Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: Garage Sale 101 & a Winner!

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Garage Sale 101 & a Winner!



Hallelujah, Hallelujah,.... Halleeeelujah!!!

Did you hear the angels singing?  My garage sale is over!!!!

Phew....  I am SO glad that it's over! 

I told you about my love/hate relationship with garage sales here...  how much I hate having a garage sale but love the money it earns and the junk it gets out of my house.

My garage sale this year did pretty well and I thought I'd share some garage sale tips with you that I've learned after having several sales of my own. 

I'm sorry I have NO pictures... I thought the pictures downloaded to my computer, they didn't, I had already cleared the memory card.  But, how exciting can garage sale pictures really be?!  You're not missing much peeps.  I know I'm breaking all kinds of blogging rules but whatever, this is an educational post anyway. :)


  1. COLLECT:  Gather garage sale items from your home all year.  Yes, all year.  I keep a running storage tote in my basement storage room and when it fills up, I start another one.   Another helpful hint is to price the item as you put it in the storage bin but I have to admit that I'm guilty of not doing it.  Do as I say, not as I do, right?? :)
  2. THE MORE THE MERRIER:  Have a garage sale with others.  Whether your neighborhood has a sale or you just ask a few neighbors on your street, the more sales in an area bring a larger crowd.  I always have a better turnout when there are more houses involved.
  3. ADVERTISE:  Place a free ad in Craig's List at least a week prior to the sale.  Add pictures of big items to draw people but expect to have people email you about buying stuff early.  Place an additional ad the day before the sale.  Also, place an ad in your local paper.  I know this can be pricey but if you're splitting the cost with a few neighbors it's well worth it.  Our local paper runs their garage sale ads on their website as well so even people who don't subscribe can look up the sales.
  4. SIGNS:  Make good signs!  I live in a neighborhood that gets significant traffic past the entry.  I always place a large sign that can be read by passing cars there.  Many people coming and going will stop by because they followed my signs.  List address, dates and times of sale.   If your house is off the beaten path put signs on busy intersections near your home. 
  5. PRICE:  Price everything!  Many people will not ask if an item isn't priced (are they scared of me??)  which can mean lost sales.  If you don't have time (or patience) to price everything use a system like "All kids shirts $1, all shoes $1, etc.,"  Make sure your pricing signs are easy to see or people may just think nothing is priced, look at you, get scared, then walk away.  (Just kidding!  Wanted to make sure you were paying attention. :)
  6. PREPARE:  Set up early.  If you have lots of stuff to sell start setting up in your garage 2 weeks in advance (especially if your main job is taking care of small children, not garage sale-ing).  I set up a week before the sale and spent some late nights in the garage (partly because I had to price everything, see above number 1), could have definitely used the extra week.  This will help you be organized when the sale starts and those early birds inevitably show up.
  7. HANG:  Hang clothes up.  My ingenious hubs, Mr. Chic, hung 2 bicycle hooks in the ceiling, he suspended 2 strong metal chains from the hooks and added a wooden pole.  This works perfect to hang clothes and then easily stores out of the way but putting the pole up in the bike hooks.  People do not like to dig through piles of messed up clothes (they will not stay folded no matter how often you refold them, trust me on this) on a table.
  8. DISPLAY:  Place like items together, housewares, holiday items, cds and dvds.  It's easier for people to find what they're looking for.
  9. PLACEMENT:  Put large desirable items down toward the end of your driveway.  This will draw attention to your home and hopefully draw people in to shop!  Some people do the opposite and place desirable items in the back of the sale so customers have to walk through the whole sale (maybe picking up more to buy) to get what they want.  Tricky, tricky, tricky
  10. MONEY:  Have lots of small bills and change.  Someone gave me a $50 last weekend (after I'd had some business thankfully) and I was able to cash it, no problem.  Also, it might be a good idea to have a screwdriver and batteries on hand in case someone wants to test a toy.  I've never had this happen but you never know. 
  11. TIME:  Have your garage sale on the first day that people start having sales in your area.  Around here people start on Thursday afternoon, run all day Friday, then Saturday morning.  Thursday is always, always my best day. 
What to sell besides the obvious....

JEWELRY:  I sell tons of old jewelry, you know, the fake stuff you buy at Target, not like real diamonds. 

MAKEUP:  I know, you're thinking GROSS!  I'm talking about the new pieces you get in the "freebie" stuff from Clinique and the like with purchase.  I sell mine at $3 a piece and people bought it like crazy!  Just make sure you put "New, unused" on the sign with it.

TOILETRIES:  I know, another weird one but people will pay for half used shampoo/conditioners, lotions, hairsprays, whatever.  I stick to the same hair products but every once in awhile I get a wild hair (get it?!) to try out something new that will make my hair smooth/shiny/full/voluminous/curly.  Inevitably, it won't work and I won't like it.  Why throw out a perfectly good bottle of stuff when someone else may be able to use it.  I sold ALL of my toiletries items.

SNACKS:  If it's hot sell ice cold bottled water for .50 cents.  Set them out in a cooler with ice so people can see them.   Involve your kiddos, make some cookies or lemonade and let your little ones learn about business and handling money, plus it will keep them busy.
I'm always surprised at what people buy.  The stuff I think will fly out doesn't sell, the junky crappy stuff that I'm half embarrassed to sell always flies out the door.  Again proving the old adage that one man's trash is truly another man's treasure. 

Have I convinced you to have a sale yet?? 

Now... the winner of Kate's Creative Salvage giveaway, #38 Monica!  Congrats and I'll be sending you an email soon.


  1. I have a corner in the basement we fill up through the year with all our garage sale goodies. Never thought of pricing things as we put them down there though. Guess that's kind of a duh thing huh?

  2. I am convinced!
    And I just announced my sale (and invited friends and neighbors) on July 7-8. Fri./Sat.
    Thanks, if I start now, I should be ready by then, LOL!
    Never thought about putting out my "old" shampoos and stuff- thanks!
    This was all some very good info!

  3. This is so true. People buy the weirdest things and the nicest stuff is always leftover!

  4. i had a garage sale once, so i'm definitely not an expert, but i'm surprised to see that i did pretty much the things in your check list!
    the crowd was big and we've got an old computer stolen, but overall it went very well, bot hoy it was tiring! the whole week was hectic!!

  5. I found that many of these tips work great for me too! And I'm like you, a love/hate relationship with garage sales :-)

    The basic thing to remember, in a nutshell, is to run your garage sale the same way a retail store does business. Departments, cash on hand, etc. And yup, you wouldn't believe what people buy! Our son and friends had made wooden toy's out of scrap lumber. People clamored for them. Go figure. LOL!

    When our weather shapes up, our garage sale is gonna be open for business! :-)

  6. Thanks for the great giveaway! I'll keep an eye out for your email :)

  7. Your tips were great, spot on. We do a yard sale every year at our church raising $5000+ every year. I'm in charge of the jewelry department (yup, we have sales departments!) and we always do $1000 in just old jewelry, it always amazes me. Someone actually took pictures from our fire escape this year, stop by and check out our insanity!


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