Garage Sale Virgin

Updated on April 15, 2010
H.S. asks from Kings Mills, OH
11 answers

I'm going to have my first ever garage sale in about 10 days. I'm wanting to do this for a couple of reasons. I want to spring clean, and get out all of the things that we aren't using. We want to make some extra cash to buy passes to a local theme park ($300+ for a family of four). I want to get the most out of it since I know it will be alot of work to prepare for it. I'm wondering what sells? I know childrens clothing will, but how about adult clothing? Would I waste my time going through our clothes? I would love to hear tips on how to make it a good sale. What determines how you price things? Should you sticker price every single item? Or take offers? When do I know that junk is junk and throw it away rather than sit it out for the sale? Lots of questions here! Any advise?

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answers from San Antonio on

Adult clothes - price them all at 50 cents a piece and they'll mostly all sell.

Junk vs. Sellable - toss it all in a box and label the box 25 cents each piece. It may be junk to you but someone else may want it.

That's all I know. I've only had one garage sale, but have been to plenty. I am most pleased as a buyer when things are cheap cheap cheap. Went to one last week and a set of wooden blocks was $5. If it were $2 I'd have bought them. Again, as a buyer, I like everything priced already.

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answers from Denver on

A lot of people Will. Not. Ask. about prices. You need to have prices clear in some fashion. You can say anything on the table $1 with a sign on the table to that effect, or whatever to save yourself time and hassle, but EVERYTHING needs a price if you want to sell it. In general I almost never price anything above $25, and that better be something expensive to buy elsewise. Most everything should end up being between $.50 and $5. Assume that many people will offer you half price of whatever you price things at, but that some won't ask at all and will walk away if the price isn't cheap. You have to find that magic balance point between those two facts.

Books and clothes should be $.50. Appliances can be $5-25. Most things should be round numbers that are easy to do change for, and you should go the the bank and get some cash (At least $50) converted to ones and quarters and have it on hand.

Put some exciting variety out by the curb where it attracts people's attention. Garage sales held in dark garages with nothing outside get driven by rather than looked at by a lot of people. Put a variety of larger things out there where people will see them to be curious.

Make sure that your sinage is CLEAR AND LARGE/OBVIOUS. Many people make crappy little signs with hard to read little writing, no arrows present of any kind, and no date to tell if it's current, so people ignore them. Or if they put arrows up, they put them up in ways that are clear as mud to anyone else. Make the signs VERY obvious with BIG arrows and LARGE text.

Greet everyone who stops by and tell them prices are negotiable so to please make an offer if their heart is set on something. Make sure you have sun screen, and if you want some extra cash, serve drinks for a low price. A cooler of soda for $.50 each will often sell a surprising amount.

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answers from Cincinnati on

First is to price everything, whether it's by grouping like things together and putting up a sign or individual price tags - most people feel uncomfortable making an offer without some starting point - it is understood that there will be haggling at a garage sale - if you see someone eyeing something but walking away you can always say "what do you want to pay for that?". Sometimes adult clothes sell - depends on your area and what type of clothes - dressy things as well as outerwear sold well at my last sale. T-shirts and such too - people can stock up on yardwork clothes. If it looks like junk and it's big (people driving by can see) it may make people think that your sale is a bunch of junk and not stop, but if it at least looks good from a distance it can't hurt (IMO). Kids clothes and baby items sell and draw in customers. Advertise in a local paper (some do free for this type of thing), talk to neighbors about doing a sale the same day (our street does one every year), make signage that matches and gives clear directions to your sale (like all orange signs with the street name and an arrow starting from your nearest major intersection). During the last few hours of the sale if you really want to get rid of stuff and make the last bit of money do a clearance (like $2 for a bag and anything you can fit in it is yours) - if you really want to clean out the house then don't bring anything back in - take it straight to The Salvation Army or Goodwill.

One other thing that went over well was my box of "junk" toys - like old happy meal toys, small stuffed animals, etc. that I just wanted rid of so they were "free with any purchase" it went over big with all the kids that were being dragged around by parents.

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answers from New York on

My girlfriend and I are garage sale junkies. We've had a few over the years. Here's a few tips I can share with you.

Make sure your items are generally clean.
Toys sell.
Stuffed animals do not sell.
Glassware like mugs and vases will sell, but for only a quarter.
Spread items out on tables or tarps on the ground, we don't like to dig through boxes.
Adult clothing usually doesn't sell, except for jackets or hoodies. If you itemize on your taxes, you're better off donating it to Good Will.
Children's clothing, separate by sizes.
If it's broken, throw it out.
Have boxes or bags available.
Make sure you have change.

What determines the price? Good question, it's basically what other people in your area are charging for similar items, and the condition of the items. Also, how bad do you want to get rid of it.

Personally when I go to a garage sale, I want to see the items priced. Of course, there's usually haggling involved. Let's say you have a bike you want $10 for, price it at $12 or $15, you may get the full price, but you'll have room to bargin so you'll get your $10.

If you have a box full of a similar items (like craft supplies), priced at $.50 each and you notice someone digging through the box, you know there are 12 items in the box so potentially you could make $6, offer them the whole box for $3.00.

Make sure you advertise your sale. Take out an ad in your local paper. In addition hang up signs, remember as your driving by it's difficult to read the signs, so don't put a lot of info on it. If your house is in a subdivision and requires several turns, draw arrows on the signs. And please take down your signs.

