Having a garage sale is a great way to get rid of old things you no longer need and also earn some extra money. If you’ve inherited a house full of stuff or if you’re clearing out things from a loved one’s home, a garage sale helps you downsize quickly. However, before you put up signs to attract customers, make sure you know what you should and shouldn’t sell at your next garage sale.
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There are some things that are best donated or thrown out, not to mention you need to ensure your stuff is in good condition. As long as you’re realistic, you could end up earning a pretty penny from your next garage sale. In this guide, we’ll highlight what you should (and shouldn’t) sell at your garage sale.
What You Should Sell at Your Garage Sale
There’s a long list of things you should sell at your garage sale. In general, if it’s only gently used and in good condition, it’s a good fit for a garage sale. However, not everything will sell. In this case, learn what Goodwill takes so you can ensure it’s donated properly.
Furniture is a great thing to sell at a garage sale. If you have any furniture that’s still functional, go ahead and sell it. With the rise of DIY furniture trends, a lot of people are on the search for furniture that might be in need of some repairs or design upgrades. If you live in a college town, your furniture will likely sell like hotcakes since these students are always in need of affordable furnishings.
When you sell your furniture, do your best to make sure it’s clean. Make sure it’s not infested with termites or other pests, especially if it’s been left alone in your home for a long time. Otherwise, clean everything with a furniture cleaner. Stay open to negotiation when it comes to the price.
Vintage dishes and glassware
There’s a thriving group of people in search of vintage dishes and glassware. While you likely won’t have much luck with inexpensive, modern dishes, anything from a few decades ago is a great option for sale. Pyrex, Spode, Corningware, etc. are all great name-brand finds that perform well at garage sales.
Don’t be shy about advertising the brand name. Look online at places like eBay to see the most current price of these vintage dishes. If possible, post photos online on collector websites to attract more attention.
There’s been a recent increase in the number of people interested in thrift shopping for their clothes. A quick YouTube or Instagram search shows you that this is the new cool trend, and every fashion influencer now browses garage sales for hip finds. Savvy shoppers are all about getting a deal on their fashion.
Instead of folding the clothes, hang them up professionally on a rack. This makes it much easier to see everything. Again, browse eBay for some idea of how to price things. Otherwise, go for the best offer. For anything that doesn’t sell, get rid of clothes through a donation center.
Power and garden tools
Power tools are pretty expensive at local hardware stores, but they last a long time. For those in the market for high-quality or vintage tools, it’s common to search garage sales. Before selling your tools, make sure they’re in good condition and that they function safely. To show the tools to prospective buyers, have a power strip nearby.
The same goes for garden and lawn tools. Things like lawnmowers, garden tillers, and so on are very popular at garage sales. Even if there’s minor damage, handy DIYers might fix them up.
Games and toys
One of the most common things cluttering family homes is games and toys. These easily add up quickly, and they don’t always get the use they should. Give these toys and games a new home by selling them in your garage sale.
Gather up the game pieces, make sure everything works as it should, and clean the toys. Vintage toys are also highly in demand. New parents are always looking for games and toys, and it’s also easy to donate used toys.
Another common house cluttering item is books. While e-readers are more popular than ever, people still appreciate the feel (and smell) of a physical book. If your shelves are cluttered or you’re emptying your to-be-read pile, why not sell your books at a yard sale?
Like with everything else, make sure your books are in good condition. There should be no missing pages or large damages. Unless you’re selling vintage or in-demand books, price them low at around $1-3. They’ll disappear quickly with a price like that.
If you have dozens of appliances around your house that you don’t actually use, you’re not alone. Things like bread-makers, juicers, blenders, etc. all seem great at the moment, but they aren’t always as useful as we think. That being said, garage sales are perfect for these appliances. You might find the right customer who’s been dreaming of your specific coffee maker for years!
Again, make sure you have a power strip nearby to test the appliance before selling it. To see what the going price is for your used appliance, check online selling platforms like eBay.
Don’t be afraid to sell your used electronics at your garage sale. Things like TVs, tablets, and computers are in high demand, especially if they’re still in good condition. If you price them competitively, they sell fast.
However, be especially careful with electronics. You should always wipe the hard drive clean on computers, and reset your phones and tablets to factory settings. You don’t want anyone to gain access to your information.
Finally, sell any exercise equipment you no longer need. These things are pricey if you buy them new, and a lot of people are trying to build their own home gyms. Things like treadmills, weights, and stationary bikes are always in demand. Why not profit a bit from the latest exercise craze? Just make sure you price based on the market.
What You Shouldn’t Sell at Your Garage Sale
While there’s a long list of things you should sell at a garage sale, there are also some things you should skip. These are things that either hold no value for the general public or that are no longer sanitary.
Used beauty products or skincare
Things like makeup, skincare, or soap shouldn’t be in a garage sale once they’re used. While new products might still be in good condition, they should have the original packaging and safety seals.
Sharing used products spreads bacteria, so it’s best to dispose of these things once they’re used. You can always recycle the plastic containers they come in.
While your knick-knacks and travel finds might mean the world to you, they likely don’t mean as much to the next person. Souvenirs don't usually sell well at local garage sales, though you could sell them online in a niche selling platform if you find an audience for it.
Shoes are often sellable at garage sales, but you need to be careful. If they aren’t brand new or like new, you should donate them instead.
Unfortunately, shoes get dirty and damaged easily since they’re on our feet all day. Still, there are a number of recycling centers that transform used shoes into new materials.
Even if you slash the price down, you shouldn’t try to sell broken appliances. While it’s true there might be someone out there who can fix it, it isn’t usually worth buying an electronic or appliance that’s broken.
Unless it’s a minor problem, you should recycle the appliance or give it away for free.
Used undergarments or dirty clothing
Things like underwear, bathing suits, socks, and bras shouldn’t be sold at a yard sale once they’ve been used. If they’re not used, they should have the original tag or another indication that they’ve never been worn.
Not only are these unsanitary, but they’re unpleasant to find at a garage sale. Instead, recycle them with any other dirty clothing.
Unless you’re selling a vintage collectible, things like VHS likely won’t sell at a garage sale. Don’t take it personally. These things just aren’t practical today, and they’re already overflowing at thrift stores.
Things like clunky computer monitors and old TVs just aren’t in demand when there are many used updated, newer models available online and in-person. These are recyclable at an electronics recycling location.
Making the Most of Your Old Things
Whether you’re Swedish death cleaning or just downsizing, make the most of your old things with these tips above. As the saying goes, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” That being said, you want to make sure your “trash” is in good condition and sellable before you start your next garage sale.
This list above saves you time, money, and disappointment. Knowing what to put on sale and what to donate or recycle helps you create a more successful garage sale. Now that you know, it’s time to put up some signs and get selling! You never know how much you might make, and it always feels good to declutter your space.