Lighten Your Load 

With A Moving Sale Extra Cash


Pre-planning is what gets the details together. Putting the various steps together to make a successful garage sale. When you begin the process of putting a yard sale together it is best that you allow 3-6 weeks to plan.

Step 1. Check with local municipality for restrictions, rules, and if a permit is required. It is important to ask what the

rules are about putting up signs in the neighborhood.

Step 2. Consider joining forces with some neighbors to attract more potential buyers. This will allow you to break up the

necessary workload.

Step 3. Decide the location of the sale — the garage, patio, yard or basement. If other families are involved, a central or

community location. Sometime local churches or temples will help organize a sale on their property if they receive a percentage of it.

Step 4. Set a date and hours for the sale. Sales on weekends and during warmer weather generally fare better. In some

communities, there are traditional days for sales. Arrange for alternate dates in case of rain and it’s best to avoid holidays.

Step 5. Let your insurance agent know you’ll be holding a sale and make certain your homeowner’s or rental policy will

cover any liability for injuries.

Step 6. Start saving shopping bags and cardboard boxes for customers’ convenience.

Step 7. Decide if you are going to be cash-only, take credit cards (contact PayPal, Square, Etc. six weeks in advance to get

a credit card reader and specific terms and protections from stolen credit cards and chargebacks), and or electronic payment like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Etc.




Step 1. This is not the time to be sentimental or think what you have is worth more or the same than what you paid

for it. This is hard to say but it is just used stuff, so it’s time to get rid of it.  Go through your home or office with a notebook, make three columns, one that says selling, maybe, keep it. If you are married, significant other, or partner, have them do the same thing, with their own notebook (no sharing what you put on your list).

Step 2. This next step is the hard part. Sit down with your spouse or partner, (having a bottle of wine is always a good

idea). Get out a fresh notebook, on the top of the first page and write selling. Flip 8-10 pages then write on the top of the page maybe, repeat and write on the last section, keeping it.

Step 3. One person begins and reads their sell column and if it is agreed upon then it is put on the pages that are under,

selling. If it is not agreed upon it is moved to the maybe list. Once the selling list is depleted, it is time to move to the maybe list. Go through the maybe list (this is where the wine comes in handy) and agree to move items to the selling list or keeping its list. This is not the time to have disagreements. If you don’t agree then it goes on keeping it list. Remember if what you decided to keep something and it doesn’t work in your new office or home, you can get rid of it then.

Step 4. Go through your keep list and decide if anything can be moved to the selling list. If you have fewer than a

a hundred items on your sell list, consider having a joint sale with one or more neighbors.

Step 1. After you have identified the items you want to sell, gather them all together and making sure they are in good

shape. Broken, chipped, worn-out items usually will not sell. People do not want to buy your broken dishes, pots, TV’s, ETC. If you can make minor repairs, like swing a seam, adding glue, or a nail will make a difference. If something is not saleable it is okay to dispose of it. If you have a lot of items to dispose of consider setting them aside and having WolfePack Debris Removal Service disposing of it.  Remember any items left over after the rummage sale will need to be disposed of as well.  WolfePack Debris Removal Service is an environmentally conscious company and we will make sure any items that can be donated to a charity organization will be.   

Step 2. Decide where you will be setting items that are ready to be sold (sale holding area).

Step 3. Bundle similar items together, such as cake pans and a cake rack, all of which could be sold as a unit. Or, wrap a

few unrelated items together as a surprise or grab bag specials.

Make sure clothing and linens are clean, and that sizes are marked. Preferably, iron them and put them on hangers or fold neatly. Pair shoes and mark sizes.

Step 4. If you’re having a sale with other people, be sure to mark each item with a code number and/or color so it can be

identified easily when sold. Color tags that identify who owns the item being sold work the best, as the actual sale price can be written on the tag and put aside for the end of the sale. This will eliminate questions about profits at the end of the sale.

Step 5. As you are going through and sorting the items that will be sold it is a good time to put a price on them right

away and take to the sale holding area. Don’t wait until just before the sale to start pricing. Price tags should be placed on the underside of dishes – never on top where the pattern could be damaged during the removal of the tag.




