Garage Sale, Yard Sale Suppy Checklist and 20 Tips for Success

People will buy more items at your garage sale if you make it easy for them to do so! Follow these tips to sell more stuff and make more money! Get the supply checklist


  1. Make good signs that are sturdy, brightly-colored and will stand up in the ground. Include “GARAGE SALE,” your address, and an arrow pointing in the direction of your house. Place on each corner that people will have to turn to reach your home.
  2. Make sure your garage is well-lit. Many garages only have one little bulb on the ceiling; this is not good enough light to shop by. If you have shop lights or work lights, even extra lamps, put them around your garage with clear “Not for sale” labels. People can’t buy what they can’t see, and they won’t go into your garage if it’s dark and gloomy.
  3. Have helpers. Make sure someone is with your cash box or bag at all times, while someone else can run inside for drinks or restroom breaks, and can straighten your tables and racks and answer any customer questions.
  4. Decide your own limits for “bargaining” before your sale. Most garage sale shoppers will pay the price you have marked—after all, it’s already greatly discounted! But some shoppers love to bargain. My rule is we don’t take any lower prices until at least noon on the first day of the sale. It’s totally up to you how you want to handle it, but if you decide ahead of time, it will help you be firm when people try to talk you down to a lower price.
  5. Get a permit. If your city requires it, it’s usually very inexpensive (Oklahoma City’s is $7), but if you happen to get a visit from an enforcement officer and you DON’T have one, the fine can be steep. So just err on the safe side and get one, and post the number in a visible place.
  6. (Bonus tip) If there’s an item you aren’t QUITE sure you want to sell, put a high price on it, and don’t accept lower offers. If you do sell it, you’ll be happy with the money you got. If you don’t sell it, you get to keep it!


  1. Price each and every item. 90% of the time, people will NOT ask you for a price if the item is not marked. And it saves you the stress of having to answer people shouting at you asking for prices when the sale is busy, AND having to remember what you told them when it’s time to check out. Use masking tape, take the time and put a price on everything. You will sell way more of your items.
  2. Make sure each individual item has a price tag. (or that items with the same price are marked by signs, such as “all books 50 cents”). Use light-colored masking tape and a ball-point pen. Pre-made price stickers fall off. Sharpies smudge.
  3. Don’t price anything less than 25 cents. If it’s worth a dime it’s worth a quarter…it’s 2018! Price everything in 25-cent increments (50 cents, $1.00, $1.50, etc.)


  1. Put large and highly desirable items on the driveway or the lawn where they are easily visible from the street. Many customers “drive by” to see if they want to stop. Make sure they can see that you have lots of great stuff!
  2. Hang clothing. Would you want to bend over and sort through a box of wadded up clothing on someone’s driveway? Clothing DOES sell at garage sales—you just have to display it well.
  3. Organize merchandise by category. Put kitchen items, kids’ clothes, holiday decorations, etc. with other like items.
  4. If at all possible, have your sale IN your garage. It will block the wind and sun. If people are not comfortable, they won’t shop very long. If you can’t have it in your garage, or ifyou have more stuff than your garage can hold, you could put up popup tailgate tent in your driveway and put items under it. People won’t stand in the sun for long, so make sure items like clothes racks or tables with lots of small items are under the tent or in the garage where they will be shaded. Put larger items out in the sun, because they won’t take long for people to look at.

Money Details

  1. Have plenty of change. Go to your bank before your sale and get $200 in ones, fives, tens and quarters. You’ll need it. Make sure to deduct the amount of change you started with from your final profit!
  2. Invest in a counterfeit bill pen. They’re about $5 and can give you peace of mind if you get a suspicious bill.
  3. Run money inside periodically. If you accumulate a lot of big bills, take them inside and hide them every now and then. If you were to be robbed, at least they wouldn’t get ALL your money.
  4. Payment: Most people keep it cash-only. Don’t take checks, unless it’s from someone you know. Believe it or not, it’s safer and easier for you AND the shopper if you decide to take cards. You can get a Square card reader or a PayPal card reader for free; they plug into your phone’s headphone jack, and deposits the money right into your bank account, minus about a 3% processing fee. If you have lotsof higher-priced items, it’s a very good idea to take cards. Even with the fees, you’ll still make more money than you would if you only took cash. Find more info at or

Customer Service

  1. Have paper and plastic bags on hand for bagging purchases.
  2. “Free stuff for kids.” Have a box of free (not-worth-25-cents) items that grumpy kids can look through and pick one thing. It will keep them occupied while their parents shop and spend more money at your sale!
  3. Have a checkout table. Shoppers will buy more if they can keep shopping with empty arms, so have an empty table where they can put items they want to buy, while they keep shopping. It also lets you more easily sort and count and add up everything when they are ready to check out.
  4. Have an extension cord or power strip handy and plugged in so people can test electronics.

Supply Checklist:

  • Regular masking tape
  • Ballpoint Pens
  • Counterfeit Pen
  • $200 change (ones, fives, tens and quarters)
  • Garage Sale Permit
  • Cash box
  • Cash bag
  • 1-3 helpers
  • folding tables
  • clothing rack
  • signs

(c) Emily Garman. All Rights Reserved.