RW Learning Center – Your Successful Garage Sale

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Your Successful Garage Sale

Garage sales have been around for a long time. They are a way to get rid of stuff that you no longer use or have a need for and make money at the same time. There are several basic hints and ideas that should be kept in mind when planning a garage sale.


    • The best time to have a garage sale is on the weekend, when most people are off from work. Sunday is the best day since many people spend Saturday running around doing errands. Sunday is often a day to enjoy with the family and many families enjoy going to garage sales.


  • The sale should start in the morning and run for 3-4 hours. The majority of people who are serious about buying anything will be up and ready to go very early. In fact, there will probably be people at your house before the posted time. A good time to start is 8 or 9 in the morning and finish around 11 or 12.



    • It is important to advertise in order to attract buyers. An ad in the local paper and/or penny saver is a great and economical way to advertise. Your classified ad should be short and to the point. Give the address and hours of the sale. There is a part of the population that seeks out garage sales every weekend and they do so by looking in several local publications.


    • If you will be selling any unusual items of interest or anything you think would especially attract people, you should mention it in the ad. Never give your phone number in an advertisement for a garage sale. Putting up flyers around your neighborhood is another useful tool for publicizing your sale.


  • Again, keep it simple and to the point. Flyers do not have to be elaborate or fancy. In big letters, print “GARAGE SALE”. Underneath that, print the address and time of the sale. If there is room, you can list some of the items that will be sold. Flyers do not have to be elaborate or fancy. Put the flyers up 1-2 days before the sale. Any longer than that and they tend to get torn down or ruined by the elements. Be sure to put up flyers in surrounding neighborhoods, within a mile or so radius.


    • Almost anything will sell at a garage sale if it is a bargain. Things that you might think nobody would want, will sell. You can sell small items all the way up to bicycles, exercise equipment, furniture and even boats and cars.


    • Some items that usually sell well are tools, computer related items, musical records, CD’s and tapes, movie videotapes and books.


    • People tend to buy these items in groups instead of just one.


  • Clothing also is a big seller. The better condition it is in, the higher price you will get. You should wash or dry clean any clothing you plan on selling.


    • The best way to set up your items is to lay most things out on tables. Don’t pile things on top of each other so that people have to move stuff around to see it. Make sure everything is clearly visible.


    • Clothing is best displayed when it is hung up. You can string a cord up between two trees and hang the clothes from that or you can buy inexpensive clothing racks from discount stores.


    • Clothing looks its best when it’s hanging up and it is much easier for people to browse through what you are selling.


  • Large items should be prominently displayed in front of the tables or on the front of your lawn or driveway. This will attract possible buyers as they drive by.


    • A good rule of thumb for garage sales is to keep most things under $5. To have many smaller items that sell for $1 or $2 is a good idea. This may seem like a small amount of money, but by the end of the sale, it can add up to quite a bit.


    • Of course, higher quality or more valuable items will be sold at a higher price. These would be the larger items previously mentioned such as bikes and furniture. Still, try to keep the prices as reasonable as possible. In general, nothing should be more than $50. Of course, there are always exceptions, but that is usually the most people are willing to spend at a garage sale and that would be for a big-ticket item.


  • You should group items by price. Divide the tables into areas for different price ranges and put a sign up letting people know what that range is. Under $2 is a good range, then $2-5, $5-10 and over $10 are some basic guidelines.


    • Bargaining is a big part of the tradition and excitement of garage sales. You should be willing to bargain. Almost everyone that goes to a garage sale will try to bargain with you. It is part of the garage sale buying experience.


    • Sometimes, someone will offer you a price way below what you have something marked for. In that case, you can counter offer and maybe meet in the middle.


    • You are under no obligation to bargain, but it is to your advantage to do so. Remember, your goal is to sell everything. You don’t want to be carrying a bunch of stuff back into your house at the end of the sale.


  • Garage sales can be a lot of fun, a family activity and a great way to make some extra cash. They require only a minimal amount of work and sometimes can reap an impressive profit. So go for it and good luck!

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How to Barter Anything |

How to barter anything online and offline

In these lean times, your only limit to what you can trade (computer help for birthday cakes? artwork for dental work?) is your imagination.


Now that cash is no longer king, bartering is back. alone has seen a 100 percent increase in activity on its bartering boards in the past year, and dozens of new websites are cropping up to help eager swappers find one another. Traders save hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars exchanging things as varied as photography, gymnastic lessons, and babysitting. Following the advice of bartering veterans, you can reap similar financial rewards—and more. “There’s a psychological benefit,” says James Hartley, a professor of economics at Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, Massachusetts. “Bartering is about communities. It fosters human contact.”

