When Should I Start My Garage Sale?

What are the BEST hours to start and end a garage sale? How many days should I have a sale? I was thinking if EVERYONE else starts theirs at 8 am, then I would start mine between 9 and 10 - this way, customers get a stab at fresh, not "picked-thru" inventory.


I also tend to think that most people are finished garage sale-ing by 2 to 3 PM. And I know that I RARELY go to a 2-day sale because I know the "leftovers" would most likely be undesirables. What do you think about these things?

Thanx and Big Hug! :)
Lauren from Atlanta, GA

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I just had an awesome garage sale. I started at 7:00 am and ended at 5:00 on Friday, on Saturday started at 7:00 and ended between 2:00 and 3:00. I had one tote to repack everything else I got rid of. Starting early allows for people to stop by on their way to work and ending late allows people to stop on their way home. Also, on Saturday I started with a 1/2 price table and as the day went by I put more stuff on that table. About noon on Saturday, I was making deals and bargaining with people. I made more money at that garage sale than I ever have before. Good Luck!!

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I like to run my sales from 7-11 am on a Saturday only. Starting early has several advantages for me. 1) I live in eastern Washington desert so it gets HOT quickly. 2) People arrive early if I list it at 8 and I think its unfair to sell early so I just start early. 3) I'm an early riser so I might as well use the time. I end at 11 (stretching 'til 12 if it is still busy) becasue of #1 above. This also gives me the rest of the day with my family &/or a chance to hit other garage sales. Also, the time is "catchy" when listed in the paper. (Also, the short hours means real shoppers will put your sale first on their list!) Good luck on your sale!

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I think starting times are just a matter of preference; no matter what time I advertised the start of the sale there were always people there a half hour early! I do like Christy's idea about starting at 7am and ending late for the people that work, I had never thought of that. I personally like going to sales on the second day, even though things are picked over, the owner is always willing to negotiate on better prices because they don't want to have to pack up all their stuff! The only complaint that I ever have about a sale is the clothes that people are trying to sell. I hate having to dig into a mountain of clothes only to find that they are all two sizes to big or too small! For my sale this weekend, I made tags with the size and the price for each item and pinned it to the item; I also made a sign and hung it up over the clothes stating that they were ladies clothes and the size ranges. I also used some retail sales strategy and hung items that match and made some ensembles. Hopefully, I will have a good sale and make some much needed extra cash!

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This is what has worked for me.

The main thing is to try to get neighbors involved ... multi-family yard sale participation is much more attractive, especially with the gas prices today, people like to have less travel time.

In our area saturday is the big day ... trying to do multiple days is not that cost effective for your time and selling proceeds. That's the way it is here.

Being long time yard salers, we price like we would pay at a yard sale ... very important. Over price and people will look and leave ... I know I do, because these people are not in the real world in selling their treasures!

In our area clothes are a killer ... donate them and take a charitable deduction. Baby clothes do sell!

Start early, but don't lock into an end date!

Our first yard sale we set up at 6:00 and people started coming at 7:00 (we advertised for 8:00) and by 9:00 we were totally sold out.

If you put junk out you will take junk back in ... have good stuff and you will get rid of it.

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One thing I find good for yard sales is to sell ice cold soft drinks. We buy a few 6 packs of various colas and keep them in a cooler, along with bottle water. When the day is hot and everyone is thirsty they sell like hotcakes. You can buy them for .25 each and sell them for .50 and double your money and still give people a bargain. Happy sales!

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Start your garage sale earlier, not later. If I am in a neighborhood at 7:00 for a sale close to you, do you think I would come back at nine or go to the closest one open? Most sales are finished at least by 1:00.


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I start at 7:00 and end at 1:00ish. Sometimes, I just have a Friday evening "preview" from 4:00-8:00 to catch the after workers that may not usually go. If I do a Wednesday I do 7:00 to 12:00. I usually do a Friday/Saturday sale and save the leftovers for Wednesday morn. Different crowds. Weekends tend to be moms, weekday tend to be retirees.

