Garage Sale Advice

The Former Garage Sale Queen had another garage sale a few weeks ago.  Even though I’ve decluttered and donated and flat-out-trashed huge amounts of stuff in the past three years, I still managed to scrape together enough clutter to justify spending ten dollars for a newspaper ad.

And to be willing to greet strangers in my driveway before 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

Was it successful?

Yes . . . because my goal was to get rid of stuff.  I made enough money to justify the time I spent, but not enough to inspire any dances of joy.

And, even though I consider myself a total expert on the subject of how to have a garage sale, I still learned a few more lessons.

Lesson #1:

Buy or borrow one of those markers that identifies counterfeit bills.

No, I didn’t receive any counterfeit bills.  BUT, the biggest shopper at my sale spent twenty-seven dollars, paid with a $100 bill, and hauled off a lot of stuff AND seventy-three dollars of my real money.

My ever-so-amazing ability to imagine worst-case-scenarios was at its best for the rest of the day as I stressed about whether or not that $100 bill was real. And whether or not I had just paid someone a  lot of money to take my stuff home with her.

Thankfully, it was real.  But I didn’t know that until Hubby took it to work with him and checked it with one of their special pens.

I think for my next sale I’d prefer to get a pen ahead of time, so I can sleep better after the sale is over.

Lesson #2:

I already knew Craigslist is a no-brainer for advertising garage sales . . . since it’s free.  However, I didn’t think it was a necessity because it’s not the primary way people find garage sales in my area.

BUT . . . the Monday after the sale someone emailed me to ask if one of my large items had sold.  It hadn’t (and I had whined and complained about that several times to my husband) and she arranged to come pick it up within a few days!  The beauty of Craigslist is that it’s free AND you can be much more specific about items than you can in a twenty-five-word newspaper ad.

Are you planning a garage sale soon?

I’ve given tons of advice for having a successful sale.  Just click on the pink links to get to the corresponding posts.

How to have the right expectations for your garage sale.

How to price your items for a garage sale.

How to effectively advertise your garage sale.

How to set up your garage sale.


I made some webisodes with garage sale advice, but I’ve been too crazy-busy to get them edited and uploaded to my YouTube channel.  Hopefully, they’ll be coming soon!


Oh, you’re wondering about the Amazon link to the marker?  It’s most definitely my affiliate link!



  1. 1

    I gave up on yard sales (no garage here) a long time ago. It just doesn’t pay in our neighborhood. It’s a whole lot of preparation and a whole lot of time for less than $100 profit. Very discouraging. So, I use Freecycle or donate my items to Goodwill. At least it’s out of my house!

  2. 3

    Great garage sale/ declutter trick: take the awesome stuff you have to sell, place it in a box, add extra crap that probably won’t sell but you want to unload, then price the entire box! Now you have people hauling your junk away for you. Win!

  3. 4

    perfect timing! I’m having a yard sale this saturday! 🙂 Did one last year and learned a lot, especially that Craigslist is the BEST advertising in my area! But I never would’ve thought about the counterfeit pen! wonder if I can snag one at an office store?? I’m so excited to get more stuff out of our house!!! 🙂

  4. 5
    minidox says:

    Great tip re: the counterfeit money pen, thanks!

  5. 6

    How probable is it to get a forged hundred dollar bill? That would have never even crossed my mind to suspect that. I use different currency so I didn’t know about this issue.

    Yay for a successful garage sale!

  6. 7

    The pen isn’t always fool proof. Good counterfeiters “wash” the ink from smaller bills (ususally 5s) and reprint larger denominations (20s and 100s). The pen will not catch that b/c the currency is “real”. Better to learn how to look for the security strip…and actually read the info on it. 100s say 100, 20s say 20, etc.

    • 8

      Thank you, good to know! I did look at the strip, the red and blue fibers, etc. but still worried! (Since that’s how I roll!) I didn’t know to look for a matching number on the strip.

  7. 9

    Do you have an ‘after the garage sale ‘ post? There are some things that can’t be donated and the guilt of throwing away stuff that I don’t want just eats me up! An example of this would be kids items or baby items. Our state passed a law that donation centers or resale shops cannot resale them. I also only advertised on Craigslist instead of local paper and we had more customers than I could even imagine!

    • 10

      That is soooo tough. But . . . if you can’t donate it, let yourself feel free to trash. I know it’s hard when it’s your kids’ stuff, but the stress that you feel about making this decision is only going to go away once the decision is made. And really, it doesn’t sound like you have much choice in the matter.

  8. 11

    I can’t get the “Setting up your garage sale” link to work. It just directs me to the advertising page.

  9. 13

    I price everything in .25¢ increments… You only need one type of change, it’s quick to count back, and it’s super easy for my kids to help add up!

  10. 15

    I’m late to the conversation, but Nony reposted a garage sale post, and I’ve followed the links in it and found this one. I have a thought about not being able to resell kids’ items. That is not the case where I live, but I remember when I had little kids, I read that it is not safe to buy used carseats in case they had been recalled or had been in an accident. (Even the most minor of fender-benders can cause unseen structural damage.) I assume this is the reasoning behind those laws. I wonder if you can legally donate the item to an individual or donate it to a charity that donates (not sells) items to the needy. Some churches and other organizations give items to needy families. Or you could give it away on Freecycle or Craigslist. Of course, you would want to be absolutely certain the item had never been recalled or been possibly structurally damaged.

  11. 16

    I loved having yard sales when my kids were little and I always had lots of cute baby things to sell… but now that my stuff is less exciting.. aka no toys etc. I started a Facebook buy/sell group because a friend told me I should (I should have ignored her because that platform is SO annoying) I then was told about a great app you can get at varagesale (dot) com. They aren’t in every town but check to see if there is one in yours. I LOVE this way of getting rid of my stuff and not feeling guilty about wasting money… If I put it up for sale and it doesn’t sell within a couple of weeks then I’m ok with taking the rest to the Salvation Army store. You can also set your prices to free and people will come and get your stuff.. 🙂

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