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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Mary Hunt on

Whether your goal is to purge your home of stuff you no longer need, or you want to raise some cash -- or both -- you have options.

You can sell your items on an auction website like, list them in the classified in a local newspaper or on You can unload unwanted clutter on social platforms like Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace. But some things never change. There's just nothing like a well-organized, killer garage sale to turn your castoffs into cold, hard cash.

Depending on where you live, you may call it a "yard sale," "garage sale" or "tag sale," but all of its monikers mean the same: We're ready to negotiate because everything must go!


Give yourself more than a few weeks to get ready. Check local laws regarding signage, restrictions and a requirement, if any, to get a permit. Make sure you consider what else is happening on the weekend you have in mind. You don't want to go up against major competing events, such as your town's high school graduation or the opening date of the fair. You do want to time your sale to coincide with complementary events, such as arts festivals that bring lots of foot traffic to your neighborhood or seasonal "yard sale days" sanctioned by your local community.



Assume that nobody wants to buy dirty, dusty or broken items. That means everything you are selling needs to be cleaned prior to the sale. Don't go overboard; just make sure everything in your sale is as attractive as possible.


It pays to put your stuff in order. Designate your sale area. If there are items in close proximity that are not for sale, cover or clearly mark them "not for sale." Take the time to repair and clean your sale items, and your sale area, too. Dirt, grime, chaos and clutter will repel shoppers. A nicely-ordered space will draw people who are ready, willing and able to buy.



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