House For Six

Our Quickie Garage Sale

Deme Crinion1 Comment
The verdict is in: 

Throwing together a garage sale in less than a week - totally worth it!

You can read about the pile that drove me over the edge here.  I had an office with a mound that seemed to be growing by the day, several bags of items already collected to sell or donate, and a handful of large or furniture items I intended to sell on craigslist.

I got a handy card in the mail notifying us that a donation truck would be in the neighborhood on Monday and that sealed the deal!  A garage sale was on for the weekend (one day only) and that convenient donation truck would be by the next day to pick up anything that didn't sell. 

We didn't have a ton of items compared to previous sales, which made this more feasible, but here's what we did to pull off a pretty successful sale in just 6 days.

Since we were working on such short notice, we only advertised through craigslist for this sale.  We posted our ad on Wed and Fri night for our sale Saturday morning. We briefly stated the date/time/location of the sale and then listed the items we would be selling.  We were specific about the larger items and just stated categories for the rest. I received several emails before the sale with interest in specific items. Here's how our ad read:

Garage Sale - Saturday, July 14, from 8-12.  All items are in good to excellent condition with many quality brands!

We're selling...

-Cost Plus World Market Dresser
-White temperature controlled light/ceiling fan
-Pottery Barn Kids, Junior Varsity Crib set (includes quilt, bumper, and one crib sheet)
-Upholstered Arm Chair
-Silk curtains (set of red & set of blue/cream/brown stripe)
-Kid's blackout curtains (one set of lime green & one set of blue)
-2 wood dining chairs
-King comforter
-Clothes (women's size med/8; men's XL; girls 3-5T; boys 18mos-2T)
-2 Kelty kid/baby backpack carriers
-linens (queen and twin size)
-7.5 ft Christmas tree with white lights - stored in box
-Books (adult and kids)
-Outdoor kids toys
-Baby gear (stroller, shopping cart cover, baby gates, etc)
-Baskets/closet storage/office supplies

We listed the address and some general directions at the bottom.  We also added pictures of items we thought would be most popular or specifically searched for by craigslist hunters (crib set, dresser, chair, etc).  If anyone is scouring craigslist for a particular item and they search under the general "for sale" category, your ad will be included in the search (even if was listed under 'garage sales').  So include pictures if you can - many buyers will skip ads altogether with no pictures!

Once the decision was made to go forward with a garage sale, I went back through each room and took a second look around.  I went through my closet and pulled anything that didn't fit (big or small), shoes I hadn't worn in ages (even though I just knew there would be the perfect outfit and event to show them off at some point), and any jewelry singing the same tune as those shoes just waiting to be worn.

The linen closet is on my organizing radar, so I put on my brave big girl pants and pared down our sheets to just two sets for the kids (one on the bed and one extra), one set for each guest bed and one set for us.  I also had 6 extra pillows.  Ridiculous. 

I pulled extra toys, outgrown kids clothes, unused baby items, extra kitchen/household items, and seldom read books.

Once you've purged your home, organize your items into categories.  I ended up with:

-Adult Clothes
-Kids Clothes
-Baby/Kid items
-Furniture & Large items
-Household Items
-Linens & Curtains

You'll want to group like items together when you set up for the sale, so knowing how much you have in each category will help you determine your setup.  And on that note...


With little time to prepare we decided to use general pricing vs marking each item individually (the only items we priced individually were on the kids' toy table and furniture/large items). We printed out our pricing signs saving us the time of handwriting, which also helped things to look neat and cohesive. 

We also borrowed a couple of sturdy folding tables from friends.  It's always best to use tables and keep items off the ground - it's easier to keep items clean and easier on your buyer's backs as they peruse your goodies.

We had 3 tables total: one for linens and curtains, one for household items, and one short table that we used for kids items (it was nice and low for the kids to browse).  We lined up these three tables along one side of our driveway.  At the top of the driveway we set up all the clothes and shoes, and along the other side of our driveway we set out all of our furniture and big items.  It all formed an U-shape to make for easy shopping and flow. 

When it comes to clothes, hang items if you can.  It's much easier to browse and keeps you from having to refold/straighten throughout the sale.

We purchased this inexpensive clothing rack from Walmart for our last sale and used it to stage all of our adult clothing. I taped a sign on the end of the top rod with prices for each type of clothing item (shirts/pants/shoes/etc).  I did have to use blankets to set out the kids' clothing right next to the adult rack.  I used one blanket for girl clothes/shoes and the other for boys', using a similar sign as the adult rack that I taped above the blanket.

We set everything out on their respective tables and blankets in the garage the night before the sale.  We taped up all the signs and in the morning all we had to do was move the blankets and tables into position and set out our big items. 

I did spend a little extra time in a few areas and it was completely worth the effort.  I used a small basket to contain the jewelry with a pricing sign right next door.  I placed each jewelry item or set in individual plastic bags.  It kept the items from getting jumbled together or tangled and kept me from having to constantly straighten up that area.  The sign was clear and I didn't receive any questions about prices.  The box was full when I started!

I also took the time to bundle and label each set of linens.  I neatly folded each set of sheets and tied them up with a piece of twine.  I also added a label that listed all the items included in the set and the sheet size.  This kept all the sheets together in their set and again, left me free to do other things besides refold, tidy up and answer questions about each set.


I was going to set up a lemonade stand for the kids (especially after seeing some super cute lemonade stand supplies at Target!), but simply didn't have the time.  My sweet kiddos are also a little young to be pouring cups of lemonade.  Most of it would have ended up on the floor, their shirts, or in their tummies.  Instead we went for a tub filled with ice, bottles of water and green tea.  The kids were in charge of offering cold drinks to our buyers and all the sales went to their piggy banks.   

Our sale was only from 8am-noon, so a couple hours in James took the kids to an ice cream shop for a break.  When they came back, Jack couldn't resist the pull of a bucket full of water and ice.

In our last stretch I finally just let him go for it.

Thanks to his ice binge, it ended up looking like this by the end.  We like to think it added to the charm and increased

Knowing the donation truck was coming on Monday helped us resist the urge to take anything back inside after the sale.  We sold almost all of our big items, household items, linens, curtains and baby gear.  We bagged up the rest and were happy to have a couple bags of clothes and random items to donate.

Knowing where to focus our time and effort in the week we had to prepare, made for a smooth and successful sale!  I only have 2 items to sell on craigslist now (instead of 7) and it felt great to get rid of all those unnecessary items cluttering up the house.  We'll use what we made at the sale towards our reno projects in the kitchen....bring on the breakfast nook!