Garage Sale Blog

We might hold a garage sale to get rid of old items, but earning cash for your stuff might be the most fun and satisfying part of it. We've reiterated here just how easy it is to make a fair amount from secondhand items, with a little time and effort. You just have to know what you're getting into.

Whether you're an amateur garage saler or just someone looking to improve your profits, you can learn a thing or two from the experts who've made a great living -- and a fun life -- out of garage sale-ing. Check out these three garage sale gurus who have vastly different backgrounds, but who all have valuable insights to share.

Garage Sale Gal

@GarageSale_Gal

Lynda Hammond worked as a TV news anchor for 15 years before she developed a passion of garage sale-ing. Though she started out as a self-described “garage sale snob,” her passion for garage sales was ignited by discovering a diamond-in-the-rough copper boiler in 1992. Since then, she has written numerous columns on garage sales, appeared on TV, and created a blog with many useful garage sale tips.

Her book, Garage Sale Gal’s Guide to Making Money Off Your Stuff, is available on Amazon.In it, Hammond gives advice on organizing and profiting from your own garage sales, how to successfully buy from other garage sales, the value of appraisals, and negotiating with pawn shops, estate sales,....more

There’s something about The Bonafide Hustler that keeps us coming back for more.

He's not only got a thriving business, but he also has a successful YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers. OK, so do a lot of people. But, there’s a je ne sais quoi that sets Bonafide Hustler apart from the rest and keeps him miles ahead of the game.

He’s a hustler with a heart of gold. And what I mean by that is, in addition to a decade of experience, BH has a level of integrity, honesty and passion about flipping and teaching others to find success that is inspiring to see. Nowhere is that more evident than in his new, colorfully titled eBook Flip That Sh!t.

Flip That Sh!t

A quick read, the book is 142 pages packed with insights and advice on getting started with flipping and how to continually improve your hustling game -- a "hustling cheat sheet." 

As he mentioned in our first interview, BH is keen to impart the knowledge he’s gleaned after more than a decade in flipping garage sale and secondhand finds, so that anyone who is willing can enjoy the same success he’s found. The whole thing is a labor of love for Bonafide Hustler, who claims that flipping is “honestly the most rewarding, enlightening, and fun spare cash thing I have done.”

While other eBooks on the market contain an inordinate amount of fluff, Flip That Sh!t is chock-full of....more

Flipping or reselling secondhand items for profit can be a fun hobby or a lucrative business. What helps it transition from the former to the latter is preparation – doing your homework to figure out which items are valuable and worth the investment.

Knowing how much you can make on a item is something that once took a series of trials and errors to figure out. Now it’s as easy as a few clicks. Check out the following apps that let you quickly check pricing info, list sales online, and check sales performance.

Profit Bandit

Profit Bandit bills itself as “The #1 mobile scanning app for Amazon sellers” with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The app offers barcode scanning and profit calculations based on 15 factors, as well as “Intelligent Repricing,” which aims to keep track of your competition and maximize profit on every sale. It is available on iPhone and Android for a one-time fee.

TeraPeak

TeraPeak is a robust pricing and sales app for Amazon and eBay. The app gives you pricing info, benchmark data and sales analytics for both Amazon and eBay. The analytics, which give you the ability to track sales and measure performance across multiple channels, seem to be a major advantage of the app. The app is available on iPhone and Android, and you are charged a monthly service fee.  

ScanPower

ScanPower is a selling app with a simple premise:....more

Shopping at garage and estate sales can be a lot like shopping at IKEA. There is a colossal mountain of stuff to sift through.

With thousands of garage sales and estate sales going on every day, there’s an overabundance of secondhand -- from the mundane and uninspiring to the high-end and out-of-reach. While it may be exciting at times, there are other times when finding items you need can be a downright chore.

Those are the times when I turn to the IKEA catalogue -- or, better yet, search for “IKEA hacks” online for inspiration. There isn’t a similar garage sale catalogue you can browse while shopping, but there’s loads of inspiration to be found online. Knowing how to easily transform a piece of junk into a piece of art is the best bargaining tool you can have at a garage sale.

Sometimes what you want is staring you square in the face, and you don’t even know it. It’s that patio chair a dreadful shade of green. Or that dress with the un-hip neckline. They were stylish once upon a time, but now they’re just slightly off. If you’d only realize it just needs a new coat of paint or a scissor-snip!

Here are six great blogs to help you get started with DIY and repurposing.

Oh! Glory Vintage

A blog about vintage clothing, repurposed and upcycled furnishings. They’ve got some really great upcycled furniture ideas, like this coffee table made out of an old....more

Your grandma’s sweater never looked so cool. Vintage clothing is a hot commodity these days. Everyone from young fashionistas to more mature, sophisticated shoppers are getting into thrifting and vintage shopping, which is a smart way to score quality clothing, shoes and accessories on the cheap.

