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If you are considering a garage, yard or tag sale, 

  • Think about whether you can handle the emotions of people pawing through your personal possessions -- perhaps even laughing at them -- or rejecting them entirely. If the emotions that a sale bring up are a problem, ask someone else to handle the sale for you -- even a professional if necessary.
  • If you so desire, there are professionals who will conduct a tag sale for you.

Once you decide to go ahead:

  • Make sure it's okay to have such a sale in your area. Ask your town clerk whether you need a yaerd-sale permit and about restrictions on posting signs.
  • Check your property for situations that could present a safety hazard.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Let neighbors know in advance.
  • Consider joining with friends and neighbors to create a larger sale if your items won't fill at least 3 tables and some left over to spread around. Joining with others also brings in more potential buyers.
  • Market your sale so people know about it.
  • Decide whether your goal is to get rid of as much as possible or to make as much money as possible. If you want to do both, and have the time, do the first sale seeking as much money as possible. Another time set prices low to get rid of as much as you can.
  • Decide ahead of time what to do if it rains. You can pitch a tent or make room in  your garage in case of rain. Have a tarp or plastic on hand to cover your items. If you set a rain date, include it in your ads and posters.
  • Don't assume that what is junk to you is junk to everyone else. For example, people have been known to purchase broken VCRs for the remote.
  • Work out an arrangement so you can accept credit cards.  You can even do it on your phone these days.
  • Be aware of potential liability.Check that your  Homeowners Insurance policy or other liability insurance covers potential purchasers coming on to your premises.

NOTE: If you do not have a Homeowners Insurance policy with respect to your residence, now is a time to get it. The last thing you need with a history of a serious health condition is a loss that you cannot afford. 

On the day(s) of the sale:

  • Have change on hand.
  • Set up an hour ahead of time so you are ready for early birds.

For information, see:


How To Set The Dates And Time For A Garage/Yard Sale

How To Determine The Date(s)

  • Try to hold your sale on a weekend when there is a large sale in your area. For example, when a local church or civic group is holding a sale. Or when there are other sales in your neighborhood.
  • Think about whether your sale should be one or two days. Check to find the norm in your area. (The disadvantage of a two day sale is people on the second day may think all the good things are gone). The norm will also indicate whether to include Friday (which is considered a good day for garage sales in some areas).
  • Avoid holiday weekends when people are busy.
  • Check the weather forecast (for example, on offsite link). If rain or snow are likely, postpone your sale to another weekend. 

How To Set The Opening and Closing Time

  • Check the norm in your area.
  • As a general matter, it is advisable to start about 8:00AM  so you have time to set up, and to catch the early birds.
  • End the sale when traffic stops or follow the norm in your area.

Supplies You Will Need On Hand For A Successful Garage/Yard Sale

According to Lizz of, you'll need the following supplies:

  • Lots of signage (big, bold lettering)
  • Balloons & Streamers (hang them high enough so people can clearly see your house is having a sale when they’re driving by)
  • Waterproof black marker or sharpie, masking tape or sticky labels (to price things)
  • Clean plastic grocery bags, stack of newspapers, smaller boxes (to offer buyers with large or heavy loads)
  • Clean tablecloths, sheets (to lay across the tables and on the ground to lay items on)
  • Measuring tape (to enable customers to measure furniture or shelving, etc.)
  • Coin wrappers – you’ll need these at the end of the day to wrap all the change you collected
  • You’ll need a big thermos of coffee ready (for you) and lots of beverages chilling–you’re going to be hot and thirsty throughout the busy day
  • Calculator (just in case you need to tally purchases)
  • Pad of paper – sometimes you’ll receive an offer for a large purchase that you don’t want to commit to (it’s lower than you hoped). You can offer to take the person’s name & phone number and call them the next day if you decide to sell it at that price (this gives you the day to try for a better price)
  • Lots of tables, clean blankets or sheets to display things in, big boxes to hold the toys and stuffed animals
  • Have an extension cord handy to plug in any electrical items being sold, and an assortment of batteries to test items. Some people want to test and make sure the item works before buying. Use the outside electrical outlet–do not let people in your home!
  • Fanny pack to hold the money (do not use a cash box–too easy to grab and run and too awkward to hold all day).

Check Local Laws Before Spending A Lot Of Time Preparing For A Garage/Yard Sale

Be sure to find out if there are any local regulations governing yard or garage sales, including:

  • Is there an outright prohibition against garage/yard sales?
  • How many sales can you have a year?
  • Where on your property you can have a sale?
  • Are there size limitations on your signs about the sale?
  • Any other restrictions?

