How to Organize a Community Garage Sale

A garage sale sign on a tree.

Garage sales are a great way to quickly and easily get rid of a wealth of objects that you no longer want around your home. After all, everyone has that pile of items they haven’t used in years in their basement. A great way to come together with your community members, help everyone purge their homes of items they no longer want or need, and to make some extra cash is to organize a community garage sale.

Why Organize a Community Garage Sale?

Working together with neighbors towards a common goal is a great way to get to know one another and build a sense of camaraderie in your neighborhood. After working together on this event and spending time together, you’ll know those you live near much better, and you may even form some new friendships.

A community garage sale will have more items being sold and, thus, will draw a larger crowd to shop the items for sale. Coming together on this will make everyone more successful in selling.

With neighbors at the garage sale looking to sell their own items, you’ll have built-in customers already at the garage sale who may be interested in buying the items you’re selling. That’s one effective way to build selling momentum.

Step 1 - Rally the Troops

Plates looking to be sold on a table.

First, it’s time to rally the troops and see who in your community is interested in participating in your garage sale. Be sure to talk to everyone in the neighborhood and invite others to ask friends in the community if they want to be involved as well. Communicate via email, speak in person or on the phone, or put fliers in neighbors’ mailboxes to start the dialogue.

Step 2 - Practice Due Diligence

Certain cities or towns have rules surrounding garage sales. You want to do your due diligence to ensure you’re not missing anything. Visit your town hall or its website to inquire as to whether a permit or special signage is needed to announce the sale before you continue organizing.

Step 3 - Choose a Location

Next, you’ll want to choose the perfect spot for your garage sale. A big driveway and yard in a prime location in the neighborhood are ideal, so talk to participants and agree on where this event will be held.

Step 4 - Advertise the Sale

A golf bag and other items at a garage sale.

To ensure that the garage sale gets the traffic you desire, you’ll want to advertise heavily. Scour Facebook and other social media and community sites to post on forums advertising the sale, spelling out all the details. You can also put an ad on the local section of Craigslist or even see if participants would be willing to chip in to place a print ad.

Once you’ve learned the local rules on signage, hang fliers around town. The ideal places to place these are on bulletin boards at grocery stores, in churches, or any other frequently visited spots around the community.

The night before the big event, you’ll also want to place signs in both directions surrounding the entrance to your street, directing shoppers towards the direction of the garage sale.

Step 5 - Price and Organize Items

Prior to the sale, individual sellers should compile their items and then clearly label them with prices. A good rule of thumb is that items should be priced for a third of what it would cost new. Let everyone price their own items to keep things simple and fair.

Label items in a way that makes it easy to identify who the seller of each is. This could be a color coding system, where each seller is assigned a different hue. Then, when sales are occurring, it’s easier to keep track of what is sold and who the money is owed to for each item.

Items should be organized and displayed the day of the garage sale, making them look appealing to buyers and making it easy for people to shop. Put items on display so that they look appealing to buyers to maximize sales.

Step 6 - Clean Up and Disperse Cash

A woman and a child at a garage sale.

After the sale is over, clean up and then divide the cash as appropriate, based on sales. Undoubtedly, neighbors will be excited to see how much their items brought in.

As a useful tip, encourage each seller to bring an abundance of cash in assorted bills with them to the sale. This will allow everyone to give change to shoppers with ease.

Follow these steps for a successful community garage sale that just may become a yearly tradition.