Neighborhood Garage Sales 101: How, Why & When

It's time to declutter and get organized. Whether you've just moved, are preparing to relocate or simply want to say goodbye to that mountain of boxes in the garage, one of the best ways to do it is with a garage sale. You get a chance to meet and visit with people in your neighborhood, make a little extra cash, and tidy the house in the process!


Why you should reduce and sell

This classic spring cleaning activity is one way the entire family can finally get inspired to clean out closets, get rid of clothes that no longer fit and make way for new summer toys. Explain to the kids that everything they toss into the garage sale pile will go toward funding new things for the summer, such as pool toys or movie tickets. Just a little motivation can turn your family members into super helpers in no time! The ultimate reason to have a garage sale is to feel more relaxed in your home. Clutter causes some people anxiety and makes them feel behind on housework. Finally eliminating those piles, bags and boxes will make you feel good. So, let's get started!


When to schedule a sale

As soon as the weather warms up and you have consistently nice days, pencil a garage sale date on your calendar. The typical days are Friday and Saturday. Some communities prefer half days in the morning while others host garage sales from sunrise to sunset. If you live in a community with a homeowner's association, review the guidelines for hosting a garage sale for your neighborhood.


How to organize your event

After you've sorted and purged the house of unwanted items, prep and organize your sale. Here's a simple checklist of tasks that can be completed the week before the sale.

  • Start advertising. Post on your community-focused Facebook pages, in the local newspaper and by putting signs out on the nearest street corners. Most communities allow taped or stapled cardboard signs on wood posts. Check on the rules in your area.
  • Clean the garage. Move the cars out to give the garage a thorough sweeping and use the garden hose to rinse the floor. Start collecting folding tables, patio tables, ladders and other items that can be used to display your merchandise for sale.
  • Price items. Go through all the goods you want to sell and label each item with a price. Use pre-printed garage sale stickers or masking tape and a permanent marker. Or, save time and create a sign with general prices for the things you have the most of—for example, "All books are $1!" or "Fill a bag with clothes for $5."
  • Make a change box. Go to the bank and get one roll each of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. You'll also want some ones, fives, tens and twenties on hand to be able to make change for your customers. Store this in a locked safe box or wear a fanny pack to hold the money on the day of the sale.
  • Plan the day. Make the event a family or neighborhood affair. As you sit together waiting for customers, you can play board games with the kids, work a puzzle with your spouse or catch up on neighborhood news with your friends. And keep lunch simple by ordering pizza or sandwiches for delivery!


Hosting a neighborhood garage sale is a win-win for everyone involved. You make a little extra money while enjoying a decluttered house, and your neighbors get a few bargains.

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