Garage Sale Courtesy


Garage sale courtesy and ethics tips for garage sale hosts, yard sale hosts and garage sale shoppers.Veterans of thousands of garage sales offer the top 10 garage sale etiquette tips for how to act at garage sales and yard sales so that there are no garage sale problems with other garage sale shoppers, garage sale hosts, or neighbors.


“Polite Haggling” at a Garage Sale

“Hey, How’s It Goin’? Want to Buy an Ugly Tie for Your Man?”

“No thanks. I’ve Already Got a Box Full of Stuff.”

Ten Tips for Improving Garage Sale Courtesy and Garage Sale Ethics

  1. Garage Sale Parking and Yard Sale Parking:  Parking can be a big issue for both garage sale hosts and garage sale shoppers. Improper parking can cause traffic problems, safety issues for people crossing busy roads (especially children and handicapped people), and disputes with neighbors.  Yard sale hosts should decide where people should park BEFORE THE SALE and post parking areas, so that shoppers are not parking in the neighbor’s yard.  Try to avoid having people parking across busy streets and in illegal areas (like in front of fire hydrants, or too close to intersections).  Garage Sale Shoppers should take care to park in areas provided by the garage sale hosts.  Do not park on people’s lawns, unless you see a sign telling you to.  Make sure that your vehicle is parked so that it is not obstructing traffic or blocking other people’s driveways.
  2. Children at Garage Sales:  We have a webpage that discusses this issue in depth.  It is garage sale courtesy to control your child when garage sale shopping.  Keep your child within arm’s length, so you can prevent them from breaking fragile items, or mixing up stuff inside boxes.  If your child plays with toys, make sure that they return where they came from, if you are not buying them.  For both shoppers and hosts: Make sure that your children are not fighting with other shoppers’ kids or bothering the adult shoppers, especially senior citizens who are not used to kids.   I like kids and have two young ones of my own the go to garage sales, but out-of-control kids at garage sales annoys me.  Parents should give kids a set of easy rules to follow BEFORE getting out of the car at a yard sale: “Don’t touch anything besides toys.  Don’t touch your brother, sister, or anybody else. Stay with Mom or Dad.”
  3. Early Shoppers A.K.A. “Early Birds”:  This subject is covered in our Garage Sale Tips page, as well.  Nothing annoys garage sale hosts more than these people that show up about an hour before the sale starts, and get in the way while the host is trying to set up the sale.  It should be common garage sale courtesy to stay in your car until the sale is supposed to start, but every sale has these inconsiderate shoppers that have to be there way early.  If you are a garage sale shopper: STAY IN YOUR CAR UNTIL THE SALE STARTS, UNLESS YOU ARE INVITED IN!  I am a garage sale flipper, and I like getting the best item at a sale by being there when the sale starts, BUT I can control myself and wait until the sale actually starts.  If you are really a hardcore garage saler, get a pair of binoculars and do you pre-scouting from your vehicle.  If you are a garage sale host: There is nothing wrong with politely asking shoppers to wait until 8AM. You may also opt to put out a sign that says “Any items picked up before 8AM are Double the Sticker Price”.  That way, you get paid for the hassle of having to deal with those people.
  4. Welcome Shoppers to Your Sale:  Put your chair or pay table where you can see new shoppers coming in, and make them feel welcome.  A simple “Good morning! Let me know if there is anything in particular that you are looking for.” will make shoppers comfortable and result in more sales for you.  If people like you and feel comfortable at your sale you will sell more stuff.
  5. Be Polite when Negotiating Prices:  This goes for both shoppers and hosts.  Shoppers have to realize that hosts can be emotionally attached to some items and will not come down on prices.  Hosts need to understand that garage sales are about getting good deals on prices.  Don’t be offended if a shopper offers a low-ball price.  Be polite and everybody will win.
  6. SAFETY FIRST!   Hosts should set up their yard sales with parking safety in mind (#1), make sure that there are not items in walkways that people can trip over, and organize yard sales so that their aisles allow people in wheelchairs to get through.  Tables and sales items should also be far enough away from the streets and sidewalks that parents don’t have to worry about their kids being too close to roads and bikers on sidewalks.  Shoppers need to make sure that they return items back where they got them, so they don’t cause tripping hazards.
  7. Don’t block other shoppers in with your vehicle!  Again, this should be common sense and automatic garage sale courtesy, but I see people blocking each other in all of the time.  PS: Make sure that you leave enough room so vehicles can get their doors open, and back out when they leave!
  8. Hosts should not be constantly messing around playing video games,  or texting on cell phones:  You should be available to greet people and answer questions about sales items.  It’s rude to totally ignore people that are going to be giving you their money.  Put the electronics away for a day.
  9. Garage Sale Items Should be Priced:  Put Price stickers on your items.  It’s garage sale courtesy.  Shoppers should not have to ask hosts what the price is on every single item.  Hosts, don’t be lazy and be considerate to your shoppers.
  10. Garage Sales should be easy to find:  Make sure that you give your full address with your city in your ads and put out large signs from the nearest busy road so shoppers don’t get lost trying to find your sale.  Obviously, you want people to be able to get to your garage sale as easily as possible!


Garage S[amazon template=banner easy&chan=default]ale Courtesy: Do Not Park Your Garage Sale”Hoo-Ride”  in Front of  a Driveway, or Sticking Out into Traffic


This Host Looks Like He Means Business!  “Back to Your Car Until the Sale Starts, Early-Bird Worm!”






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