Extra Income: Holding a Profitable Garage Sale

How to earn extra income series

I’m starting a new series called “Extra Income” where I will share with you my findings on ways to make extra income, or “side hustles” as some call it. Some will be things I’ve tried and others are just ways I’ve come across. So, if you are looking to make some extra money to pay off debt, go on vacation, or just “spending money”, I hope you will find something!

Running a profitable garage sale

Yay!!! It’s garage sale time of the year! I love going to sales and I love throwing them as well. We like to have a garage sale every year to clean out everything that we’ve accumulated over the year. I live on a busy street, so it’s great advertising for one (but, I hate it for all other reasons-ha!). Having a garage sale takes work and even though I love getting rid of stuff for cash, I hate the process of getting from point A to point B. But, after it’s all over, I’m glad I did it.

So, how do you have a profitable garage sale?

Planning Your Garage Sale

1. Make sure you have enough stuff to hold a garage sale.

People want a reason to get out of their cars. I know that if I’m driving by a yard sale and there’s only a small amount of items, I’m probably going to keep driving by. If there’s so many items in your yard that a person can’t see them all just by driving slowly, it will peek their interest to pull over and actually go to it to see what goodies you have.

Give yourself plenty of time to gather enough items and grab a box and go through every room. Decide what you really don’t use, or haven’t used in months. Basements and attics are great places to look as well.  and toss it in. Get rid of old power strips, cell phones, chargers and other cables.

2. Pick a good date.

The first step is to find the best week to have your  garage sale. Don’t pick a holiday weekend, or a rainy or cold season. If you can run it Thursday-Saturday, you will get the most exposure for your items. Starting as early as possible will bring in those early birds that come with lots cash! Depending how long you want to stay open, some garage sales go until 4 p. m. I like to run mine from 7:30am -4:30pm.

3. Hold a mass neighborhood sale.

I totally love going to neighborhood garage sales! A lot of people love to just be able to park and walk from one sale to another. This brings the opportunity to bring in more sales for you.  Spread the word to your neighbors and see if they are willing to have one as well.

Have a profitable garage sale

4. Advertise online.

There is no need to pay high newspaper ads. There are so many free and low cost websites to advertise your garage sale that bring in just as many traffic. I mainly use Craigslist, but here are several others:

Extra Tip: Place individual Craigslist ads for your more expensive items, or more desirable. I had some brand new items and chairs and figured this would be a chance to have people from Craigslist be able to come for that and maybe find other things at same time! Make sure you update sold items along the way.

5. Get help.

I could never do a sale by myself (I hate doing the money part-lol) So, I bribe my oldest kid to run it with me and she sold her stuff as well. That way, you also have someone to chat with during slow times.

6. Don’t price your stuff too low.

People like to make an offer, so make sure you price for some haggling.

7. Price every item.

I super, super, super hate when people don’t mark items. I don’t like to ask, so I just don’t buy. If I do that, I’m sure there’s other shy people as well out there! So, always put a sticker on everything.

Extra Tip: Have a box of free stuff.

How fun is it to get stuff for free?! Place a “free” box near the curb for stuff you don’t think will sell.

8. Put up easy to read garage sale signs.

I learned this trick from a friend of mine who had an excellent garage sale (made over a $1000!). Most people know that those little signs stuck at the corner are garage sales, so instead of making “GARAGE SALE” the biggest words, put your address as the large lettering.

I’m serious, this works!

You don’t know how many people thanked us for doing that. It’s hard to catch an address as you are driving by-especially if it’s tiny!

Extra income with garage sales

9. Place more exciting items closer to the curb.

Put your juicy items where people can see as driving by-point made. : )

10. Make sure to have lots of small bills and change.

You will be giving out a lot of ones and change. Give everyone a bag too.

Extra Tip: Do you have a business that you would like to advertise? Place flyers in each bag!

11. Work the crowd.

Be friendly, but not too friendly. Greet your customers, but then step back and let them look. Be sure not to stare either. You don’t want to be creeper. I always think of how I would be if I sold items at the Farmer’s Market, or had my own store. I would be so grateful if someone bought my stuff. I can’t believe how some people act like they are doing you a favor by “letting ” you buy their product. Thank them and be excited about it!

You’re going to have leftover stuff. I like to donate those things that I really don’t want to drag back into the house. Of course, if I didn’t sell something that’s of real value, I’ll try and sell it on Craigslist.


Have you ever thrown a garage sale? What has worked best for you?


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