How to Have a Successful Garage Sale Pt. 1 – Early Preparations

This post may contain affiliate links.


We are well into garage sale season here in TX and I don’t want to wait until the last minute to get ready.  I’m sure we’ll have another sale with friends within the next month and want it to be a super easy process.  I’m not sure if it’s getting some money back for our stuff, visiting with friends and neighbors, or seeing our unused stuff go to new homes where it will get used.  But whatever the reason, I love having garage sales and like to have multiple sales a year.   

The first key to having a successful garage sale is preparing early.

  • Have a couple of boxes that you put sale items into throughout the year.  This keeps your house less cluttered as well as keeps you motivated to purge.  It’s never fun to realize you’re having a garage sale tomorrow and haven’t started purging anything!
  • I keep my sale items in the hall closet and try to keep them grouped by like items.
  • Before we had our own kids I would also stick a price tag on the items as they were put in the boxes– this is a huge time saver on the back end.
  • Don’t waste money on pre-priced stickers.  You can buy a pack of 500 small white stickers for less than $2, or a pack of 700 mailing labels that you can cut in half for $1 at the dollar store.  Be sure to mark your initials if you’re having a multi-family sale. I fill out several sheets each of $.25, $.50, and $1 labels to make pricing go quickly.
  • Consider using colored labels.  I used to buy the colored circle labels and mark $.25 on all the blues, $.50 on all the red, $1 on all the greens, and other prices on all the yellows.  It made it much easier to add prices up later.
  • Help your kids purge their toys by going through 3 at a time.  Pull out 3 toys. Let your child choose the first of the 3 toys to keep and you choose another toy to keep.  The one that’s left goes into the sale pile. This makes the kids purge in a way they can control, but doesn’t allow them to just throw everything out or hold on to everything either.  Help them understand that their old toys will get played with and loved by other kids. One reason I like this method is so I can help them along by choosing a less played with toy (i.e. junk toy) and two loved toys.  9 out of 10 times the junk toy will be left. :-)
  • I highly recommend that you plan a sale with at least one other family.  Not only is it more fun, but brings more stuff and it makes many things easier to manage on the sale day. (more about that in another post)
  • Choose a sale location that is near a major road, preferably just a couple of turns or less from a major intersection.
  • Save your plastic shopping bags to use at the sale.
  • Choose a sale date that corresponds with payday for most people in your community. Many people get checks on the 1st and 3rd Fridays, but that’s not always the case.  Or choose a date when a few other people in your neighborhood are also willing to have a sale.  Neighborhood sales bring lots of traffic and are more likely to be successful.

Next time I’ll share with you some tips for advertising your sale to bring you the most traffic possible.

You can read parts 2-4 of this series here:
Pt. 2 Advertising Part 3 Setting up Your Sale Part 4 Running Your Sale

This post was originally published on April 3, 2012.



  1. Woohoo!!!! Also, we used colored painter’s tape for pricing…usually because we have so much left over from fixing up the Dallas house!

  2. we use hang tags on the clothes as we live here in east texas too and with the humidity the stickers sometimes won’t stick. there is also the fact some people will pull off the sticker and say it fell off hoping they get a lower price than what was marked. can’t do that with the hang tag. love the fact you choose paydays, our is the first of the month. nothing like being broke by the end of the month and seeing what looks like a good yard sale. ugh.

    • Cricket says:

      Do people pull the hangtags off too? I do hate the residue that stickers leave sometimes, but I’m all for the inexpensive price of stickers :-)

Speak Your Mind