few shoppers who want to pay in cash, so don’t leave them hanging!

3. Get The Word Out

Another one of the best garage sale tips we can offer is to promote your sale ahead of time.

If you don’t spread the word about your garage sale, your customer pool will be limited to the people who happen to drive down your street during your sale hours.

This is a recipe for failure.

Don’t just put up a sign, leave it to chance, and hope people come. Instead, do everything in your power to get the word out about your sale.

Throughout the week leading up to your garage sale, post signs around your neighborhood inviting people to come and check it out.

Be sure to use big, readable letters, and don’t forget to list your address, the sale date, and your hours of operation.

Another way to spread the news about your upcoming garage sale is to post about it online using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Or, get even more targeted by sharing the details of your sale on Nextdoor and Craigslist.

The more chances you give people to learn about your garage sale, the more likely it will be successful.

If you have some big-ticket items you plan on selling, tease them in your social media posts. That way, you’ll spark curiosity and encourage more people to come see what you have to offer.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until the day of your garage sale to start promoting it.

Interested in earning more money? If so, you’ll love these other BeTheBudget posts:

4. Get Up Early

A word to the wise – wake up bright and early on the day of your garage sale.

This is the best way to make sure the day goes smoothly and you’re ready for your first shoppers.

Many people will come to your sale as early as possible so they can take advantage of the widest selection.

If you’re still setting up shop when customers start to arrive, they won’t be able to see everything you have to offer.

Even worse, you won’t be able to focus on helping them because you’ll be preoccupied with getting organized.

Spare yourself (and your shoppers) this hectic frenzy by waking up well before your sale’s start time. That way, you’ll have time to drink your coffee, set everything up, and start selling.

Also, garage sale shoppers are notorious for waking up early to hit the sales. By opening up your sale early, you’ll have more available hours for people to stop by before they go about their weekends. Translation: getting up early = more sales!

5. Sell Drinks And Snacks

You don’t only have to sell used items at your garage sale. In addition to traditional garage sale wares, consider selling snacks and refreshments to your shoppers.

Nothing works up an appetite quite like a full day of browsing local garage sales. And if the weather is hot, your customers will be more than happy to pay for a nice cold drink.

For this reason, bottled water and snacks can be big money-makers at garage sales.

They’re great additions that make the shopping experience so much more enjoyable for your patrons.

Seriously, anything that adds value to the experience of shopping at your sale is an opportunity to make some extra cash!

If you really want to step up your game, you could even fire up the grill and start selling hot dogs. The smell of a barbecue is an amazing way to attract customers from down the block.

If you plan on taking this route, it’s a good idea to get someone to help you run your garage sale. Otherwise, you’ll be left running back and forth between the food line and customers interested in buying your furniture.

6. Don’t Overprice Your Items

Pricing your items can be one of the most difficult aspects of putting on a garage sale.

It can be difficult to balance the desire to make a profit with the need to make sales.

For this reason, one of the most important garage sale tips we can give you is: don’t overprice your items.

Sure, that lamp from your great-aunt Shirley has tons of sentimental value to you, but to everyone else, it’s just a nice-looking lamp.

When you’re pricing your stuff, try to set aside all sentimental feelings and consider each object from your customer’s perspective.

If you overprice your stuff, you’ll end up selling less, guaranteed.

People who come to garage sales are looking for a deal. If they start browsing and see normal-to-high retail prices on all of your items, they’ll most likely leave without buying anything.

Think about it this way – it’s better to sell an entire garage sale worth of stuff for a little less money than to overprice your items and sell nothing.

Do your best to accommodate your customers, and be prepared to negotiate.

If someone wants to buy multiple things, you might consider giving them a bulk discount or reducing the price of one item.

By setting unbeatable prices and offering your customers great deals, you’re sure to have a successful garage sale.

7. Sell Better Stuff

It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you want to make more money with your garage sale, sell better stuff!

Many people make the mistake of going through their homes, gathering everything they no longer want, and plopping it all onto the driveway with a “For Sale” sign.

But if you want to have a successful garage sale, you have to be intentional about the items you decide to sell.

Instead of selling everything you want to get rid of, go through your items with a discerning eye.

You don’t have to make money off of every single thing you no longer want.

In fact, trying to do so will only clutter up your garage sale with junk that no one wants.

Instead, save your garage sale for a time when you have enough decent-quality stuff to sell.

Before you set anything out on your driveway, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this item useable?
  • Does this item have any rips, holes, or stains on it?
  • Is this item broken beyond reasonable repair?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, think twice before putting it up for sale.

This doesn’t mean that you have to have designer clothes or brand-new furniture to have a successful garage sale. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But if you focus on increasing the quality of the items you’re selling, you’re sure to turn a higher profit.

Bonus Garage Sale Tip: Be Different

And finally, a bonus tip – do your best to make your garage sale unique.

Garage sales are almost all exactly the same. When people pull up to a garage sale, they generally know exactly what to expect.

But if you can find ways to make your sale fun and different, you’ll drastically increase your ability to draw in customers and make sales.

Think outside the box and get creative!

What are some ways you can add even more value and excitement to your patrons’ shopping experience?

Here are a few ideas for how you can make your garage sale stand out from the crowd:

  • Decorate your front yard, driveway, or garage to make it look like a real store.
  • Offer a complimentary treat or small gift with purchases.
  • If you’re crafty, sell some handmade items alongside your old things.
  • Play fun music to attract people passing by.
  • Get the kids involved – have them twirl signs on the corner of your street or sell drinks and snacks.
  • Create a fun theme for your garage sale, and emphasize that theme with your decoration, product, music, and/or refreshment choices.

As we’ve already stated, the more value and fun you can add to the experience of your garage sale, the more likely people will be to stop and shop.

Final Thoughts

By implementing these garage sale tips, you’ll be well on your way to putting on a sale the whole neighborhood will remember.

Oh, and I hope this goes without saying, but don’t forget to be friendly and welcoming! There’s nothing quite like a great attitude to make people want to spend their money on your old stuff.

Who knows? You may come away from your garage sale with some new neighborhood friends in addition to all that cash!

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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