Garage sale supplies

Some items you might need to start collecting well in advance of the sale and others you can get a few weeks before, when you are ready to use them.  Where possible, borrow items to minimize your expenditures.  Items you might need to collect, purchase or borrow for your garage sale:

  • Price stickers (pre-printed or not) – If you want to minimize writing you can buy multiple colored stickers and decide that pink stickers are 50 cents, and yellow stickers are $1, etc.  You are then limited by the number of colors you have.  The benefit of doing this is if you later want to discount your prices, you can then say pink stickers are now 25 cents and yellow stickers are now 75 cents.  You can find these stickers in the office supply section of Walmart.
  • Painters tape or masking tape for pricing larger items, odd-priced items or items which the regular stickers don’t stick to.  I like the painters tape because it comes off easily.  Check the Dollar Store for tape.
  • Sharpies for writing prices on bags and tape and making signs.  It is best to have at least 2 Sharpies so that if you misplace one you still have one.  Also, multiple people can price items at a time.
  • Poster size paper for signs
  • Poster board for strengthening the signs
  • Plastic for covering your signs. I believe we used plastic drop cloth that we cut to the size of our signs.
  • Nails, tie wraps, twist ties or clear packing tape for posting signs on sign posts and telephone poles.  I have been able to successfully adhere my posters to all places with packing tape.  You’ll use a lot but it sticks to most places.
  • Quart and gallon ziploc bags for grouping items.  These bags will allow customers to see the contents without opening them.  Check the Dollar Store for cheap bags.
  • Boxes for grouping  and displaying items or to use  for people purchasing large quantities of items.  Putting items in boxes will help keep them from getting dirty.  Boxes will be needed at the end of the sale to get rid of or store any leftovers.  Start gathering boxes early as they will help you with your storage and sorting of items.  Ask friends and family for boxes.  Sometimes you can also get them from your workplace.  (In my previous job I had a reputation as the “Box Lady” since I had my cube filled with boxes I found or that people gave to me.) You can also flip boxes over and put items on top of them.
  • Totes for grouping and displaying items.  I like clear totes that people can see through.  So I might group girls summer clothing in one tote, or I might use it to hold baggies full of similar items (like Barbies).
  • Tables.   You can never have enough tables.  Ask if you can borrow tables from all your friends and family.  Tables allow people to look through items comfortably without bending over.  People will look longer if they are comfortable.  Don’t forget about your patio table, and your card table.  You can even create makeshift tables by using some sawhorses and a piece of wood or a door.    You can cover the table with a tablecloth and no one will even know it’s not a table.
  • Shelves are another way to display items.  If you have metal shelving in your basement that you can bring up to use for display, you can put a lot of items on them.
  • Clothing rack for displaying clothes.  I’ve also seen people string a rope between ladders or suspend a rope in the garage to hang clothes. Hanging clothes makes them easier to see and will keep them cleaner and neater.
  • Canopy tent.  This will come in very handy on a hot or rainy day.  If it rains and you have to bring most of your items inside the garage then your space will become very tight.  A tent will give you room to expand and spread out.
  • Change – As the sale gets closer you will need to make sure you have sufficient bills and coins to make change.  I would suggest carrying $30 in dollar bills, $20 in tens, $20 in fives and a roll of quarters.  You shouldn’t need many nickels or dimes unless you have many items priced lower than a quarter.
  • Small button bags (the little bags that extra buttons on new clothes come in) and snack bags.  These are great for grouping and displaying small items like jewelry, pins, small toys, etc.
  • Plastic garbage bags and paper handled large shopping bags for people who want a bag for the stuff they buy.

3 thoughts on “Garage sale supplies

  1. Great Blog Michele,
    You have an E-Book going on here. One important facet of garage sales I didn’t see addressed is, old toy’s and young children. My children go crazy if I try to sell there old toys. For parents out there, pick a weekend you send your kids to camp or to another country before you start digging around for things to sell. The kids will know what your up to otherwise. The’ll be watching you like a hawk all summer.


    • Oh but Bill, I do have a plan. I hadn’t thought to cover it in my blog, but maybe I will since you mentioned it.

      My kids are told they get to keep the money for all of their old toys and games that sell. This is great motivation for my kids (now ages 10 & 13) since it means they will have more money to buy new stuff! At my last garage sale, the kids take totaled over $250. My kids have been well-trained. They now hand me stuff throughout the year and tell me “Mom, you can sell it on Ebay or Craigslist”!

  2. Pingback: Getting started – garage sale season « How to maximize money for your stuff

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