Do Garage Sales Pay off or Are They Just a Bunch of Work for Nothing???

Updated on January 22, 2008
S. asks from Oswego, IL
39 answers

I am thinking about having a garage sale in the spring. I have tons and tons of boys baby clothing, boys coats, boots, baby swings,pack and plays,a crib and mattress, changing table, and tons and tons of baby toys. I just don't know if is worth my time or if I should just donate the stuff to a charity. I have never had a garage sale and don't know if people really come to them or if there is money to be made by having one. Any advise would be much appreciated.

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K.F.

answers from Chicago on

I have had a few garage sales and they do pay off. Especially if you have not had one before. The first one is usually always the best one. Let me know when it is I would love to shop!
K.

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J.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I had a garage sale one time before we moved to Denver and I made over $1400! I wasn't the only one who made money either, that was just what I made myself. I had all kinds of kids' stuff at mine and advertised it that way. It was a lot of work, but after I counted my money, I realized how worth it the whole thing was. You can place an ad in the newspaper for around $30 I think, and it's well worth the money. I had tons of people come to mine.

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S.L.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Absolutely, I have a friend that made $1000 in one day with her baby stuff. Just don't price to high or no one will buy.

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C.H.

answers from Chicago on

I have one every year and it varies. We usually find thurs to be a great day but those same people would come fri. then fri. is dead. it also depends on your area and if you advertize. If you are not on a main drag you may want to advertise. The big stuff is usually a good sell, put out as much big stuff as you can. We usually ask the neighbors to join us! Good Luck! C. H

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D.F.

answers from Chicago on

Good Morning S.!

I feel they are worth the work you put into them. I will make between $200-600 for a 2 day sale. On the last day of my sale, I will get paper bags from a store and do a 'fill a bag of clothes for $2.00' sale. Just make sure your items are clean and have batteries handy for items so that your customers know items work.

If you have baby clothes that are not stained or damaged, you might want to find a consignment shop in your area, they take your items (usually received on hangers), they will sell them for you and you get a percentage of what they make.

Also, find out what days are good in your area to have a garage sale. In my area, Thursdays are the best day.

And make sure you advertise! Very important to get those customers in.

Good luck with your garage sale!

God's blessings
D.

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R.J.

answers from Terre Haute on

I think you should donate a portion to charity but if you need to make money, you should have a yard sale. I have 3 kids and have a yard sale every spring and make around $200 each sale. That money helps us out alot!! Good luck on your decision.

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A.A.

answers from Chicago on

Hey. Do a garage sale and let us all know.... (and if I can be sneaky and find out what you would want for your changing table I might be able to keep you from having to put that on the lawn!). Got rid of mine too soon, it seems!

C.R.

answers from Chicago on

I like to go to garage sales and have had good luck finding nice clothes for my kids. There are always plenty of people at the sales as well.

I saved all of my baby items with the intention of having a garage sale but when I realized how much work it involved I realized that there was no way I could do it. With two little kids, it is impossible to clean the garage, mark everything, set it all up, and sit out there for 2 or three days. Then people come and expect everything for a quarter.

There is a consignment shop in my town that only has children's clothing, baby items, and maternity clothes. I took everything I had there (mostly infant clothing.) I had no idea what to expect to make, but I figured I was just going to give it all to Goodwill anyway. I went back a few months later, and she had a check for $175 for me. I couldn't beleive it. And I didn't have to do any of the work. Enerything just had to be clean and stainfree when I took it in.

I continue to take items there as my son outgrows them and am always surpised with how much I made.

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M.W.

answers from Chicago on

I haven't had much luck with garage sales - simply not worth the effort. However, I have had good luck with children's resales, because they are heavily promoted by the organization and people are coming specifically to buy children's items. Here is a link to another group that does one: http://www.parentswhocare.org/resale.html

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

I think you have a better chance of getting the big stuff sold. I've had several and usually the clothes just sit (I do not overprice - a grocery bag for $4). Anytime I've had big things they have sold right away. and made a fair amount of money at it. You must advertise that will really bring in people.

L.R.

answers from Chicago on

We have had a garage sale for the past three years, but last year we sold all our baby stuff since we are not able to have any more children. First of all, it is definitely a lot of work. We organized all the piles of my daughter's clothes into sizes and laid them on tables with the sizes written on paper underneath them. Then I laid out a table of her shoes and prices those differently. We were extremely organized and I think that helped. I've gone to garage sales where everything is just thrown into boxes and I get so aggravated because I am taking up too much time going through everything. We ended up making $250 and in the years past we've made $300-400. We ended up taking the rest of my daughter's baby stuff and clothes to Once Upon a Child and also to Goodwill. We are definitely not doing one next year ~ it's just too much work and not worth the time or money. We feel we make just as much taking the stuff up to Once Upon a Child.

