How to Prepare for a Garage Sale: Garage Sale To-Do List [With Download]

by on May 20 2013 - 22 Comments

Garage Sale Preparation

Well folks, it’s garage sale season and we are joining the festivities at the Carlson household. We are just a couple weeks away from our garage sale and have been sharing a few posts on the topic, including 5 tips for a successful garage sale and things to sell at garage sales.

Today we want to talk specifically about how to prepare for a garage sale. I’ve attended enough of my parent’s garage sales throughout the years to know that if you don’t prepare properly you will have wasted a lot of time for very little return (in money or in reduced clutter). Today I want to share my own Garage Sale To-Do List. If you want a downloadable copy that you can print off (or tailor to your liking), click here for a copy.

Setting the Date & Getting Started

  • Check if there is a citywide garage sale
  • Set Garage Sale Date
  • See if friends/family want to participate with you or give you stuff to sell

Finding Stuff to Sell

  • Go through closets
  • Go through basement/storage
  • Go through kid’s rooms
  • Go through Garage
  • Go through Family Room / Living Room / Entertainment Areas
  • Go through Attic

Getting Stuff Ready

  • Put everything in one place (make a massive pile of stuff to sell)
  • Set prices and label everything
  • Contact others about borrowing card/display tables
  • Pick up tables you are borrowing
  • Create signs making it easy for shoppers (i.e. All T-Shirts are size S/M, $0.50 per book, etc.)
  • Get Quarters, nickels, dimes, etc. from the bank

Advertising

  • Newspaper
  • Craigslist
  • Buy colorful signs to put near intersections the day of your sale

Bonus

  • Fill a cooler full of pop/water/Gatorade, etc. to sell
  • Fill a cooler full of pop/water/Gatorade, etc. to sell

Day Of the Sale

  • Wake up early and have stuff displayed at an early hour – people like to shop early
  • Post your signs at intersections
  • Put ice in cooler (if you are selling pop/water/etc.)
  • Be safe! Do not let anyone into your house, have two people working, etc.
  • Have Fun!

After the Sale

  • Donate everything that’s left for a tax write-off
  • Return the tables you borrowed
  • Book a vacation with your earnings…err…I mean put your money in savings!

That’s all there is to it! Okay, I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting something, but I think I covered most of the important things you should do in preparation. Our goal is $500 for our garage sale *fingers crossed*. I know my wife will use some of that to go shopping (she loves to shop but is so dang frugal we spend barely anything on new clothes), but the rest is still to be determined. Maybe savings?

I hope you enjoyed the list, and again, to get a downloadable copy click the image below.

Printable Garage Sale To Do List

Bonus Tip – If you are trying to get rid of something bigger, like a car or boat, you might be lucky enough to find a buyer at your garage sale. I have seen many people put ‘for sale’ signs on large items like this at garage sales, and oftentimes people take a second look. If you don’t want the hassle of selling your car or boat, consider giving up your car or boat for charity. If you donate it to a nonprofit you typically can write off the market value on your taxes.
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Photo (at top of post) by Rubbermaid Products
 

22 comments
TheHeavyPurse
TheHeavyPurse

Great checklist! I know you don't have kids  yet, but if you have young nieces or nephews that live close by - enlist them to help sell the sodas and even some homemade goods (you know to add to you're already busy day). Kids are always great sellers because who can resist them? 

moeyshay
moeyshay

You have to be really organized to pull off a successful garage sale.  The checklist definitely helps!

Beachbudget
Beachbudget

That's so awesome you created a downloadable checklist! I hope you have success at yours. I still need to find people to go in on a group garage sale with me! 

OutlierModel
OutlierModel

Great checklist!  Brian and I visited a few garage sales this past weekend.  Didn't find anything we needed, but fun nonetheless.  When we've held garage sales, having change was important for us, but surprisingly (to me) a lot of people had the right coins.  

Ca$hFunny
Ca$hFunny

Nice list.  I love having a "to-do" list around when having some sort of event just to make sure you're not forgetting anything.  Good luck with your garage sale, I'm sure it will be a smashing success!

lemperador
lemperador

I definitely wish I had this checklist when I had a garage sale a few months ago!

TacklingOurDebt
TacklingOurDebt

Great idea to create a checklist DC! One thing I would add on the after sale piece is to remember to go back and pick up your signs in the neighbourhood. It is always funny to see signs sitting there 2 and 3 weeks later.  :-)

Holly at ClubThrifty
Holly at ClubThrifty

I am having a garage sale this summer come hell or high water.  I've been putting stuff in totes for months.  It will happen!

Eyesonthedollar
Eyesonthedollar

Love the selling water and pop idea. I don't have plans for a sale this summer, but you never know.

DebtRoundUp
DebtRoundUp

Nice to-do list DC.  It is good that you give that as a download for people to use.  I hate putting on garage sales, but they are a great way to get rid of junk you don't want anymore.

RFIndependence
RFIndependence

cool list, good luck with the sale! I found that early in the morning, the bargain pros are coming to grab things at a heavy discount, don't be too tempted to slash prices just yet, if you think the items can go for a bit more.

FrugalRules
FrugalRules

That's a great to do list DC! We're hoping to hit at least the $500 with our selling of stuff on Craigslist this summer. We'll likely either put it towards savings or our vacation fund.

MonsterPiggyBank
MonsterPiggyBank

Great to do list. If ever I host a sale i will be sure to use it - thanks :)

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@OutlierModelWe'll get plenty of change just in case we run into problems.  Hopefully people bring coins to ours as they did at your garage sale.  I'm pretty sure my wife will want to start hitting up a few garage sales pretty soon just to see if we can find some gems.  She's found some cool stuff in the past.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@DebtRoundUp Yeah I would like to include more downloads on this site.  It seems to be just another way to provide value to readers.

I am not a huge fan of putting them on either, but we have enough stuff this time that I don't think I will mind.