You can find quite a lot of vintage pieces in secondhand shops and thrift stores, but another great place to find vintage is in someone else’s backyard. Untold treasures await you at nearby estate sales and yard sales in nice neighborhoods. Using sites like Gsalr.com, YardSales.net and EstateSales.org often allows you to browse through pictures before you even show up for the sale. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there!

You might already be an expert at finding diamonds in the rough, but can you put an outfit together? Shopping at major brand outlets is easy -- mannequins and catalogues let you know what’s in style. But styling with vintage and retro fashion is more of an art form.

Need some inspiration to get you on your merry vintage-hunting way? Here are four great blogs to check out.

Tag Sale Style

Tag Sale Style is an amazing resource for vintage style. Long Island-based fashionista Ali writes this blog that is “part style diary, part insider's view on tag/estate sales and secondhand luxury.” She describes a tag sale as “a one-to-three-day sellout....more

You frequent yard sales. You enjoy scoring great deals. You have a hobby of restoring or repurposing your finds. You have bought and/or restored more items than you have a need for. You would like to earn extra cash.

If the above description sounds like you, you may want to get into the "flipping" business. Flipping -- or buying and reselling -- yard sale items can be a simple way to earn some extra cash while doing what you love. While anyone can get into flipping relatively easily, it takes skill and practice to have great success. If you're just starting out with flipping yard sale finds, don't worry! Luckily, you can benefit from the advice and experiences of seasoned pros, many of whom have shared their advice online. 

We've picked a handful of YouTube channels that have given useful tips to thousands of subscribers about the subject of yard sale flipping. Check out these channels -- and feel free to tell us about other flipping resources you've found.

Bonafide Hustler 

The Bonafide Hustler is a "hustling" professional who makes fun, easy-to-follow video tutorials about yard sale flipping. BH gives you tips for success, as well as points out pitfalls to avoid when reselling. If you haven't already, check out our in-depth interview with Bonafide Hustler and check out the YouTube channel.

The College Picker

The....more

The Bonafide Hustler has been flipping thrift store, garage sale and estate sale items for the past decade. His success at flipping, or what he calls "hustling," led him to create an eponymous YouTube channel boasting thousands of subscribers. 

I spoke to him about playing to win and found that, aside from his online swagger, The Bonafide Hustler is a genuinely nice Austin dweller with spades of passion and knowledge to share.

1.  How did you get started “hustling”?

Nine or ten years ago, I cruised into a Goodwill store and saw a bike for sale. I’ve always been into biking and bikes, so I wanted to check it out. It was in pretty poor condition, but it was a BMX bike that was going for eight bucks. I took a look at it and thought it really should be going for $70 or $80 if it was fixed up. So I bought it, installed two tubes, and a day later sold it for $80. That kind of started the whole [hustling] thing. I thought these thrift stores must have more [cool] bikes and other stuff I’ve been missing out on. 

2. What made you start your YouTube channel?

I wanted to give back to my community, to give people knowledge they could act on. There weren’t a whole lot of people doing the hustling thing on YouTube, and I felt I really had something to contribute. I also wanted to show a piece of my....more

What do you do with the leftovers? Whether you had a successful garage sale or not, afterwards you might still be left with a sizeable number of unsold items.

The obvious solution is to donate your stuff to charity when possible, but you may have to toss some items in the recycling or garbage bins.

What to Toss

Toss items into the garbage only if they are broken, damaged or worn down to the point where nobody could potentially use them. However, most broken items can and should be recycled.

What to Recycle

Quite a lot of items can be put into recycling bins these days, mainly: plastic, paper and cardboard, metals (like cans or cannisters) and glass.

Additionally, “e-waste” can be recycled as well these days. These things include: batteries (both car and household batteries), bulbs, computers and other office equipment, cell phones, televisions, and any other consumer electronic device you can think of.

Check with your city to find out what types of e-waste can be recycled. Some stores like Best Buy, as well as manufacturers like Dell, will collect electronics for recycling.  

What to Donate

Chances are that most of the unsold items from your garage sale are still in good condition. There are plenty of places to donate your stuff, even very specific items.

Donating to places like....more

Yard Sale Queen has been shopping at and blogging about yard sales for more than 15 years. She has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and featured in print publications like Newsweek, Better Homes and Gardens and Arthur Frommer's Smart Shopping. We talked to her about everything from David Cassidy to bidets, and her tips for garage sale success. 

1. Who is Yard Sale Queen?

My name is Chris Heiska, and I'm known as Yard Sale Queen. I was raised in upstate New York but have lived in a small town in Maryland for the past 20 years. My town has a ton of garage sales and yard sales every Saturday. I started my website YardSaleQueen.com to provide free tips on having a successful garage sale and being a smart garage sale shopper. I figured if more people knew how to have a successful garage sale, there could be potentially more garage sales for me to shop at.