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It really depends on your area. In rural areas, people tend to get up early. Start it at 7 or 8. Here near the city, rarely will anyone start before 9. I agree that if it is only a one day sale, have it on Saturday.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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I start mine at 9 am but the early birds are there even as I am putting it out at 7 am. It is hard to keep them away as you are putting stuff out.

I get frustrated.

I advertise in the paper that day and on the street signs, the day before and I mark it clearly day, time, address big letters.

good luck

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I start mine at 7-7:30 once I get all my stuff out. Most yard salers have a route ... you don't want to miss an opportunity to get rid of your stuff!! I just put signs at the 2 closest intersections and then at the top of my street. I usually end the yard sale around 1, but will stay open if I have steady traffic. Afterwards, whatever doesn't sell is donated to Goodwill. They are A LOT of work, I couldn't do it 2 days in a row. I live in Florida so about 1:00 it is really hot out and people are usually done. Also, remember that it is a yard sale ... you are not going to sell stuff for what you paid for it or for what they could buy it brand new at a store on sale. Be open to bargaining! :) Good luck!

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I usually never bother with a garage sale on the 2nd day. I try to get to all the ones that sound good on the first day; however if I am gonna go the next day and there aren't as many, then I might go to some that started the day before. Sometimes I get lucky and still find something good!

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I go to garage sales every week during good weather (I'd go in bad too but alas they don't run them in the Winter LOL!). Most in my town start at 9 and seem to run till 3 or 4; however some start at 8 and occasionally I see them start at 10. I like when there are some at 8 since I am up and ready & raring to go! If I go to those and still have time leftover till the 9:00 ones start, I simply go have coffee!

Also, arrange your things nicely and take the time to clean things off....don't put out dirty items as that's a complete turn off....altho cheap enough, I will go home and wash something!

Also, price your items. I think it's a lazy seller that just sets the stuff out and expects all the customers to ask what things cost. Not only does the seller spend their whole day answering questions, the buyers are really turned off by this, I know I am. I want to know w/o having to ask, what someone wants for their stuff!

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we had a fantastic sale in our neighborhood last month. The whole street gets involved so it's a real 'event' and loads of people were coming; from 6:00 am through 1:00 we didn't even get a break!

So the best idea is to get multiple families involved and advertise that way.

A great idea someone told me about afterwards is to have 'double price for early birds' . So if you advertise 'start at 8:00' but you are out at 6:00 setting up and there ARE people coming by bugging you (we had a lady ring our doorbell at 6:15 for a 7:00 start one time!) they may pay double to get what they want (the stuff not picked over) and if not, they won't bug you!

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I never go to 2nd day yard sales (if I've either gone the 1st day or didn't get to go to the 1st day of the sale) in fear of not getting good stuff. I recently was talking to someone about yard sales. She said she always goes to the 2nd day of a 2 day yard sale. She said she can usually find good stuff on either day. She said sometimes Day 2 is as good as Day 1, meaning others might have "lightened the pile" and uncovered good stuff that she might not have seen on her previous trip. Or even the person having the yard sale might have gotten some new stuff in from family members, neighbors, etc. overnight. You never can tell.

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Like Susan from Hamilton, I also start my sales at 9:00 but have people waiting to get in--it is very frustrating to try and get everything situated while people are waiting to pay and it's not even time to start. I have tried to put in the paper "No early sales" to no avail. This year I am having my sale in our barn that we built a few years ago that has restroom facilities (our house only has a 1 car garage and is very small). This way I have a place for buyers to try clothing on. I have been very dissappointed so many times when I have bought something that doesn't fit or I just plain don't like how it looks when I get it home. If you don't have or don't want people in your house to try on clothing, you could possibly hang a couple of sheets somewhere in a corner of your garage for this purpose. I think it will be a great plus for my sale and I intend on advertising it as well.

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something that works great is to also sell .......breakfast!!!! so many people get up early and don't have time to eat. people will do crazy things( like buy breakfast) for food. they appreciate it to. make sausages, eggs, and offer a breakfast platter! $$$$$$$$

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I like to put my leftovers on freecycle.org

Donations to Goodwill are ok, but with freecycle, they come and pick up everything and you don't have to take it to goodwill.


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Garage Sales Selling TipsMay 22, 2006
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