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J.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I had a garage sale one time before we moved to Denver and I made over $1400! I wasn't the only one who made money either, that was just what I made myself. I had all kinds of kids' stuff at mine and advertised it that way. It was a lot of work, but after I counted my money, I realized how worth it the whole thing was. You can place an ad in the newspaper for around $30 I think, and it's well worth the money. I had tons of people come to mine.

B.V.

answers from Chicago on

S.:

I love going to garage sales. As long as you advertise. We will show. My brother has a baby on the way. Keep me in mind.

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D.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

If you have alot of good quality stuff and little time, then have a garage sale. You'll get the cash quickly. This can depend on your location, though. In the city where I live, garage sales are very popular and I know many people who easily make $500 in a single day with a good variety of children's items.

If you itemize your deductions, then donating will get you more 'cash' for it but you have to wait until tax time to see the benefits. It also takes more time. You need good records like photos of the things and a detailed list with the donation receipt. When you do your taxes, use a program like ItsDeductible, or just use the book the IRS publishes every year to find out what donation value you can claim for each item. People greatly underestimate the value of their donated items. For example... you can sell a shirt for $1 at a garage sale, but the donation value is probably $8. Since you can take 50% of the donations values that's $4 in your favor when it comes to figuring out taxes. If you have alot of donations, it can make a huge dent in your tax bill.

Another option for cash now is to sell on craigslist.com. There are no fees and you can post pictures. You do have to deal with answering emails and setting up a meeting time/place to meet with the buyer.

If you want money, the worst thing to do is to sell them at kid resale store like Once Upon A Child. They are very picky about what they take and give pennies for good quality clothes that you could get $2-$4 for with a garage sale. A friend of mine took a big box of name brand (babygap, oshkosh, gymboree, etc) clothes that were practically brand new. They offered her $8 for 10 items and didn't even want most of the things in the box!

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

Totally depends on where you live and how much patients you have. My sister did one all weekend in Bartlett last year and made a couple hundred bucks...seems like a lot of time and effort for that much $. I made $50 after posting adds on craigslist and putting up signs, and after a lot of organizing and my prices were all very reasonable. I had a changing table, baby swings, toys, high chair, and the list goes on and on. I also had other household things and clothes to get other people interested in stopping. The only major thing I sold was a trek bike for $20. We lived in Wheaton at the time - I think people with money just don't go to garage sales there. We ended up putting stuff on the curb and a "free" add on craigslist and I was happy that a local thrift store stopped by and took it all, including the changing table. I needed to get ready for a move anyways, but next time, i'll call the salvation army or some local charity to pick up! My mom only takes stuff to the goodwill because where she lives, she never gets anyone to come by. I'd say, if you have anything of value, sell it on craigslist, but for items like strollers or baby seats/swings, don't even waste your time there because you get so many shady people on craigslist who do nothing but waste time. They say they are interested and dont show or have a million and one questions for something you're practically trying to give a way for like $10 bucks. Donate, Donate, Donate!

J.Y.

answers from Chicago on

I sell all of my children's gently used clothes, toys, and furniture to "Once upon a child." It is on Harlem Ave off of I-90. They give you a little money for these items in excellent condition and what they don't take, you can donate to charity. It is well worth it!

N.P.

answers from Chicago on

After you have had a couple you learn what works and doesn't work but you can make some nice cash. They are a lot of work. You have to be ready for early birds and people who will even haggle over something that's priced a quarter. You also can't expect much on $$$ at the sale... so you might be better off donating, especially if you need the tax relief. I believe the best day to have them is Friday...so Fri/Sat or Thur/Fri/Sat - have it early and I wouldn't stay open till past 2. Advertise where you can and put signs where you can (I know our village only allows 2 signs?!). Craigslist is another good spot. Don't bother with "stickers" - we found half the time they come off and we just use masking tape instead. But that's just us. Good luck! I need and plan to have one myself in the late spring!

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L.M.

answers from Chicago on

You're not going to make a ton of money, but people definitely will come. It is more your preference if you want to do the garage sale or donate it!

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K.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

Honestly, It's up to you. Some people hate to do garage sales. It is a lot of work pricing items, etc. But, if you are willing to spend a good couple of days at it, it can really pay off. I love to do them and if I have enough stuff usually done one a year. Talk to others around your neighborhood to find out when the good days are. Usually warm weather brings more people out.

Whenever I start to go through the kids clothes, I begin pricing them then instead of waiting until the sale to do so. I always go cheap. Some people try to get more money out of each items, but I suggest making all baby/kids clothes less than $1 each. People will buy up tons if they find what they are looking for. And, you'll sell more if the prices are low.