2. How did you get started with “garage sale-ing”?

I really got into yard sale-ing and garage sale-ing when I moved to semi-rural Maryland in the early '90s. The area had a lot of single family homes, but the nearest mall was an hour drive away. So in order to get my shopping fix I started going to the many yard sales that seemed to take place every weekend. And since I had just purchased my first home, I had a lot of space to....more

Yard sale signs are simple -- just Sharpie, some poster board and staples, right? Yard sale signs are often the last thing anyone thinks about when deciding to sell their things. But smartly made -- and smartly placed -- signs can mean the difference between a yard buzzing with inquiring shoppers and one with nothing but the chirps of crickets. 

For some tips on good garage sale signs, watch this quick video: 

10 Pro Tips for Garage Sale Signs.

Signs should include large, easily legible text. Can drivers read your sign from their car? You might want to drive around the block and check to make sure. Don't include too much info or text on your sign that could make it hard to read. Essential info includes the phrase "yard sale" or "garage sale," your address, and an arrow. If you want to include additional info, consider leaving a box of flyers or printouts near your sign.Always check your local signage laws to make sure you are in compliance before you post signs around town.If you don't have good handwriting, you may want to get a pre-made sign from your local home improvement store or online.Consider the weather. If it's going to be windy or rainy outside, you probably want to use durable signage material, rather than paper or cardboard.Watch out for vandals who might change the info on your signs. If you decide to use....more

"I've got a box of old bras if you want to see them." -- Phyllis (The Office, Season 7, "Garage Sale")

Garage sale items run the gamut from the old and tattered to the shiny and new-ish. From the low end to the high end. From the vintage to the modern. From the practical to the collectible. And -- most entertainingly -- from the mundane to the strange. 

If you've been to a garage sale, chances are you've seen some weird stuff -- things that are inexplicable, impractical or downright creepy. For many, it's come to be a pleasurable part of the garage sale-ing experience, and it's arguably the coolest thing about shopping secondhand.

For your viewing pleasure, we've compiled a collection of weird garage sale finds from around the Web. Enjoy!

It's Alive!

I'm calling this the Vampire Fish. Go ahead and hang it up next to your smoke detector as shown above. 

Source: EstateSales.org

This ventriloquist's dummy is eyeing Donald Duck rather maliciously. He also seems to have double-jointed legs.

Source: EstateSales.org  

Allow me to introduce you to the Perpetually Left-Looking Lady.

Source: ThePolkaDotCloset.Blogspot.com

The Green-Eyed Ghoul

Source: FreddieInSpace.com

I don't even want to know what's inside.

Source: Unusual or....more

Would you sell the toys of your late granddaughter at a garage sale? It was reported last week that the grandparents of Caylee Anthony, daughter of Casey Anthony, sold her belongings at a yard sale in Florida. 

Online commenters have disagreed over whether Mr. and Mrs. Anthony should have included Caylee's things in their sale. Some people declared the sale never should have happened, while others suggested the Anthonys should have donated or auctioned off the items for charity.

It’s completely up to the seller to decide what to sell and not sell at a garage sale. But you should exercise caution when attempting to sell things that may be controversial or offensive, or items of sentimental value. Here is a list of things you maybe shouldn't sell at your yard sale and a list of things you should.

Think Twice About Selling These

Potentially offensive / adult-only items. Have an old t-shirt with a tasteless joke on it? DVDs with sensitive content? Think twice about selling it at your yard sale, especially to young or underage children. An alternative would be to sell these items to secondhand shops. If you do decide to sell them at your yard sale, then make sure to mark the items as “adult only.”

Sentimental items. Don’t sell something that you think you might regret later. You may be tempted to get rid of your child’s old toys or clothes,....more

Garage sales have virtually exploded over the past couple of decades. But did you know that the modern day garage sale has roots in a 19th century event? The infographic below (by our partner site YardSales.net) tells you everything you need to know about the history of garage sales as well as weekly garage sale stats in the U.S. Get your history on!

One man’s junk may be another’s treasure, but treasure is rarely lying in plain sight. You might show up to a garage sale intending to score some relatively new items for cheap and find yourself faced with mounds of seemingly outdated junk. Should you walk away, or are there gems in the rough worth your time and money?

Many of the best “garage-salers” will tell you that finding treasure is more art than science – you’ve got to have a good eye. And many times, you have to be willing to put in a little extra work to squeeze a diamond out of coal – a fresh coat of paint, replaced buttons or screws, a stitch or two. But with garage sale finds and a bit of DIY know-how, you can save an astronomical amount on things like home goods, furniture, clothes and toys. 