One person's trash is another person's treasure. You may think it's junk, but someone else may want it. So put it out, if no one buys it, you can just toss it after the sale.

Good luck.

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answers from Boston on

We had a garage sale when my mother moved out of her condo and boy was it enlightening. I was amazed at what sold -- a customer who didn't speak a word of English bought a picture frame with my sister's sorority logo on it!

You got great advice and I would only add the following:
1. Some people (the "pro" sharks) come early, even before you open, be ready
2. Make sure your house is secured so that no light-fingered visitors can wander in and lift your wallet while you are helping customers
3. Get helpers lined up
4. Have a rain plan
5. Don't put out anything that you are not willing to donate at the end and have some large boxes and bags ready to take right to Goodwill, putting it all away again is a pain in the butt and you didn't want any of it anyway, right?
6. Price it to move it.
7. Give away the old stuffed animals and the mardi gras beads to kids and the parents will probably buy something just to be nice.

Have a great time it can be a lot of fun.

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answers from Minneapolis on


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answers from Dallas on

Yes, adult clothes absolutely sell. Whatever you don't want put out in the garage sale. You can lower your price but you can't mark it don't go too cheap, keeping in mind most people will just walk away to the next garage sale if your prices are too high. The price depends. A t-shirt would be 50 cents to a dollar. A dress $2-5 dollars depending on how nice it is. Keep in mind people are looking for an extreme bargain. They can shop the sale rack in any department store for brand new un-used clothes. So if you really want to get rid of it, mark it fairly cheap. Lots of people like to bargain and will ask for a reduced price. So think about that and what you would want to do.

Sticker as few items as possible. All dresses $3, etc... and just put up a sign. This box is 25 cents for each item and then have a table of individually marked items. Large items don't have to be marked. People will ask you if they are interested, or you can just tell them as they walk up. Don't use up too much energy bothering to price everything, but do put things out so that people can see what you have and not let it all get crammed in the back of the garage.
Sell! Sell! Sell!........and have some fun.

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answers from Spokane on

I have only had 1 and we made almost $700 in 2 days. I say price everything...or at least price the tables that things are on...and put out as much as you can. You never know what people are looking for!

We had a great time with ours and in the very last hour on Sunday a car pulled up and asked if we had training wheels? We did and they were so excited! The dad had told the girl that if they were patient and asked around they would find some...and they did, it was great and made everyone's day!

Remember that it is a garage sale and price things accordingly. Baby clothes sell like gang busters, I priced mine at .25 cents and I could have made twice as much if I had priced them at .50 cents or so I was told repeatedly by many, many customers:)

The one thing I priced to high, and got many complaints about (and am still stunned over) was books. I priced them at $1 each and people were appalled...I eventually lowered it to the recommended .50 cents but to me $1 for a book was a steal!

Just wait til it gets will be running into the house looking for anything and everything you can put out to make some $ on:)

Have fun!

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answers from Tulsa on

I am a garage sell junkie. clothes 1-2 dollars is reasonable 5 dollars each I walk off unless the item is brand new never worn but once.20-30 on tvs you will get $50-150 on big furniture you will get small table 5-15 depending on the table. bikes 15-20. car seats 15-25 each. high chairs not sticker clothes put up a sign. books .25 each take offers only on the last few hours of the last day but consider other offers made before that. if I walked up and a deep freeze or fridge was marked $150 and all I could go is $100 i will offer. dryers and washers 50-100 lawn mowers $50. weed eaters $20. lamps $5. anything you are selling that I did not list mail me and ask I will tellyou what I consider reasonable.

I garage sell every summer almost every weekend. put up signs on major intersectiions. that way if I didnt buy a paper I will see your sign and detour. I may have time for 1 or 2 but not 40 garage sells if that is the case I go by signs I pass. hope this gives you a direction.


answers from Dallas on

I hate garage sales. I prefer to donate to a shelter who APPRECIATES the items and take the tax deduction.

I've done garage sales.... you put a price of $1 they want it 25 cents. I hate it. Last time I had a garage sale, I closed up shop because I had Abercrombie jeans in pre teen sizes that I bought at $50 per pair and were hardly worn..........I asked $10 ( a deal to me) and I was offered no more than $2. At that point, I grabbed my stuff and said I AM DONE.

I donated everything to the women's shelter, got a write off and got the satisfaction that what i donated was appreciated.

Many garage sale junkies want something for nothing. We work hard for what we get. In no way do I expect full compensation but GEES.... if I am going to give it away..........I will give it to a shelter/charity who appreciates it.



answers from Huntsville on

I've had several garage/yard sales. Hate all the work it takes to make such little :( Though the best one I had was just before we moved out of our last house. I had a lot of baby/kid stuff, including big outdoor toys. That was the bulk of what sold.

A big help in getting traffic to our sale was having it as a neighborhood sale. I made 1/4 page size flyers stating that we were going to have a neighborhood garage sale. I provided my contact info so that people could ask questions or simply let me know that they would be joining in. Didn't require anyone to do anything but to have their own sale in their own yard if they wanted. We stuck the flyers in all of the mailboxes on our block a few weeks before the intended sale date. Then I advertised in the local newspaper that we were having a neighborhood sale. I have no idea how many neighbors really participated because I couldn't leave my yard!! There were sooo many people coming and going constantly!!

So I think the combination of it being a neighborhood sale & advertising in the newspaper really helped!! We also had signs put up at different locations to lead shoppers in the right direction.

Good luck!

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