How to Organize a Garage/Yard Sale

030-editedC’mon, admit it, we all like a good garage/yard sale. Whether you are looking for something specific, like furniture; records; glassware; baby clothes; books or just maybe you go for the thrill of the hunt, the hope that you may find that undiscovered treasure!

When my kids were in post-secondary education and setting up apartments, we found yard sales were fabulous for picking up kitchen ware, wall art, large pieces of furniture, rugs, televisions, lamps, hangers, a vacuum and the list goes on.

And the best part? Everything we picked up was in great condition and dirt cheap.

This past weekend, my sister, a friend and I held a multifamily yard sale at my place. We had a lot of fun setting it all up, but I do admit, it was a bit of work. I think that was in part because we are all very detail oriented and went above and beyond to make the sale a success.


PicMonkey Collage


Getting Organized for a Garage/Yard Sale


A successful garage or yard sale does not happen without organization. Weeks before the actual day of the sale, start going through closets and storage boxes. Purge what you know you no longer need or wanted by basically having three piles, one “keep”; one “toss” and one “Yard Sale”.

Have a “multi-family” sale. It’s great to have family or friends to team up with and buyers are more attracted to larger sales. Plus, doing it with friends and family makes it fun!

  • If you don’t own a bunch of folding tables (who does?) beg, borrow or steal some. You will need several.
  • A week before the sale, set aside a day or two and:
    • take an afternoon or an evening to make sure everything is clean. Wash any dishes and glassware.
    • Price everything and organize items by grouping like things together.
      • Glassware
      • Linens
      • Toys
      • Books
      • Furniture
      • Clothing
      • etc.


(These arrows show some clearly marked prices)

  • Buy/make supplies for yard sale signs: neon poster board, thick black marker, staple gun or duct tape, and wooden stakes if you can’t mount them on telephone poles or street signs.
  • Get a cash “float” together. You will need at least $30.00 in small bills and coins. Invariably the first person at your sale will buy a 50 cent item and have a $20.00 bill and no change. Be prepared.
  • Get yourself a tin to use as a cash box or wear a fanny pack.
  • Start saving shopping bags and newspaper. Set up a table or box for these so customers can wrap fragile items.


  • The day before the sale you need to do the final organization.
    • As much as possible, get everything set up on tables inside your garage (or in your yard and securly cover when done).
    • Clearly display larger items or get them ready to move outside first thing in the morning.
    • Mark, move or cover with tarps any non-sale items in your garage and the immediate vicinity of the sale. Otherwise, you will be fielding questions related to the price of items that are not for sale.
    • Advertise
  • Decide what you’ll do with unsold merchandise.
    • We had a local charity scheduled for the Monday after the sale. They agreed to pick-up of any unsold items.
    • At the end of the sale, we also put a “Free” sign on a couple of leftovers and moved them to the curb.
  • The morning of the sale, be up early and put on gallons of coffee. You will have lots to do and there are always “early birds” to the sale, you want to be ready.




  • Post your sale on social media sites such as Kijiji and Facebook. (We waited until the night before to do this so our sale wouldn’t get lost on the thread.)
  • Put signs up in your neighbourhood in strategic spots directing traffic to your sale.
  • When the sale is over, don’t forget to gather up all of your yard sale signs.



Don’t choose a long weekend, people are often away. We decided on a Saturday near the end of August. We picked that date to catch the “off to university” crowd. Friday evening is also a popular time for garage/yard sales and some people opt for both Friday and Saturday.

Have Fun!


We ate muffins, drank copious amounts of coffee and generally had a great time. We spent hours talking and socializing with each other and the shoppers at our sale. I hadn’t laughed so much in a very long time!

Have you ever hosted a garage/yard sale?

Do you like going to garage/yard sales?

What was your best garage/yard sale find?



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