Retailing at Home: Organizing a Community Garage Sale

24 Oct

I live in a community that is not deed-restricted, which can be a good and a bad thing. While I can paint my house any color I want, the community does not host a collective garage sale, and I happen to LOVE garage sales.

With a renovation in the works and a little boy growing like crazy, I have my share of retired items in search of a good home. And yes, I could just load up the truck and take all the items to a donation center, but I love a good garage sale.

I’ve never hosted a garage sale as an adult, but I have plenty of memories of my mom’s garage sales over the years. We also didn’t live in a deed-restricted community then, so she’d post signs around the neighborhood to get the word out. She’d string wire up in the garage, from one of my dad’s dusty toolboxes to the corner of the garage-door tracks to hang up clothes. She’d wear an old “Big C Lumber” pouch to have change easily accessible. And I’d help bag items bought for all of our “customers.” It was fun!

So, I decided to host a community garage sale. While we were small in numbers (only a few houses joined in this time), I learned some great stuff that I want to pass along.

Get Social: I created a flyer and started posting it around online, asking others to join in on the community sale and telling customers when and where it would take place. I posted to my friends and I also posted within relevant groups.

Find a Sponsor: Find a great non-profit or community group that can help support your cause. I partnered with the Salvation Army, and I encouraged all those participating to donate anything that didn’t sell right to the Salvation Army as well. Plus, the charity can help spread the word.

Make Signs: Find the brightest posters, get some markers and get creative! Then, buy stakes at Lowe’s and attach them to your posters with a staple gun. Be sure to include your location and hours for the sale. Then, put them up the day before to start spreading the word!


Get Change: You are going to need a lot of $1s and quarters during the sale so I suggest getting cash the day before. I got $90 in $1s and $10 in quarters, and I had plenty!

Have Bags/Boxes Available: Some people might buy A LOT and they’ll want something to carry it all in. I saved all my diaper boxes and grocery-store bags for this exact occasion!

Prepare for Rain: Yeah, it happens. And I wasn’t prepared. Learn from me, and have large black trash bags on hand to quickly cover up items so you don’t have to rush them in and out.

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Set Up Refreshments: Take a tip from the grocery stores and try to upsell. My sweet second cousin set up a station with soda and water for $1 each. Plus, she makes really amazing duct-tape accessories and clay keychain, so she set up a display for her items as well!

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Nearly $300 later, I’d say the garage sale was a success. Plus, I got to know some of my neighbors a little bit better, and I had some fun bonding time with my aunt and cousin! And that’s life in a nutshell.


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