Organizing a Garage Sale


Organizing a garage sale is a free way to make significantly more money at your garage sale. You would think that every garage sale host would be organizing a garage sale to make the most money, wouldn’t you?

Common sense should tell you that if your yard sale looks good, and if the best items are closest to the customer’s reach, that you would end up making more money.

Yet, how many garage sales have you been to where stuff was strewn across tables, clothes are pulled off hangers, stuff is out of sight in boxes, and items are not even priced?

I have seen hundreds of yard sales like I just described. Do you know how much stuff I bought at those sales…? Very little.





Organizing a Garage Sale can be as Easy as Lining Up Your Tables so that You Create an Efficient Traffic Flow to Your Pay Table
This Yard Sale is Set Up so that Visitors Can Easily Reach All the Goods on Each Table



Before the Yard Sale



  1. Check our web pages for getting ready for organizing a garage sale, yard sale, tag sale, or estate sale:Garage Sale Tips, Garage Sale Advertising, and Garage Sale Signs.
  2. Organizing a garage sale should not be a one-person chore. Assign co-hosts to complete tasks – advertising, making signs, rounding up display materials, checking to see if there are garage sale sign, sale permit, or parking regulations where you live, getting change, and arranging for babysitters. There’s plenty to do for everybody!
  3. Get all of your garage sale items in one place several days ahead of time. Figure out how much volume you have, how many tables you will need and get everything priced BEFORE THE SALE. If your garage sale starts with unpriced items, you may not get time to get stickers on them, and most will go unsold.
  4. After you get an idea of your volume, figure out what you will need for tables and displays. Find yourself a table and chairs for a check-out table. If possible, set up your tables and clotheslines the day before.
  5. Figure out where you will have people park their vehicles. Organizing a garage sale is easier after planning.
  6. Get at least $50 in change. You will need at least $20 in one dollar bills, and $5 in quarters. Decide who will collect money and give that person a money apron or fanny pack, so that the money is NOT sitting on a table in a box.
  7. Round up an extension cord or two, (so you can test electric items, and run your fan for comfort, if it is hot). You may also want a supply of batteries for testing battery-powered items. Do not give away your good batteries inside sold items. They are expensive!
  8. Call your co-hosts and make sure that everybody is still going to be there for the sale, and who is bringing what. You don’t want any surprises the morning of your sale. Make sure that someone brings the coffee and doughnuts, and that somebody has arranged for lunch and cold drinks, if it is hot!



The Day of the Rummage Sale


  • Get there early! You do not want to be scrambling around at the last second, or even worse, organizing a garage sale after the sale has already started.
  • Set up all tables and displays that you could not set up the night before. Make sure that everything is priced. Get everything out of boxes, so customers can see your items. Don’t make your customers dig through your gross boxes, like the guy in the cartoon below…


Get Your Stuff Out of Boxes.

Many Shoppers WILL NOT Dig Through Boxes, Like THIS Dude.


  • Have your co-hosts handle some tasks. One person should be handling the money. One person can greet people and answer questions (and perform kid-duty, if required). If you have additional support (sounds like a military recon, doesn’t it?) have somebody assigned to organization. This is very important to your sales.
  • The Organization person should be keeping your sale looking good. Think of your yard sale like a clothing store. Make your shelves and tables look sharp. Keep moving items closer to the customers when stuff gets pushed to the back of the tables. Make sure clothes are spaced on your lines, and not falling off of hangers. Check to see that your items are not getting mixed in with other categories of items. Make sure toys are not on the ground where people can trip on them. Make sure that stacked items are not going to tip over and that your aisles are spaced correctly.

Organizing a Garage Sale: Traffic Flow and Tables

Items Laid Out Correctly are MUCH More Likely to be Bought

Why do you think that department stores have gone through all that trouble to make their stores look good to customers?The answer: When stuff is displayed nicely, it sells much faster!! 





Price Stickers Should be Large and Clear. There Should be Prices on All Individual Items.

Items without Prices Sell Significantly Slower than Items with Tags!



Make sure that people can see the prices on your items. If there are no prices on items, or if prices are hard to find, people will often pass them up rather than asking the host how much something costs.


The organization of your garage sale or yard sale is important to help you sell more items, but the most important thing to account for is the safety of your customers.

  1. Make sure that tables and displays are spaced out far enough that people are not bumping each other, or tripping each other. Make sure there is nothing on the ground that people could trip over or slip on when organizing a garage sale.
  2. If at all possible, make yourtables line up in straight lines, and make them the same height (waist-high for adults is good). Organize you tables so there is an obvious flow. Try to keep people moving in the same direction, as much as possible.
  3. Put your large items and expensive items so that people see them when they first get to your sale.
  4. Put your pay table at the front of your sale, and have a greeter to say hello to people. They will spend more money if they feel comfortable. They will also be more likey to buy stuff from you if they like you.
  5. Make sure that your higher priced items are closer to the front of the tables, so people see them first.
  6. Make sure people can reach all of your items, even little old ladies and kids. Keep toys where kids can see them and reach them. If you want to sell some toys, make sure kids at your sale can pick them up and play with them.
  7. Run a clothesline inside your garage, and hang up tops, jackets, suits, dresses and all name brand clothing. It’s OK to keep T-Shirts, shorts, and kids clothes folded up tables.
  8. If you run short on tables, you can make tables from sawhorses or stacked boxes with wood paneling on top. Make sure you cover them all with clean sheets or table cloths.
  9. When items sell, move unsold items from the backs of the tables to the fronts, where people can see them better. Space items out more, so there are not large gaps. Later, take down tables to make your sale look like it has more stuff.
  10. When your garage sale is winding down, lower your prices and start offering deals! You don’t want to clean up all that stuff, do you?


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *