(604) 835-PACK (7225)

Garage Sale

Ok so you have spent a significant amount time and energy severing your emotional ties to what is now a pile of stuff that you no longer need. It wasn't easy but you did it. The realization being that getting rid of what you don't want can actually be profitable. Money in your pocket is better than clutter in your house.

A garage sale can make money, but can also save money by reducing the cost of moving and shipping your household items to your new location.

There's nothing complicated about having a garage sale, but a well organized sale will be more profitable than a garage sale that is thrown together at the last minute.

  1. Do you have the time required to organize a garage sale before your move?
  2. Are the items worth selling?
  3. Will someone be able to help you on the day of the sale?

Remember your objectives:

  1. To basically to get rid of stuff so that you don't have to pack it and move it.
  2. Make a few bucks and have fun with it.

Getting Ready

Be aware of any Strata or Rental agreements specific to holding a garage sale.

Check with your City Hall. Some municipalities don't allow sales of any type while others may require a day permit.

Pick a suitable day (Saturdays) and expect to work hard at making it a success. Make sure to round up some help on the big day. It will be difficult to hold a sale on your own.

Saturdays are usually best for yard sales. Some people schedule their sales for Saturday and Sunday, and reduce the prices on Sunday.

Avoid holding your sale over Holiday weekends.

To maximize sales and interest consider involving a few of your neighbors. This makes it more fun, motivating and will probably increase the turn out. Increased saving in the placement of an add in your local paper if you share the cost.

Start saving plastic shopping bags and or small boxes for your customers.

The Price is Right

Remember your objectives, the purpose isn't to get rich but to salvage a few bucks from unwanted items.

Price items according to their worth to others, not their worth to you. A good way to do this is by asking a Friend to assist you in pricing items for the moving sale. Someone who is not emotionally attached to the item is likely to set a more realistic price.

Charge about 20% of the original cost.

Set prices in dollar amounts -$1,$2,$3 or 25 cent increments. Setting odd prices results in a change-making nightmare.

Remember to have plenty of change on hand. Start the day with about $75-$100 worth of change on hand.

Leave yourself some room to bargain.

Glasses, cups, dishes and utensils will sell faster if they are sold as sets of 6 for $1,00 instead of 15 cents each.

Price items such as glasses, cups, dishes, utensils, and silverware together. Five for $1, instead of 25 cents each. They will sell faster if they are sold as sets.

Clump similar priced items together.

Don't over price your items. People are looking for bargains. Don't disappoint them. Remember that what you sell is something you didn't want anyway and don't want to have to move. There's really no reason that anyone should leave empty hand.

Advertise and Bring in the Buyers

Run an add in your daily newspaper. If you run your add one day only, have it on a Thursday newspaper for a Saturday sale to maximize circulation time.

Run ads in the neighbourhood paper, promo deals.

Put up notices on bulletin boards at the grocery store and laudromat. Post on local internet website. Put signs on community post boards at you in most local stores.

Some municipalities have a website where you can post information about your moving sale.

A couple of days before the sale, mow the lawn and remove any hazards Consider placing a sign on your front lawn a day or 2 before the big day that simply says garage sale here tomorrow 8am.

On the day before the sale, put signs along the road announcing the sale.

Use signs, balloons, flags, and banners and get them high enough off the ground for people to see while driving.

If you want to start your sale at 7:00am advertise that it opens at 8:00am, you will be glad you did.

Treat your moving sale like a retail business. Merchandise your items in an appealing way.

Time to Get Things Organized

It's not a garage sale until you have put up signs, lots of signs. Professional looking materials are easier to see and read and draw people in more quickly than hand-drawn signs.

Start organizing what you want to sell as if you were stocking a department store. If something is broken, throw it out or fix it. First impressions are lasting. Clean everything, run dishes and glasses through the dishwasher and hose down garden tools. Make items look appealing and they will sell. A customer who comes across a yard sale where everything is clean and well organized will linger and more importantly, shop.

Organize your items. Put books together, music together etc...categorize.

People don't like to have to ask about everything on display so make sure everything has a price tag on it. Take the time to place a price mark on each item. This will save you a lot of time answering questions and provide an established haggling point.

Wash iron and neatly fold or hang all clothing. String up a clothes line to display any clothing you may have.

Put similar items together on the table or shelf.

Use signs to draw potential customers to certain sections of the sale.

Clean all glass and mirrors

A way to ensure that those undesirable items will sell before your move is to bundle them. Put one or two great items in with one or two not so great items and sell them as a lot.

Toys at eye level, prices children can afford. Kids like to purchase things all on their own with the two quarters burning a hole in their pocket.

Consider having a special bin filled with items that are only a quarter, categorize them. One bin could hold toys the other kitchen items and tools. Make sure that the sign on the outside of the bin clearly advertises the price.

Have an electrical outlet or extension cord nearby for your customers to test out your electronic goods for sale to show that everything works.

A Garage Sale to Remember

Be prepared to work but above all have fun, make it an event to remember. You may have to get a little silly. Put on a reflective vest or a bright hat so that you are easy to find and that there is no question as to who your customers should haggle with. You are going to have to shmooze and involve your customers.

Your motto should be no one leaves empty handed. Consider giving out lesser expensive items as thanks for dropping in prizes. (one less thing for you to move).

Set up a table and chair for yourself, so people know where to come with questions or to pay for their purchases.

Fill a cooler with soft drinks, juice boxes, and water bottles and sell them at a reasonable cost to your customers, especially if it's hot out. This is another great way to add to your daily profit.

Go one step further by getting the garden hose and put the teenagers to work on a combined garage sale / car wash event.

Get creative, if things are lagging but there's still customers present, fire up the buying interest by suddenly announcing a 'Buy One get the Second Half Price' event.


  • Have two people present
  • Position all your items outside the garage and close the door.
  • It is best to not allow people into your home.
  • Keep the money that you will use to make change with you at all times. A fanny pack or money belt works great.
  • Keep the doors to you residence locked.
  • Keep fragile items on a sturdy table and away from children's reach.
  • Keep the money on you in a fanny pack so that it's never unattended. This lets you walk over to assist your customers without leaving money unattended.
  • Make change without flashing all the bills around.

Website Design & Website Development: MJA Impressions