Containers labeled with prices hold merchandise being sold at a garage sale

How to Have a Garage Sale Before Moving

Before you pack everything up in boxes and take it to your new home, you can do yourself a big favor by getting rid of the things you no longer need. Unless you are saving an item for someone else, if you haven’t used it in the last 3-5 years, there’s a good chance you never will. A garage sale or yard sale lets you make money, and also helps you save money by reducing the weight of your shipment.

Pick a date (Saturdays are prime) and advertise. There are several ways to get the word out.

  • You can use social media networks (Nextdoor is ideal)
  • Post/distribute flyers in the neighborhood
  • Put notices out through the local newspaper, church bulletins and bulletin boards

Publish the starting time and duration (e.g., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). When you open the garage door at 8 a.m., you’ll likely see a swarm of early birds—be prepared for the rush.

If parking is limited, you might contact your neighbors a few days before your event to ask if they would park their cars in their drives to free up space on the street. If you live on a narrow street or road with no shoulder for parking, assess the capacity for parking in your yard. Designate the parking area with highly visible signs.

Long, counter-height tables are ideal for displaying things. Keep kitchen things, tools, hardware, clothing, knick-knacks, books, etc. grouped together, as in departments. If something you wish to sell isn’t fully functional, note “as is” on the price to acknowledge it may need repair. However, most folks understand that garage sale items, especially in a moving sale, are sold “as is.”Containers labeled with prices hold merchandise being sold at a garage sale

How you price items can have a big impact on your success. In this era of eBay and online shopping, it’s easy to find a market price on just about anything you wish to sell. Remember, your goal is to get rid of things, so make your prices attractive.

Be prepared to consider offers below your asking price. A common mistake is to place a sentimental value on top of a market value. Books, for example, bring only pennies on the dollar, despite the fact that the enjoyment and enlightenment they offer can be immeasurable. If you are having a hard time parting with something, think of the enjoyment it will bring to someone else. A bit of charity in your outlook will serve you well.

If you are unsure of how to price some of your things, denote them with “make offer.” For items of relatively higher value, you may attach a piece of paper for bidders to write an amount they are willing to pay along with their contact info (phone or email) so they can be notified at the close of the sale.

Be aware that garage sales can be prime hunting grounds for sticky fingers and fraudsters. It pays to have several family members and friends on hand to help “mind the store” and keep things from walking off. A Dri-Mark® counterfeit detector pen is a worthwhile expense and can save you the embarrassment of ending up with funny money in your till.

Do you have a tip from your experience with garage sales and moving sales? Leave it in a comment to this post—I know our readers would like to hear from you!