If you decide not to do a sale and give them to Goodwill or something...be sure and get a receipt for tax purposes. My mom is a tax preparer and you can usually take up to about a quarter per item from what you donate. Just put down a good guess if you have a lot. Ya know, like $5 for a bag of clothes, etc.

Good luck!

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A.H.

answers from Chicago on

Depending upon where you live, I've had a lot of success selling stuff on www.napervilleyardsales.com It was quick and easier than a garage sale. For free, you can list up to 10 items and as they sell, add new ones. (For a fee you can list more than 10 at a time.)

Additionally, if you want to get rid of stuff for free and have people come get things (especially good for big items, odd items, or things that Goodwill won't take) try

DuPage County Parent Swap:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DupageCountyParentSwap/

Naperville Freesources:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Naperville_Freesources/

Naperville Freecycle:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Naperville-Freecycle/

Good luck!

A.

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R.

answers from Chicago on

My first and only garage sale made $180. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it and sold almost everything I had. I was pleased with the amount of money we made.

My neighbor made $1,200 last summer on hers. She markets like crazy... tons of signs and a couple of local newspaper ads. People came from far and wide. They also came EARLY. Most garage sale customers (who do it regularly) come as early 6:30 in the A.M.

I'm hoping to have a big one like my neighbor and really score!

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S.X.

answers from Chicago on

If your prices are good you will sell alot. I LOVE garage sales and if people are selling kids clothes for $3 or more i just leave. usually $1 or even $5 a bag and I end up buying all of it : )

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A.W.

answers from Chicago on

Like someone else said, don't over price. People have a tendency to do that and their stuff just sits there.

Since you have tons of baby stuff, you have a good chance of making money. Advertising is key. Ads in the paper, signs posted, and the like.

If you team up with some friends and have a multi-family sale, you'll have an even better shot. And make sure you advertise it as multi family.

You may also want to talk to your neighbors and organize a block sale. My Mom's block does that once a year and they make out big time! And if you combine a block sale with a multi-family sale, you can do really well. (It's what my parents do.

What ever you decide, make sure you make your house visible. Have signs giving directions, maybe some of those flag things you see at car sales. You want to grab people's attention.

IMO, one of the most important things is being pleasant and welcoming the day of. For the day(s) you have your sale, you're basically a store. I've been to garage sales where the people were down right rude. It doesn't exactly induce people to buy things.

Also, make sure things are really nice and neat, like a store. I've been to sales where things are just jumbled all together and it really isn't appealing. And if things get jumbled together, neaten it up. Sort and organize things. Clothes by size and gender, toys by age, books by age, etc. Then you can put signs specifying what's what.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but based on what you have, it sounds like you could really do some business.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

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M.E.

answers from Chicago on

Craigslist!!! I sold all of my big ticket items on Craigslist and have made over $400. By big ticket I mean anything from furniture to crib bedding to Baby Bjorn, crib mobile, exersaucer, walkers, etc. You can save clothing and smaller items for a yard sale. Don't put price tags on any yard sale items. It is easier to negotiate with someone what you think the price should be once you know they're really interested. Sell all clothing for a $1.00 each. Good luck!!

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S.K.

answers from Chicago on

People do go to garage sales. Just make sure that you advertise for it. Maybe you could get together with neighbors and plan a neighborhood sale. I am too lazy to put together my own sale, but the community thing worked out really well. Some of my neighbors made a few hundred dollars! The other thing i could suggest would be finding one of those places that will sell things on ebay for you.

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M.N.

answers from Chicago on

Hi
i have a 4 month and a 2 year old boys so i would be interested in clothes and any toys that you would like to sell just let me know what you are thinking of the prices.
Thanks

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P.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

Are you in the Thorntown area? We had a garage sale this past summer during the Turning Leaves festival and made a ton of money, with no advertising. My son made almost $100, just with lemonade!

We would be interested in baby boy clothes if you don't want to wait that long. We have a one-year old son and then one of our oldest daughters is expecting a baby boy tomorrow. Unfortunately, she isn't quite old enough (nineteen) to be having a baby and has many needs. PM - ____@____.com

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N.K.

answers from Chicago on

I think you should have the garage sale because they definitely pay off. There are many people that can use
alot of the stuff. I have had several and I did very well.

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E.R.

answers from Chicago on

Hi S.,

I might be interested in the crib and the mattress. Due you have any pictures that I can view send them to me at ____@____.com thanks.

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M.J.

answers from Indianapolis on

Garage sales do pay off if u keep the prices low and organize really well. One years i made over 100 just in a couple of hours . Food money for our road trip that year. Best thing to do is what you dont sell.salvage.to keep your garage clean. Good luck.

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J.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

I'd say it really depends on what time of year and where you're located. I made 200 dollars on mine. But I live behind McDonalds.