If you (like me) haven’t had the pleasure of formally studying design, you will have to rely on DIY guides to help facilitate your treasure hunting and post-garage sale decorating. Here are some expertly written books on the subject to help get you started (with descriptions from Amazon.com). 

I Brake for Yard Sales: And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster

Good Morning America correspondent Lara Spencer is a self-confessed frugalista with a passion for shopping at yard sales, thrift shops, and estate sales, and for decorating her home and....more

Community garage sales are really garage sales in their purest, earliest form -- or rummage sales. Mammoth when compared to individual garage sales, these community garage sales often last for several days or occur multiple times a year.

Some sales occur along major U.S. highways and span multiple states, while others happen citywide. Here is a list of 50 top community garage sales in the United States. Click on the image below for an interactive Google Map with location pins and more details.

Don't forget to check your local Chamber of Commerce website for community yard sales in your area. And feel free to let us know if we’ve missed any notable sales by commenting below!

Highway/Interstate Yard Sales

Highway 127 Yard Sale

Big Kahuna of community garage sales; stretches for hundreds of milesAug. 1-4, 2013http://www.127sale.com

Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale (coast to coast)Ocean City, MD to Sacramento, CAMay 17-19, 2013http://route50.com/

U.S. 40 Yard Sale

Held along Historic US 40 (a.k.a Antique Alley in Indiana) from Baltimore to St. Louis (824 miles)May 29 - June 2, 2013http://www.oldstorefrontantiques.com/yardsale.htm

U.S. 11 Antique Alley & Yard SaleMay 16-19, 2013http://us11antiquealley.com/

Lincoln Highway BUY-WAY Yard SaleAug. 8-10,....more

7 Tips for Pricing Like a Pro

1.  Check the going rates. Pricing secondhand items starts with research. Find out what secondhand items are selling for by checking sites like eBay or WorthMonkey.com, which checks Google, Amazon and eBay for pricing information on items like electronics. If you can, visit other yard sales or secondhand shops in your area to see how items are priced.

2.  Offer a good deal. People come to yard sales because they're looking to score great deals. Secondhand items in perfect condition typically sell for up to 70 percent of the retail price, while items in fair to poor condition typically sell for 30 percent or lower. If you can go even lower than that, you’ll have a greater success rate.

3.  Know how low you’re willing to go. Like it or not, haggling is part of the yard sale experience. Knowing that you will probably have to negotiate the prices of some items, you should have a “bottom price,” or the lowest price you're willing to accept for an item. If you would accept 50 percent of the retail price for an item, for example, then you may want to price your item at 70 percent.

4.  Bundle smaller items. Smaller items, like children’s toys, collectible trading cards, books, DVDs and other knick-knacks can be bundled together and sold under a single price. For instance, 10 books for $10, or a bag full of items from a bin for $20. This is....more

One man's junk is another man's treasure. It's the driving philosophy behind why we have garage sales, storage auctions, and second-hand commerce in general. Whatever you are willing to give up, there's someone out there who probably wants it and will pay you for it.

American television has taken a keen interest in this idea, perpetuating and capitalizing on its popularity with paid cable and satellite programming like Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers, to name a few.

But just how in line are these "reality shows" compared to what happens off screen on a day-to-day basis for regular folks who do hunting and buying for an honest living? What can people new to picking and selling expect from a real-life experience?

Though they are great for entertainment purposes, let's shed some light on the truth to some of these shows and what you can expect should you find yourself looking for or selling your own treasures.

Storage Wars

When storage unit owners default on their payments, those units are sold in auction to the highest bidder. This is the premise behind Storage Wars, where 5+ regulars compete in auction, searching for merchandise, antiques, and hidden treasures within the units that they can sell for a profit.

The show has been under scrutiny lately, as one of the main cast members, Dave Hester, has filed a lawsuit against the....more

Top tactics for getting the most out of your yard sale

Anyone can have a yard sale, but not everybody has a successful one. Having stuff to sell is just half the battle; the other half is planning. With a little bit of preparation, you can make the most out of your yard sale and bequeath troves of treasure to your local community.

Things You’ll Need

Yard, garage or driveway Items to sell Signage materials Price stickers Portable tables Cash box or fanny pack to keep money Change – bills and coins

Recommended

List of inventory List of original retail prices of items Receipts – Get these at Staples or any office supply store. Tarp – for overhead table coverings or covering your lawn Bags – plastic grocery bags or brown bags Bins – to hold smaller items Lock box or case – if selling jewelry, watches or other pricey trinkets   Clothesline or makeshift rack and hangers Dolly cart – for furniture or heavy items; you can rent these at U-Haul Hand sanitizer – Many adults and children will be touching your stuff. Family and friends to help you sell

Everything You Own in a Box to the Left?

How do you decide what to sell? You may be tempted to gather up all the junk you’ve accumulated, throw everything out of your front door and let customers do the rest. But you’ve got to think realistically about....more