Items should be priced according to their worth to consumers, not the seller. For items in good working order, charge about 20 to 30 percent of the original purchase price. Used clothing and books generally bring much lower prices.

  1. You want to keep prices in increments of 0.25 cents or $1.00 whole dollars – for ease in figuring costs and change due. You can always reduce the price, but you can never go up. Make sure you have money to make, change. A good number to have is $200, especially if you are having a sale on the weekend and the banks are closed. You want to break it apart as follows: $1.00 bills ($100), $5.00 bills ($60), $0.25 Quarters ($40 – 4 Rolls

  2. When setting a price on each item or group of items, keep in mind that your merchandise is used and should be priced accordingly. Try to look at your items objectively. Look for a happy medium – not too high, not too low – with enough leeway for a little bargaining. Make exceptions for the “collectibles” you think, warrant a higher price. If you have valuable collectibles you need to make sure they are located in an area that you can keep an eye on them when potential buyers attend your garage sale.

  3. Mark “AS IS” on anything that doesn’t work or is in some way defective and price accordingly. Place a price tag on each article and list the prices on a record sheet. For convenience and to avoid lost tags, use the press-on tags available at stationery and office supply stores. Small pieces of masking tape will also work. If multi-family sale, make sure you also use a color tag that will be removed and the price placed on it and set aside.

  4. It is a good idea to also purchase or make a sign that says all sales are final, so please check the item carefully before purchasing. If you have an electronic item you are selling make sure the batteries are charged or have batteries available to demonstrate that it works properly. If they plugin, make sure to have an extension cord with a power strip available to demonstrate the item is in working condition.


The key to a profitable garage sale is to operate it like any successful retail business in a competitive market. One way to do this is to advertise cleverly and aggressively. Consider coming up with a slogan to use on large signs, as well as attaching some balloons, that will be displayed in the neighborhood. Be sure to play up offbeat merchandise that might intrigue and attract shoppers. Make sure to put arrows on signs that guide the potential customer, and address is not needed as most customers do not live in the area and know the names of the streets.


Let people know about your garage sales by:

  1. Running an ad in your neighborhood newspaper(s).

  2. Announcing the sale to members of clubs in your community.

  3. Putting signs in windows or on bulletin boards of neighborhood stores (include address, date, day(s) of the week, and time(s))

  4. Inserting a notice in local churches or temples newsletter or local school newspaper.

  5. Distributing announcements throughout the neighborhood.

  6. Put up signs in the area the day before your garage sale. Be sure to have a BIG sign at the sale site. Use arrows to guide the customers to your location. The address is not necessary.

  7. When making signs, BIG and BOLD lettering is a must. Include the date, times of the sale. Black lettering on white or yellow paper is very effective.

  8. If you put up directional signs in your neighborhood, be consistent with their appearance so shoppers don’t get confused and attend another sale.

  9. Keep a list of where you put up signs so you can retrace your route and take down signs and announcements after your sale.


Don’t be surprised if you have shoppers arriving the night before the sale just to look around or who arrive an hour or two before your posted start time. You must decide if you want anything sold before you are ready. You want to make sure that someone is with the items as you are setting up at all times.



Before arranging your wares, remove from the sales area everything you don’t want to sell. Cover heavy items that can’t be moved with a sheet or drop cloth and attach big “NOT FOR SALE” signs to them.

  1. Organize clothing by size and set up a rack on which to hang apparel. A clothesline stretched across the garage or a ladder suspended horizontally from the ceiling will serve this purpose. Do not overload clothing racks. Do not purchase clothing racks for your sale. Makeshift racks tell the customer you are serious at selling your stuff and you are willing to negotiate.

  2. If you have a lot of clothes for sale, consider providing a mirror and makeshift dressing room. Make sure you have someone in charge of checking shoppers into and out of the room. To prevent shoplifting, it is wise to use cards with numbers that correspond to the articles of clothing shoppers want to try on.

  3. Boards set across sawhorses will serve as a temporary display counter. Leave aisles wide enough for customers’ convenience, and the handicap.

  4. Group similar items together. Use corrugated cartons to hold smaller articles, compact discs, records, and books, and stand them on end for easy flipping.

