How to Hold the Perfect Southern Maryland Garage Sale

Kimberly Bean
Kimberly Bean
Published on August 14, 2017

You probably wonder this regularly: Why do you have so much stuff?

Get rid of your clutter and make a little money by hosting a garage sale! After all, one man or woman’s trash is another’s treasure, right?

The most successful Southern Maryland garage sales are planned carefully. Here are some tips to help you plan and prepare for your garage sale.

Planning the garage sale

What if you hosted a garage sale and nobody came? If your sole focus is on the actual garage sale, and you put little work into getting people to show up, your sale will be a flop.

Businesses call it “marketing,” and you can apply the same strategies – though on a smaller scale.

The first step in planning is to figure out when you’ll hold your sale. Find out when the largest businesses in town pay their employees, and choose the weekend after that date for the sale, suggests the Yard Sale Queen.

But there’s more to choosing your date than that. If something else competes for their time and attention, shoppers will take their money elsewhere.

During the summer, that means festivals and community events, backyard barbecues, and vacations. Check Southern Maryland’s online event calendars to make sure the date you want isn’t also the date of the hottest event of the summer. When are local sports teams playing? You want to have as little competition as possible.

Are you asking friends and family for help? Make sure they’re available on the date you’ve chosen.

Now that you know when the big sale will happen, it’s time to plan the actual event.

What will you sell?

Many of us have boxes and bins of items we hope to sell or donate someday, but there are sellable items in every room of your home. Garage sale experts suggest going through your entire home, room by room, and evaluate your belongings. When you find something you want to sell, stick a price sticker on it, and put it in a box.

Don’t forget to check the pockets of garments, inside purses and bags, and in large items like furniture to make sure something isn’t hidden inside. The last thing you need is to sell the dresser where Grandpa stashed his life savings!

By the end of the process, you’ll have a good idea of what you’re selling and for how much. You’ll need this important information when you set up your “sales floor.”

Advertising the sale

There are many ways to let folks know you’re planning an awesome garage sale. The most effective is online advertising, so create an ad with lots of photos, and post it on,, and Local websites like and are also great places to advertise your garage sale.

Next up: Signs! Check with your HOA and the city or county to make sure you don’t violate any signage rules. Create signs that you will hang at main thoroughfares and around the neighborhood. Über-successful garage sale-holder Cassie, at, suggests large, 20″ x 30″ signs for the former and smaller ones for the latter.

Prepare the sales area

Make a list of each item you’ll be selling and its price. The easiest way to do this is as you set them out on the sales floor. Cross the items off the list as they are sold.

Make a floor plan for the garage, yard, driveway, or wherever you’ll be setting up shop. Sketch it out on a piece of paper, drawing tables and making notations of which types of items will go on which tables. Ensure that folks will have room to maneuver around and between your displays.

There are a number of floor plans you can adopt for your sale. Find them online:

Most garage and yard sale experts agree that large items you think will be most popular should be placed closest to the entrance, where they will be easy to see from the street. Put smaller, easy-to-pocket items in an area where a helper will be stationed.

Two final notes: Locate electrical items near an outlet, or have an extension cord handy, so that customers can test them. Then, determine how you’ll bag the customers’ purchases. Plastic grocery bags are ideal for most small things, and boxes are suitable for larger items.

The day before the sale

  • Check with your helpers to ensure they’ll be there and on time.
  • Experts suggest that you have at least $100 on hand to make change. Depending on how you price the items, you’ll need quarters and at least 20 $1 bills and 10 $5 bills.
  • Determine how you’ll deal with the cash during the sale. Keeping it on your body is safest – a “fanny pack” is ideal because it’s easier to access and holds more than a wallet.
  • Go over all sale items to ensure they have price stickers.
  • Let neighbors know about the sale.
  • Buy batteries so that buyers can test out battery-operated items.

On garage sale day

By now, you should be so organized and ready for the sale that all you’ll need to do is set up the sales floor, remembering to leave room for folks to maneuver and to place the most desirable items out front where they can be seen from the street.

Then, place the signs. You’re ready to open for business.

Things to consider

Be alert and keep these common garage sale scams in mind:

  • The customer claims you gave him the wrong change – Keep the customer’s cash visible during the entire transaction (either hold it in your hand or place it under a paper weight). This way he can’t claim to have given you a larger bill.
  • Don’t be distracted by large groups arriving at the same time – this is where your helpers come in handy. Ensure that you aren’t all watching the same area at the same time. There are people who will deliberately try to distract your attention.
  • That advice we gave you earlier about going through pockets and drawers before selling an item? Do it again when someone purchases something with hiding places. It’s not uncommon for the unscrupulous to stuff smaller items into larger ones.
  • Never allow anyone into your home. If they need to use the restroom, give them directions to the nearest public facility.

Two final tips

Impulse buying is a reality, so display some small but fun, inexpensive items at the checkout area.

If you have no intention of opening the sale for early birds, say so in your ads. The folks at suggest a simple “early birds pay double” will suffice.

White Plains MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309

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