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J.U.

answers from Chicago on

I think if you advertise well, they are worth it.

I'm in DuPage Doubles, a multiples club, so I tag all my sellable stuff for that and put it out at my yard sale. Because it is not stained, damaged, missing buttons, etc I price it higher. Some people don't pay those prices at a yard sale but will at the club Resale.

I do have stuff that is slightly stained or missing a button or something that I do sell for cheap.

If you have lots of gear and in good condition clothing, you might contact one of the local moms groups that do Clothing and Equipment resales because you'll get more money from those sales than you will a yard sale. DuPage Doubles is accepting non-member sellers - you can check out the webpage and email the 3rd VP for more information. But the stuff does need to be good quality and we check stuff as it comes in. www.dupagedoubles.com if you are interested.

J.

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M.

answers from Chicago on

It's totally worth it if your prices are good. If you want too much for your stuff it will be a waste of time. I made over $800 at mine last year. I had a few big items but mostly it was children's clothes at $1-$2 a piece. You should also put an ad on craigslist....

good luck!
M.

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K.F.

answers from Chicago on

Hi S.!
We had our first garage sale this past year but it was part of a community garage sale so we were on a map and had a lot of people come through. We were'nt very organized but ended up making ove $500.00. I wanted to do another one but time got away from us. I think if you can find a neighbor to have one the same time as you and then put ads in the paper, you may have a lot of luck.
Good luck!
K. :~)

M.B.

answers from Chicago on

I think they do. Although, it's a litte easier for me, because our subdivision has an annual garage sale, where our local real estate agent underwrites the costs for advertising.
Last year, we did ok. I made enough to cover what I bought from my neighbors and we had less to drag away.
I did find, oddly enough that we did better on Friday than Saturday. I think people who are looking for certain items come on the first day to get the best selection.

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K.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I know that I go to garage sales all spring and summer and sometimes even fall long....I find it a good way to get cloths for my kids cheap because they won't stay in them that long anyway....everytime I turn around they are going through another growth spurt and that eventully kills the bank....I can buy them 2-3 outfits at garage sales for the price I can buy one in a store

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P.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi S.~

My friend and I had two garage sales last year. One in spring and one in August. I would have to say that the spring sale did better, however the weather in August was more predictable (somewhat hot) We live in North Aurora and during North Aurora Days (beginning of Aug) there is a citywide sale. We thought that the timing would be right. Really it turns out that more people will travel to your garage sale if there are few in the neighborhood as opposed to an overwhelming street full.

I will speak for the two of us, that the garage sale "business" is definitely time consuming. Have childcare for your children. IT DOESN'T WORK WHEN THEY ARE HANGING AROUND. Keep prices right. Remember that you are trying to rid your house of clutter & clothes. You really don't want to bag and box the stuff up after the sale. Target and other similar stores will mark cute clothes down to $4 -$8 so if you plan on prices in that range, remember that people can go out and buy new for around the same price. How much would YOU spend on GENTLY used items? Wash and organize things as best you can. More fun to have one with a friend or relative. Start early organizing your stuff. Make plenty of signs on bright colored poster board. Place signs in high traffic locations.

Hope this all helps. We plan on having another sale this spring, so it must be worth it. ~smile~

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K.F.

answers from Chicago on

I have had a few garage sales and they do pay off. Especially if you have not had one before. The first one is usually always the best one. Let me know when it is I would love to shop!
K.

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S.L.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Absolutely, I have a friend that made $1000 in one day with her baby stuff. Just don't price to high or no one will buy.

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M.H.

answers from Chicago on

We have a group here called Mothers and More that has two sales a year. You can volunteer for helping at the sale, and you can also just try to get tickets early as possible to just sell your items.
I believe there are other branches of this group, so there may be one near you. http://www.mothersandmore.org/localchap/chapterlist2.php?... you advertise in the paper, they may have some freebies when you place your ad.
I like Craigslist as well, especially for the bigger items.

M.K.

answers from Chicago on

As the previous posters said, Craiglist is a good way to go. Also, ebay, which is a little more complicated, but I buy most of Connor's clothes on ebay. Or, there is an organization called freecycle.org.

Either way, I would put the clothing in "lots" by size. So advertise "lot of 12 months boys clothes".

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J.

answers from Chicago on

I think it depends on where you live, but in my experience in this neighborhood, baby stuff is as common as dirt and unless you have unusual or high-end stuff, you won't make tons of money. (not as an hourly rate for the work you put into it!) But if you have a block sale or sell with friends, it's not a total waste - you then have everything out of your house and ready to box up for goodwill.

If you have a lot of time to go back and forth to the post office, it does seem like EBay can be a way to get rid of stuff like that profitably. Consignment stores also seem like a good bet - at least it's not a lot of work for you.

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