Garage Sale Tips and Tricks

If you're in full-on spring cleaning mode with boxes and totes of unwanted clothes and housewares piling up in the garage, you know what that means? It's time to host a garage sale!


Decluttering and making a little extra spending cash is possible if you know how to organize and price out garage sale items. Here are our favorite garage sale tips and tricks to kick off the summer season!

Clean Your Unwanted Items

First and foremost, don't try to sell anything that's broken, stained or in poor shape. If you wouldn't buy it yourself, why would your neighbors? Accept that some things just need to be recycled or dumped in the trash. Then, go through all the sellable items and be sure they are clean. Launder clothing and blankets and wipe down dusty knickknacks and shoes.

Sorting that Makes Sense

One of our favorite garage sale ideas is to keep things together as you would in your home. Plan to have a table of adult clothing separated by men's and women's items and create a spot spcifically for kid's clothing. Gather all the toys together on a blanket so little ones can get a closer look and test out the merchandise. Lastly, group kitchen tools together on a table and hang framed artwork that's for sale on the garage walls. This will help visitors find exactly what they’re looking for rather than having to dig through stacked boxes of random items.

Keep Prices Reasonable

The key to getting rid of your unwanted stuff is to keep the cost low. Set price points just below the local thrift stores and you're sure to clear out the garage in no time. You can price items three ways: use individual stickers, let people fill a grocery sack for a flat price or group like things together. For example, all clothing could be $1 per piece regardless of size, sex or type and books could be 50 cents each. A good rule of thumb is to sell an item for 20 percent (or less) of what you origianlly paid for it. So if you spent $20 on something, then price it at your garage sale for around $4 or less.

Make Some Deals

On the day of the sale, don't be afraid to haggle with customers. They want a bargain and you want a clean house. If you have a high-ticket item that has to fetch a set amount, clearly state that on the price tag. List the amount as "firm" or "non-negotiable" to avoid the back-and-forth people have come to expect at garage sales. And when you want to get rid of a set of something fast, offer it a lower price. For example, if you want to sell a set of plates - price them at $1 per plate or $5 for the set of 8. They are more likely to be bought as a set and you won’t be left with two or three plates that don’t match anything else.

Go Above and Beyond

To make shoppers linger longer at your sale, perk up the scene. Play upbeat music and let the kids put together a small bake sale featuring homemade cookies and lemonade. Keep the sale space clean, organized and easily walkable. Be sure you have bags or boxes ready for purchased items so people don’t have to worry about taking multiple trips to and from the car. Lastly, a smile goes a long way. Welcome new people to your sale with a friendly demeanor and even if people don’t buy anything, say goodbye with a smile and a wave.

Donate the Rest

At the end of the day, box up the leftovers and make a trip to the local thrift or consignment store. Ask for a receipt for your donation, then use it as a tax deduction next spring. You'll feel good about decluttering the house, earning extra cash and sending your goods on to a store where others can recycle or upcycle your used goods.


Are your ready to host a garage sale or shop for bargains? Then come be a part of the 7th Annual Copperleaf Community Garage Sale event on Saturday, June 3rd from 8am until 4pm. If you’re a Copperleaf resident, please register with Tina Lombardi, our event sponsor from Keller Williams Realty for signage and map information. If you’re not a Copperleaf resident, be sure to add this event to your calendar and get ready for some great garage sale finds. We’ll see you there!