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Planning A Garage Sale

Planning a Garage Sale will motivate you to get rid of some of the clutter and that will make it easier for you to get your home more organized! A Win-Win Plan!

I must warn you that planning a Garage Sale is always more work than we anticipate. However, with some realistic planning and goals, you can have a successful garage sale and reap the benefits of having less stuff to take care of!

12-Steps To An Organized And Successful Garage Sale

Decide On A Holding Area

Locate a "Holding" area for items going into your garage sale and add to it frequently! Ideally, your holding area would be in one section of your garage. If you are planning a garage sale, you will need to have at least a partially empty garage.

Choose A Date

Look at your calendar/planner and choose a date. Most garage sales are on weekends due to the work week. However, here in the Midwest, many folks have sales on Thursday and Fridays as well. These dates seem to be great if you are selling kids clothes and toys.

If you live in a subdivision, community or on a block where you know lots of people, tell your neighbors that you are planning a garage sale and encourage them to have a sale on the same dates. The more sales in one area, the higher your traffic will be. Again, some areas offer entire community sales or subdivision sales. If you can hold yours during these dates you have the best chance at having lots of shoppers and getting rid of more stuff!


Depending on whether you will have your sale solo or with several others, you will need to advertise. Plan to put an ad in your local paper the week of the sale. Make signs announcing your sale, dates, times, and address. Make sure to write these with bold, large lettering so people can read them at a glance while driving by. Remember that you will need a heavy stapler, wooden stakes and rubber hammer to put signs up. Streamers, balloons or other noticable items are helpful for attracting attention of passers-by.

Collect Items To Sell

Back to gathering for the big sale. Forget those lofty goals of getting through the whole house and concentrate on just getting through what you can before it's time to set up for your sale. Keep it real! You don't need to get stressed about planning a garage sale!

Quickly! Box Up What You Will Be Selling

Buy a box of the largest black lawn and leaf bags and get boxes from a store that gives them away (grocery). Visit the Fly Lady Web site for fun instructions on how to do a 27 Fling Boogie. This is great when you are collecting items to sell. Decide on a daily time slot, i.e., 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Schedule this time on your calendar/planner. During your allotted time, grab a bag and a box and choose a room. Set the timer and go to it! Purge, Fling, Dump, Dispose. Go through as much as you can as fast as you can. The more time you spend thinking about each item, the less you will get rid of. Don't worry, you can change your mind later during pricing and set up time. You are just trying to get as much as you can into the Holding area for your sale. I am making the assumption that if you are planning a garage sale, you are trying to get rid of a lot of stuff. It is too much work to go to unless you have a sufficient amount of stuff to sell!

Put Boxes In Holding Area

Put your bags and boxes in the holding area and look forward to your next purging session. Just think about all that suff you won't have to clean around or take care of!

Remember Attic, Basement, Crawl Space, Shed

After you have gotten through as much of the house as you can, remember the garage, crawl space, and sheds. Old mowers, bikes, toys, anything you no longer need or want can go in your sale.

The Set-Up

I recommend you begin to set up your sale at least a week before it. If you don't have this kind of time, do what you can but there are certain things that must be done if you are going to sell a decent amount of stuff. You will need lots of horizontal space to put items on. Think outside the box here. You can use whatever tables you have. Borrow tables. Put pieces of plywood across wooden horses. Use the hanging clothes from your laundry room. Bring out a bookshelf. Whatever you can find that you can display items on is fine.

Sort Into Categories

Once you have your tables, shelves, etc. set up, start sorting items from your holding area into categories as best as you can. For example, clothing, household, sports, tools and so on. Just try to get things roughly sorted. Many of us start to feel rushed at this point. Just do what you can with the time you's just a garage sale!


Time to price. You will need stickers, labels and pens/markers. Use common sense when it comes to pricing. Clothes may vary from 25 cents to $5 and up, depending. You may have spent a lot of money on some items, but people generally won't buy clothes at a garage sale for very much especially because they are taking a risk that it will even fit. There are exceptions of course, but "if you really want it to go..price it low!" There are all kinds of thoughts on what to sell things for and there is not a set formula that I can offer. Just bear in mind that people will be looking for bargains and you will be able to tell very quickly if you have things priced too high.

If stuff is flying out the door the first hour you are may be pricing on the low side but's going! On the other hand, if nothing is moving during the first hour, you may need to slash your prices. The last thing you want to do is pack everything up and find a new home for it all. Pay attention to your visitors and adjust prices accordingly. One more thing about pricing, it's okay to make one category all the same price if you are short on time. For example: all shirts $1, pants-$2, books-$1. Just make sure there aren't items that you feel strongly about selling for more such as a recent, hardback book that you bought for $30 and wish to sell for more than the "group price." Pull these items out and put in another area or near your check-out table with prices attached right to them.

To make pricing and all other aspects of your garage sale easier, I recommend the Garage Sale Kit created by one of my first cyber friends, Debbie from Simplified Solutions. Debbie's Garage Sale Kit includes price tag labels, arrow signs, tally sheets, a checklist and a free tip booklet. Debbie is an expert organizer and really knows how to make a big job like a garage sale a less stressful process.

Make Up A Cash Bank

Before the sale starts, you will need a cash bank from which to make change. Fifty to one hundred dollars or the equivalent is usually enough unless you have some high ticket items. Decide whether you will take personal checks too. I don't recommend it unless it's from someone in your immediate subdivision or community. Most people expect to pay cash at garage sales.

Mom's Tip: If you have children, try to arrange for someone to care for them at least during the first morning of the sale. If you have advertised well, you could be very busy during this time and it's difficult to take money, bag things and answer questions if you are trying to watch your children. If they are old enough to run a beverage/treat stand or have their own toy table, that's fine. Just make sure they can make change and have what they need ahead of time.

Open The Garage!

Are you ready? Everything sorted pretty well? Priced? Displayed decently? Grab your phone, the money bank, take a deep breath and open the garage door. Good luck!

Well, How Did The Sale Go?

After your sale, please let me know how it went. I plan to write and publish a "Garage Sale Stories and Tips" e-book. A few, very humorous stories have already been submitted and some great ideas have been offered as well. Submit your story using our "Contact Us" page and look for your story on Home Organize It! If you do not wish to have your last name published, that's okay. Just make a note of it.

In the meantime Good Luck with Planning A Garage Sale! Hope you found these Seasonal Organizing Solutions helpful!

And remember...

If you want it to go, price it low!

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