Tips for a Great Garage Sale

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I have a problem. You know how some people love to hoard things? I love to get rid of them.

When I get on one of my tears, my husband's been known to ask if I sold our bed or maybe the driveway. Maybe it's the feel of cold, hard cash in exchange for someone dragging away my junk. Maybe it's the glory of reclaimed space in my garage or a newly empty tub in my basement. Maybe it's the fond memories: I remember barely sleeping the night before my childhood garage sales. In my mind's eye, we sold at least 200 items every time and made a million dollars. I'm sure we didn't. But one can dream.

toy ATM

What we use to hold our change. Yes, we got it at a garage sale.


Tips for a Great Garage Sale

Have at least two large household items -- it doesn't matter if they are in great shape or not, but when people drive by, they are more likely to stop if they see a bedframe or a lawnmower, even if they're not in the market for such things. It makes your driveway scream "American Pickers."

shelves and bike rack

We had two sets of shelves. The neighbor bought one before I even got the garage door all the way open.


Get your stuff down on the street where folks can see it from their cars -- this past sale, I actually had an old lady stop her car and thank me for putting my stuff down on the sidewalk because it was hard for her to walk around.

garage sale table

Hit the pavement.


Sell lemonade -- food seems like too big a commitment, but every year my daughter sells lemonade at our garage sale, and most years she makes more money charging 50 cents a can on drinks than she does selling her old toys. It works even better if we put her piggy bank on the table so they have to give the money straight to her little porker.

lemonade stand

She drives a tough bargain.


Shine up your stuff -- would you want to buy anything rusty or dusty?

martini set

I thought I needed this. I don't think I ever used it once.


Use bundles and sets -- did you redecorate your kid's bedroom, like I did? Put the old curtains, valances, drawer pulls, fan pulls, light switch covers, trash can -- anything that matches -- together and sell it all for one price.

bedroom sheets

This box contained Pottery Barn curtains, Tinkerbell pillowcases I used as valances and fan pulls.


Use your loot to hit the neighbors' sales -- you don't have to buy a lot, but if you come to theirs, chances are they'll be more likely to come to yours. Be sure to tell them where you live and when you time your sales.

hot dog roller

Totally an investment worth making.


Have you had or are you planning to have a garage sale this year? Any tips? Please share in the comments!

Rita Arens authors Surrender Dorothy and is the editor of Sleep is for the Weak. She is BlogHer's assignment and syndication editor.

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