Garage Sale Tips

21 TIPS for Participating in 

a Successful Community Garage Sale

Sponsored by Team Nest Builder


    1. RSVP at and then SAVE THE DATE on your calendar!  Also plan for some prep time in the weeks leading up to the sale.

    2. INVITE your NEIGHBORS to sign-up too!  Our experience is that participating homes that are in close proximity to each other get relatively more shoppers than stand alone participants–especially when they are located deep into a neighborhood.  So everyone wins when you involve your closest neighbors.  Send them the link to our website to register soon since sale participation is limited to 50 households to be included in our marketing, signage, map of participating households.

    3. START prepping EARLY!  Set aside items that are currently cluttering your living space and things you no longer use throughout your home.  Clean out your closets, kitchen cabinets and other storage areas.  While it can be daunting, tackle your basement, garage and storage shed as soon as possible too. 

    4. PROMOTE YOUR “SPECIAL” ITEMS in our FREE pre-sale advertising.  IF you have antiques or collectibles that you plan to sell, or a large ticket item such as a car, RV, Boat, etc., send photos and your price to  We’ll feature YOUR ITEMS in our pre-sale advertising and publish your address with your photo of the item 24 hours before your sale.

    5. TOUCH stuff only ONCE–especially if you are trying to declutter!  IF no one in your home has used the item you are evaluating during the past year, give it to a friend or family member, set it aside for your sale, donate it, or dispose of it NOW. 

    6. CREATE a STAGING AREA. Some people find it helpful to clean out one garage bay or corner of their basement first, and then use that space to sort, organize and store items weeks and months leading up to the sale date.  

    7. SEE and BE SEEN!  IF your home and garage can not be seen from the street due to distance, topography, or tree coverage etc, plan ahead for moving your items closer to the street on your sale day.  

    8. PLAN for CROWDS and PARKING–particularly IF you live on a private road, one way street, have a very long and/or shared driveway.  If you need extra signs to direct visitors, please reach out to us a week or more before your sale date to, and we’ll assist with providing and placing the appropriate signage.  

    9. ORGANIZE DISPLAYS.  Taking some extra time for setting up tables and/or putting clean blankets on the ground, and then placing your items strategically on them can yield you even more money.  Boards balanced on cinder blocks or saw-horses, picnic tables and benches, patio dining tables, folding banquet tables, card tables, and even some retaining walls near your garage can work well for creating display space.  Place like items together.  For example, you may have a table for toys and one for kitchen and household items.  Alternatively, you can group items by price point with appropriate signage, such as “$5 each”.  When potential buyers see the pride and care in how you put items on display, it suggests to them that you take good care of your personal property, and that helps you get a better price. Think about it….do you have different expectations walking into Dollar General than you do walking into Nordstroms?

    10. CLEAN ITEMS SELL.  When you are pulling your things out to price them and display them for sale, be sure each one is clean. Nothing is worse than picking up an item with a spider web clinging to it or one covered in dust.  Spend some time washing items before you put them out and price them. This simple trick can be the difference between making and losing a sale, or getting top dollar.

    11. WASH and HANG CLOTHING.  If you are selling clothing, be sure to take the time to freshly launder it just before your sale date.  Use fabric softener and/or scented dryer sheets, and even store clean items in bags or boxes with a fresh dryer sheet.  Also take time to press and hang items on hangers for display at your sale.  You can use paper plates as size markers. (Cut a hole in the center and then slide the plate onto your bar.)  

    12. DON’T MAKE BUYERS GUESS YOUR PRICE!  While you may be willing to negotiate, most garage sale shoppers engage more IF you suggest a price to them.  Simply place price stickers on items so that shoppers know the price you have in mind.  Note that we will provide price stickers to you a week or so before your sale date.  When it comes to collectibles or larger ticket items, do some comparison shopping in advance on Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, or Craigslist to see what other sellers are currently asking for that item.  Garage sale shoppers often like to haggle.  But IF your price is way too high to start, they may walk away rather than start a conversation on an item of interest to them.

    13. NEGOTIATE AND/OR BUNDLE items to get rid of stuff!  If you are willing to negotiate, post “We Negotiate” signs around your sale space. Alternatively, forget the signs, and simply price most of your items to sell, but pad some of the higher end items a bit and be willing to negotiate on them IF need be.  Another good strategy is to offer a bundle.  So if a shopper seems to be very interested in 3 items, but is hesitant about a 4th, consider offering them a package deal for all 4–but at a well reduced price on that 4th item, and get rid of the entire lot.   

    14. WHO DOESN’T LOVE A SALE?  Consider starting a mid-day “sale” and post a sign, “25% OFF EVERYTHING ”, and then drop it to “50% OFF” in the last hour of your sale. But be forewarned–our experience is that traffic tends to fall off as the day progresses.  So IF you notice that traffic is falling off, and you don’t want to cart stuff back into your garage or down to your curb as trash, start slashing your prices earlier in the day.

    15. CONSIDERING SETTING UP AN ELECTRONIC PAYMENT ACCOUNT- with the current pandemic, it is recommended not to handle money. We suggest setting up a Paypal, Venmo, and Zelle account making it easy for you to exchange money with shoppers without handling cash. 

    16. BE READY TO MAKE CHANGE FOR CASH PURCHASES, and also have PACKAGING available.  Plan ahead so that you have enough ones, fives, quarters, etc. to make change for your customer’s purchases.  We recommend getting $75 – $100 in change.  Keep your ready change and your sale proceeds in a waiter’s apron tied to your waist so that you never have to walk away from your cash box to assist a shopper during your sale. Also, have boxes and grocery bags available to pack SOLD items for shoppers.

    17. START YOUR SALE ON TIME! All Team Nest Builder community sales are advertised “One Day Only, 9 AM – 4 PM, Rain or Shine!”  On the morning of your sale at 9 am (or earlier IF you are ready), you should put up the directional sign that we leave near your mailbox at your driveway entrance the night before to signal that you are “open for business”.  And when you are ready to close down, take that sign down and leave it where you found it to signal that your sale is over.  (We will pick up our signs later in the evening.)

    18. EXPECT EARLY BIRDS.  Collectors or dealers often arrive early.  IF your garage door is open and/or you are outside setting up, you can expect “early birds” to approach you–maybe as early as 6 or 7 AM.  We have no control over this.  But you can make several early sales IF you are welcoming to early birds and you are also ready to close a sale and make change for them as well.

    19. OFFER PACKAGE DEALS.  The last few hours of your sale are a GREAT time to get rid of those last remaining items that you don’t want to bring back in the house, and make a package deal, such as “$10 for ALL”.

    20. DON’T WORRY ABOUT ADVERTISING OR SIGNAGE. We got you covered! Team Nest Builder does that for you.  We place print, on-line, and social media ads for our sales starting weeks in advance and intensifying in the days and hours before the sale date.  We’ll be stopping by your home with additional information the day before your sale, and also place signs leading buyers to all registered participating homes including yours–plus one at the end of your driveway.   Watch your email for updates from us regarding your sale.

    21. WEAR A MASK. We know it’s hot, and that it may not be comfortable. But for the safety of yourself and your shoppers, please wear a mask at all times.