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Tips for Selling Unwanted Clutter, Garage Sales, Part 2

You have been busy decluttering your house. It looks great! You saved some of the clutter that you thought that you could resell for a garage sale. The time has come for the big day. You have been pricing, have advertised your sale at least a week ahead of time, and are ready for your sale to take place. Here are some ideas for preparing the last days before the sale and the day of the garage sale itself.

The Day before the Sale

If at all possible, set out your garage sale the evening before the sale. You will have enough to do the day of the sale. Finish any pricing of items that you might have missed. You can set items up in some sort of order, or just set them out. Clothing should be folded neatly or hung for better viewing and sales. Books can be put in cardboard boxes in only one layer, so your potential customers can easily see what you have. If you have a set of dishes, put all of them in one box and price the box. Make sure that your customers can see what you have without digging through layers of miscellaneous junk.

One important aspect of the physical area of your garage sale is to make sure that your customers have room to walk without tripping. This is one of the major reasons that you put your items on some sort of shelf or table instead of leaving it on the floor of your garage or on the ground. No matter how careful you are in setting your garage sale up, if items are on the ground, people can trip over them. Be sure that your items are sitting securely on their shelf or table, to avoid breaking the item.  While the garage sale is in progress, look around and fill in empty spots by moving items into more visible spots. Moving items around helps them sell, as any retailer will tell you.

Be sure you have money to make change for your customers. Get this money from the bank the day before, so you are set up and ready to sell your items right away the next day. Depending on the size of your garage sale, you may need to have a box to store your money. And if you have a reliable friend or neighbor helps you watch the garage sale and the money box, you will be able to keep your earnings safe. Unfortunately, people steal from garage sales as well as from retail stores. To avoid loosing your garage sale merchandise to thieves, keep the more valuable items next to the person making change and watching the money.

All of those empty grocery store plastic bags will come in handy for your garage sale customers. You might also want to have a few boxes around for your customer’s convenience.

Set a reasonable time to start your garage sale. If you want your sale to start at 8:00 a.m., be sure your advertising states that fact. There always seem to be some shoppers that try to come early. Decide whether or not you will sell to these people. If you don’t want anyone at your sale before the stated time in the newspaper ad, merely state that “early shoppers pay double.” Some people may actually come early and be willing to pay twice the marked price for an item. Take the money with a smile and wish the buyer a good day.

Toward the end of the sale, start slashing the prices of your garage sale treasures. Remember, these are things that you have sorted out of your house, and don’t want to take back into your house. Any money that you can get for this stuff is better than having that clutter in the house again. Bag sales are also a great way to get rid of those last few lingering items. Charge a dollar or two per bag, and get rid of a few more of those plastic grocery bags, as well.

Talk to your customers. Watch how they react to certain items. Make a deal with them if they appear to have a hard time deciding on whether or not to buy an item. Answer their questions and be friendly with them. Enjoy the process of selling your unneeded items. You will be decluttering and making some money at the same time.

If you have anything left when your garage sale is done, you have one final sort to do. Box up the items you think a thrift store or shelter could really use. Be honest with yourself about this, because these establishments become overwhelmed with clutter, too. Then throw the rest away. You decluttered your house, gave the neighbors an opportunity to buy a bargain, and donated to the needy. You might be tired, but you should also be proud of your accomplishments.


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Tips for Selling Unwanted Clutter, Garage Sales, Part 1

Garage Sales

You have done a wonderful job of sorting, tossing, and decluttering. You used two boxes and a trash bag to help you sort and make decisions. There are, however, items that you very well may be able to sell, earning back some money that may have been wasted on unneeded or unwanted household items. You may as well try to sell these items. One way that you may be able to make a little money is by having a garage sale.

If you have to take a long period of time to declutter due to the large quantity of clutter you have amassed, you probably want to try to sell some of your excess goods. But you need to figure out how to deal with all of that stuff until you can actually hold the garage sale. If you have boxes, especially the plastic storage type of boxes, you are set to gather your items to try to sell. Those plastic tubs and boxes are great for storage. They are also great containers to store items that you want to use for a garage sale.

Find an out of the way spot to store your future garage sale items. If you can store your items in the garage, you have lots less work to do later. All of the items you think might potentially sell will be right there, stored and safe, until the day for your garage sale comes. You also have a nice shelter to hold your garage sale, and a good place to keep your items while you are pricing them. If your neighborhood is in an area where the summers are short, you can spend the colder weather finding potential garage sale items.  Store these items in the garage or basement until nicer weather comes along. By the time summer hits, you will be ready for an excellent garage sale with lots of great items to tempt your neighbors.

Preparing for Garage Sale Day

Move your stored garage sale items to the garage, patio, yard, or wherever you plan to have your sale. Set up some tables. If you don’t have card tables or other types of tables you can invent something that will pass. For instance, if you have saw horses, you can put a door or scrap wood on top of two saw horses and have a table. Or the containers themselves can be the props for a chunk of scrap wood or cardboard that can suffice as a table for now. Churches and clubs may loan you tables for a day or two. And you can put your garage sale items on the ground or floor of the garage.

But the lower an item is, the harder it is for potential customers to see. The closer you can put your garage sale items to eye level, the more items people will see, and the  more items will sell.  You may even have garage sale items that you can put other garage sale items on. The key here is to get as much stuff as you can to the garage or yard, get it marked, and get it sold.


If you don’t go to garage sales routinely, you may want to go to a few in your area to see what the going prices are for several types of garage sale goodies.  But, be ware! Don’t buy stuff to take home from other people’s garage sales. You worked too hard to declutter to bring more stuff into your home.

You can price each individual item. Or you can have items on tables that go for a specific price. What that means is that you might have a table where everything on it sells for a dollar, twenty-five cents, and so on. Clothing and books are more easily priced this way, especially if you have lots of both of these items. You might also have some items that you may put a price on, but be willing to negotiate over the price. Garage sale lovers are notorious negotiators.  If they think they can get a lower price, they will try.

Don’t be offended if the price is ridiculous-just say no, thanks. And you may be totally unwilling to negotiate on the prices of some of your items. In that case, write the word “firm” next to the price. Someone might still try to talk you down on the price. But they will have been warned that you are not willing to lower the price for that item. Just make sure your item’s prices are large and obvious for people to see. Most people who go to garage sales are not shy about asking prices. But you don’t want to risk losing that sale due to invisible or hard to find prices.

Marketing Your Garage Sale

Choose a day that is convenient for you. Also, make sure that you have time before hand to set your garage sale up and price your items. If you’d like a couple of friends to join you in the sale, great! You can slit up the work and keep a better watch on your garage sale if you have help.

Advertise your garage sale in the local newspaper. Weekends are usually the best days for garage sales. Lots of people hunt for treasures on Saturday mornings at their local garage sales.  Pick the first Saturday of the month. More people will just have been paid, and have money to spend. You may also want to have your garage sale for more than one day. In that case, choose a Friday and Saturday for your sale.

If you can put signs up around the neighborhood, do so.

Put a nice large sign on the next nearest busy street. Be sure you have signs in your front yard, so people can find your sale easily.  Garage sale fans often find a sale by accident by looking at signs posted. Be careful, because many towns have laws against posting garage sale signs on public spots like light posts and telephone poles. Instead, use a large empty box with the garage sale information to place on the side of the road.  Or put your sign on some sort of wooden stake. Be sure your sign has the address, date, and times of your garage sale. And don’t forget to be a good neighbor and remove your garage sale signs when the sale is done.


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