Tricks of the Trade

Follow these four steps when arranging a barter to ensure that both sides get a sweet deal. 
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Step 1: Figure Out What You Want to Get—and What You Can Give.

The first part is easy. Maybe you’re looking for a yoga class or interior-decorating help. The challenge is working out what goods or services you can exchange in return. Tapping into your professional expertise or considering what you studied in college is an obvious place to start. But also ask yourself:

  • What would you sell if you were having a garage sale tomorrow? Is any of it worth trading?
  • What hobbies could you teach someone?
  • Could you craft something to swap? (A pair of hand-knit mittens? A photo book or a scrapbook?)
  • Which common chores do you enjoy? (People have performed tasks as random as pulling weeds.) “Everyone has something to offer,” says Amy Kirschner, founder of Vermont Sustainable Exchange, a business-to-business bartering network in her home state. She is also involved in a local bartering group whose members have run errands, given rides to the airport, or even walked dogs in exchange for what they needed.

Step 2: Identify a Trading Partner.

twitterMake a list of friends, colleagues, or existing business clients who might have what you want and want what you have. Two years ago, Jennifer Garcia, a baker based in Dallas, was looking for someone to update her website regularly, so she offered her friend Sharon Harvey, a website designer, unlimited cakes and baked goods to do the job. The ongoing arrangement has “worked wonderfully,” says Harvey, saving both women hundreds of dollars.

Coming up blank on people you know? Try one of these more organized ways to find a match.

  • Join a local bartering club. Groups like Kirschner’s exist in towns and neighborhoods across the country, bringing people together to swap goods and services. Some are conducted online, others in person, and many are spread by word of mouth. So check the notice boards at schools, cafés, and community centers.
  • Join a Time Bank. It works like this: You register (for free) at your local Time Bank’s website and list the services you have to offer. For each hour of work you provide to another member, you earn a “time dollar,” redeemable for any service someone else has listed on the site. Find a Time Bank in your area, or learn how to start your own, at
  • Visit specialized bartering websites. New niche sites have sprung up where you can exchange almost anything: kids’ gear, legal services, cars, you name it.

Step 3: Pop the Question. 

Bartering in a club or online? Skip to step 4.

But what if you want to offer, say, your accountant the use of your season tickets to the theater in exchange for doing your taxes? Just ask, advise the pros. Antonio Puri, an artist based in Philadelphia, was in his dentist’s chair, absorbing the news that he needed a root canal and a crown, when he noticed there were no paintings on the office walls. “So I said to my dentist, ‘You need art. How about doing a trade?’ ” Puri says. The dentist visited his studio, found a $1,200 painting he liked, and accepted it as payment for the two procedures.

Step 4: Hammer Out the Details. 

Whether you’re bartering one-on-one, through a group, or online, set the terms of the deal up front.

  • Assess the dollar value of your goods or service. Trading something tangible, like a sofa or a bike? Research the price of similar items on or in local newspaper classifieds. If you’re swapping a service, figure what you would usually charge, factoring in supplies. Then make an even exchange—for example, a $60 birthday cake for three $20 manicures; eight hours of piano lessons for eight hours of math tutoring.
  • Don’t forget the tax man. In some cases, the law requires you to report bartering transactions on your tax return. “That doesn’t mean you have to declare swapping babysitting with a neighbor,” says Anthony Burke, an Internal Revenue Service spokesman. “But a barter between businesses is considered taxable income.” If you barter regularly, consult an accountant.
  • Set the time frame. Decide how long you and your bartering partner will need to fulfill your part of the deal, and set a deadline. If it’s ongoing, set a review date to make sure you’re both still happy.
  • Put it in writing. Take it from Nina Wurtzel, a New York City photographer who shot and designed a brochure for a local salon in exchange for services: “I wound up revising the brochure several times, but I received only one cut and color.” If the deal will last longer than one exchange, send an e-mail saying, “This is what I will do and what you will do in this time period,” says Amy Belanger, deputy director of Green America, a nonprofit that supports bartering as part of environmental sustainability. But if it is worth a lot of money or is ongoing, she suggests a signed agreement. The hallmark of a successful barter? If both parties are willing to do it again. “Once you start,” says Belanger, “it becomes part of your lifestyle.”

Author: by Hannah Wallace

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