  5. Have a tape measure on hand so shoppers can measure furniture to see if it will fit in a particular spot in their homes and vehicles. You want them to take the item on the spot as most customers will not return to get it later.

  6. Consider making a sign for each area of your sale, such as Books, Magazines and Music; Housewares and Kitchen Gadgets; Odds and Ends; Everything on This Table 3 for $1; and Surprise Grab Bags $.25.



There is always the possibility that your sale might be visited by people hoping to pick up something for literally nothing. To guard against this:

  1. Try to always have at least two people present so the sale is never left unattended. A person alone in the selling area might be subject to physical intimidation by the unscrupulous. Shoplifters often work in pairs, so one can distract the seller’s attention while the other takes wanted items. Be alert to these tactics.

  2. Instead of keeping your cash in a small box, wear a money belt to make the change and keep large bills in your pocket.

  3. If anyone brings a shopping bag or other container, ask that it be left with you until the decision of what merchandise to buy has been made.

  4. Keep an eye on people who loiter for no apparent reason, particularly those who seem to be watching you.

  5. Display small, easily concealed items in an area that will be easy for you to watch – perhaps near the checkout counter.

  6. Keep the doors of your residence locked while you are conducting the sale at your home. Keep your cellphone with you and keep it away from shoppers, this is not a time to be texting or using social media.

  7. The most effective way of frustrating suspected pilferers is to follow them around and ask what they are interested in and whether you can help. Such close supervision will soon cause them to leave.



Have everything ready the day before the sale, so you will be ready to go to your advertised start time.

You’ll need:


  1. Change ready to go and in a money pouch attached to your body. A good amount to have is $200, especially if you are having a sale on the weekend and the banks are closed. You want to break it apart as follows: 

    • $1.00 bills ($100), $5.00 bills ($60), $0.25 Quarters ($40 – 4 Rolls)

  2. Paper and pencil on hand for computing costs, (A small calculator is helpful and crucial if you have to charge sales tax.) and putting final sale price on tags for multi-family garage sales.

  3. A record sheet. Mark off the items sold immediately and price changes made if preferred over tags.

  4. A trash container to keep close by as items are sold so your sales area remains neat.

  5. Wrapping supplies – newspaper, shopping bags, cardboard cartons, twine, a stapler, and scissors or a sharp knife.

  6. Make a sign to put up a sign on how customers can pay, Cash Only, Credit Cards, etc.

  7. Have the items that you are going to use for display purpose

  8. Put out/up signs in the neighborhood if allowed.



  1. Setup 3-4 hours before sale time, as a customer will show up 1-2 hours before sale time, with an attempt to get the first choice on items for sale. Make sure someone is always with the items for sale as this is high time for shoplifters.

  2. Ask for a deposit if a customer wants an item held. It is also wise to set a time limit for holding items.

  3. Keep pets confined during the sale. Some pets can become agitated by crowds and unfamiliar people, or drive shoppers away. Paws can be stepped on by overzealous shoppers.



Bargaining is expected. List price changes on your record sheet, or tags.

  1. Discounts, especially on major items, often will close the sale. Ten percent is a good beginning discount offer.

  2. Some shoppers might want to bargain with you at the beginning of your sale. You may want to tell them you will discount everything after lunch if they come back. Remember it is likely they will not come back, so make a wise decision.

  3. Reduce prices near the end of the sale. A cash profit, however small, is better than winding up with many leftovers. Remember leftovers are going to be donated or disposed of.


  1. Divide up the profits if the sale was a cooperative effort, remember to deduct the amount with which you began.

  2. Many banks charge a fee to count and roll loose coins, so you might want to let your children have fun doing that job.

  3. Keep the money in a safe place until it can be deposited in the bank.

  4. Remove all sale signs you put up.


Congratulations. You’ve made a profit by disposing of all those things you didn’t want to take to your new home…and wasn’t it fun too?

What to Sell

Sorting the items you are going to sell

Pricing Items

Getting the Word Out

Moving Sale Display's


The Day Before the Sale

Sale Day


After the Sale

Download and Print Moving Sale Tips and Procedure