Tip of the Day Tuesday: Selling your Stockpile at a Garage Sale

I have been “in” to couponing for awhile, but it never would have occurred to me to sell my extra stockpiled items at a garage sale until I started reading about other people’s experiences with this on various message boards. I have since had four successful garage sales where we have sold off not only items that were just sitting around our house gathering dust but also items from my stockpile.

Here are a few tips that I have learned along the way:

Organize, Organize, Organize – It takes time, but it really helps to have your things organized. I try to store “like” items together in bins so that when garage sale time comes, it’s easy to put everything out. I usually group like items together on long tables and tape a card to the table in front of the items indicating the price. I also make a master list that includes the prices of all of the items.

Take advantage of free advertising – It is completely free to advertise on Craiglist! I usually put an advertisement about my sale a few days before the sale and include a list of the items I will have available along with pricing information. I post another ad the day before the sale.

Have plenty of cash on hand – You will need to make changes. It is good to have some $20 bills available in case someone wants to pay with a $100 bill (it does happen). I have found that $5 bills and $1 bills go the quickest. I usually try to have at least $50 of each on hand when I start my sale. It’s also helpful to have some small change (quarters). Make sure you keep track of how much money you were starting out with so that you can accurately calculate your final profit.

Provide bags – I save all of my plastic grocery bags for a month or so before I have a big garage sale so that I can provide plastic bags for people to carry their merchandise in (make sure you have someone keeping an eye on people as they leave so they are not looting on the way out).

Be prepared to answer questions – The two most common questions I get are “Do you own a store?” and “Do you come out ahead doing this?” The answers for both are pretty similar. I explain that I am an “extreme” couponer and that I definitely come out ahead because most of the items I am selling were free or close to free for me. To avoid any hassles, it’s probably a good idea to hang on to your receipts to “prove” that you actually bought the items. This has never been an issue for me, but several stores in my area have started tagging items with stickers that have their store name, so I want to be prepared if it ever does become an issue.

If you are planning a yard sale or garage sale for the first time and have questions, feel free to e-mail me!


  1. very interesting. I wish I could be you!

  2. Together We Save says:

    Thanks for the info. I have had several suscessful yard sales but I was trying to decide if my stockpile items would do well.

  3. I was wondering if you could give us an idea of how much you charge for your stuff. Ex: toothpaste, nail polish, shampoo and etc.?

  4. If you would like to e-mail me, I’d be happy to give you more information about what I charge for different things. YMMV on pricing based on the cost of living in your area.

  5. The last time I had a garage sale, a customer started walking off with our cash register! Fortunately, we caught him before he got too far away from our table. Good thing too because there was about $500 in the till at the time.