Tips To Help Maximize Your Income From A Yard/Garage Sale

In order to maximize income, consider the following:
  • Make the sale a group effort. Multihome sales usually attract more people.
  • Market the sale. (For information, click here)
  • Make the site appealing to customers. 
    • Have at least 3 tables of salable items. Hopefully also have other items you can spread around the area, such as furniture. The more items on display, the more likely a passer-by will stop and look at your items.
    • Consider selling drinks at cost or low price for people who are thirsty. Perhaps even have free refreshments.
    • Consider soothing background music.
  • Place any items you do not want to sell out of sight.
  • Price items reasonably.
    • Check online auctions to find out what the items are selling for and/or conduct a search on your favorite search engine. For example, check eBay offsite link.
    • Consider getting a detailed virtual appraisal. For instance, from offsite link. You submit a photo and get a value estimate within 48 hours. The site is based in England and the home page shows British pounds. For U.S. dollars, select the currency on the 'Pricing' page before you proceed.
    • Price your items slightly higher than the price you think you can get. It leaves room for people to negotiate, and for you to come down in your price. Some pros say the price should be 20% to 25% more than you are willing to accept.
  • Clean your items. They'll look better and be more likely to sell.
  • Organize items so people can easily find what they're looking for. For example, keep clothing together.
  • Have electricity handy so people can test electrical items.
  • If items don't work, label them. If you are selling a safety item such as a child's car seat, label it "as is."
  • If an item takes batteries, put working batteries in the item. (To save money, if you need to insert new batteries, put the batteries in an item you're keeping and put the used batteries in the item to be sold).
  • Put items on tables so people can see them easily. If you don't have enough tables, perhaps you can borrow them from neighbors, or your local religious organization.
  • According to the Wall street Journal "Many shoppers say it is a turnoff when eBay auction results are posted next to objects as a way to legitimize high prices…. People aren't interested in stuff that's priced what it's worth."
  • Attach a sticker with a price on it to each item, or post a sign for items grouped together with the same price.

Set A Method Of Accepting Credit Cards

  • If you are selling more expensive items, you can take credit cards via a connection to the internet.. You can connect to the internet via a computer or through a smart phone.
  • Expect to be charged a percentage of the transaction.
  • Online payment services include:

How To Market A Garage/Yard Sale

Advertise at least a week before your sale date.

  • Advertise in your local newspaper and penny-saver.
  • Put up notices on community bulletin boards and boards in stores such as supermarkets.
  • List your sale on line. For example:
  • List your sale in applicable apps. For instance:
    • Garage Sale Rover
    • Garage Sales Tracker 
  • Put up signs on street corners with an arrow and your address for at least a few days before your sale.
  • If there is a sale nearby, post signs with arrows leading to your sale.

Ads should be simple and include:

  • The days
  • Hours
  • Location (including driving directions if you live out of the way)
  • Some of the categories of items you intend to sell. For example: Women's clothing size 6 - 8, Children's clothing, Household Items and more.

Some experts suggest that signs only say TODAY, even if the sale continues over several days. Advertising "today" keeps potential customers from postponing coming or thinking the best items were sold the day before.

Signs should be large enough so people can read the writing as they drive by.

NOTE: It is advisable to take down all neighborhood signs as soon as possible after the sale. Keeping the signs up longer can hurt your relationship with neighbors, and possibly lead to a fine.

Have Singles And Change Available.

You don't want to get stuck taking time to hunt for appropriate change. Start each day with a stack of singles (say $50) and a few rolls of quarters. Depending on how you price your items, you may even needs nickles and dimes.

It doesn't cost anything to get change at local banks - though some banks may require that you be a customer.

When You Conduct A Yard/Garage Sale, Watch For Thieves

  • Keep small valuable items in a locked display case.
  • Keep larger valuable items close by or carefully attended.
  • If you are selling furniture with drawers, check the drawers to be sure unpaid items weren't included.
  • Count cash you receive to make sure it is the correct amount.

Prepare In Case Of Rain

Decide ahead of time what to do in case of rain.

If your sale in indoors, such as in a garage, you can go ahead with your sale. However, keep in mind that traffic will be less on a rainy day than on a clear one.

If you set a rain date, include it on ads and signs you post in the neighborhood.