What Supplies Do I Need for my Garage Sale?

You want to make good money at your garage sale. In the past your sales have been ok, but teetering on the line of “Is it worth all the time and effort?”. After 10+ years of annual garage sales and making an average of $1,500 each time, I will say that there is a difference between setting out a cardboard box sign and being prepared to make actual money. I don’t spend a ton of money on needless items, but you do need certain supplies for your yard sale to run smoothly. Here is the ultimate list of essentials to answer your question, “What supplies do I need for my garage sale?”.

If you don’t want to read in depth about the garage sale supply list, just download and print the FREE garage sale supply list below!

Supplies to Price Items

Read in depth how to price your garage sale items HERE

  • Free editable garage sale price tags (the best option to keep your price tags on the items no matter the weather!)

I discovered this method of price tags that are so simple and save you from having to buy those little colored circle price stickers that will not stay on. Edit the free price tag downloads below with your initials, print them off on neon paper and attach to anything with Scotch tape. They actually stay on clothes, dirty plant pots, and books. And yet they peel off with no residual stickiness and don’t take part of a book cover with it. I’ve had them go through rain and still.stay.stuck.

My “color” at our multi family garage sale is neon orange. My friend’s color is neon yellow. So when a customer has a question about an item, we don’t have to have them read random initials to know who’s it is. We simply ask what color tag it is. 

I’m all about off brand items in life, but this time…get the name brand. I’ve tried using cheap “scotch” tape, and it is nooooooot good. Get the good stuff for your price tags.

When pricing garage sale items, having a tape dispenser (the kind that sets on a desk) is so much quicker than picking up a roll of tape everytime. Seems like no big deal until you start pricing hundreds of kids’ clothes.

For YEARS I have sorted my price tags in a muffin tin. And then the tin gets bumped or I’m in the garage and a gust of wind comes through, and allllll those tiny prices blow all over the place. I got a plastic jewelry making divided box with a lid, and it has been a life saver this year! It’s the little things, ya’ll.

Get scissors. You always need some. ‘Nuff said.

From writing clothing sizes on tags to making a note if an item “works” you always need a fine point marker and pen when pricing yard sale items.

Large safety pins are great to have on hand when pricing. So many times when I’ve bought a kids’ pajama top at a sale, the seller will say, “Oh, there’s pants to go with that!” before digging through a box to find said pants. Sets always get separated. Pinning them together is a great way to save headaches during your busy garage sale.

Like safety pins, paper clips are necessary to attach items together. Having some on hand is a good idea for those odd sets of paper items.

Selling tiny individual items by themselves just doesn’t make sense. Put groups of similar items like small toys together in sandwich bags.

Again, grouping items together or putting them in a gallon Ziplock bag to keep pieces from getting lost is always necessary. Think wooden board puzzle with the pieces falling everywhere. Slip it in a bag to escape the hassle. 

Supplies to Advertise 

Read in depth of how to advertise for your garage sale HERE

Signs, signs, signs, probably THE most important garage sale supply. I can’t tell you how many sales I’ve given up on because I can’t find the way or because the signs don’t match or there is no arrow or the address is too small. I know it’s hard to invest the money when you’re trying to make money, but this is the way you make money and have a successful sale. The participants of our 12 family garage sale all pitched in a little money the first year, and we have been using the same ones for over five years. You are going through a lot of work for a successful yard sale. For pete’s sake, direct the people well to get there. 

Your yard sale signs MUST:

  1. Be bright (neon yellow, pink or green are best. Think construction colors.)
  2. Be big (People are driving. What seems like big writing on a 8 x 11 size sign will NEVER be big enough.)
  3. Match (How do potential buyers know if they are on the right trail if you constantly switch up signs?)
  4. Be on EVERY corner from every possible direction people come (We set out 12 garage sale signs for our sale.)
  5. Have an arrow (Address is good, but you must have an arrow. People don’t know your neighborhood and won’t stop to look up the address in maps.)
  6. Have a street address (This is optional if you have an arrow, but it does help.)
  7. Be weatherproof (We continue our sale rain or shine…and people still come! But if our signs are falling apart in the rain, potential customers won’t find you.)
  • Printout of a Google map of your area

Print out a Google map of your surrounding area and circle the corners where you need to put signs. This will give you a map to go by when putting out signs and also be a reminder where they all are when picking up signs.

  • Phone camera

Obviously, everyone has cell phones with a phone camera these days. You will need it.

  • Photo editing app (a free app is fine)

Your pictures allow customers to shop before coming. People WILL NOT come if you don’t have decent photos. Sometimes you might have to take photos in bad lighting. I always, always lighten the photo before posting it on social media so people can actually see the awesome treasures for sale. You don’t have to make it look fake; just make it look good.

Supplies to Set Up

Many of these items can be sourced from among the participants in your multi family rummage sale. Or you can ask friends and family members not in the sale if they have available items. I don’t really suggest going out and buying these items unless you already need it. It just wouldn’t make financial sense to spend much money. Since we hold annual garage sales, we have invested in items to make the set up easier.

  • Tables or table substitutes

You need tables or something to get your items off the ground for a successful garage sale. Throwing a tarp on the ground and expecting people to get down and rummage around, well, no one wants to do that. Some ideas for table substitutes are:

  1. Local table rental (look up garage sale table rental on Facebook Marketplace)
  2. Plywood or an old door on sawhorses
  3. Garage shelving units
  4. Furniture you’re selling
  5. Ping pong table
  • White sheets as tablecloths

Random mismatched tables or plywood on sawhorse is fine, but it all looks a little janky. We pick up white sheets at garage sales or the thrift store for $1-2 each and use them as tablecloths to create a more upscale garage sale.

Someplace to hang clothes is important, but sometimes you don’t have enough clothing racks. Some ideas for clothing rack substitutes:

  1. Inexpensive shelf brackets hung on the garage wall with a wooden pole
  2. Pole or rope hanging between two ladders
  3. Multi-purpose ladder folded so ends are the “legs” with the middle stretch out as the rack
  4. Rope strung between two trees 
  • Sandbags

Lightweight rolling clothing racks are easily blown over or can roll down the driveway! Having something heavy like a sandbags to keep it from moving is helpful.

Please don’t go out and buy these new. Unless you already need some, the cost is not worth it. Either use what you already have, or what I do is go to thrift stores (local is better than places like Goodwill) and ask if they’re willing to get rid of or sell some hangers. I usually get a bagfull for $1.

Same as the kid hangers, don’t buy them new just for your sale. Source free or very cheap hangers at a thrift store!  

These are invaluable at a garage sale. We organize our kids’ and baby clothes in totes or keep odd items collected together like bags and purses. They can be expensive though. With the 10 – 12 families at our multi-family yard sale, we usually have enough. But if you need more, go to some estate sales! They are always getting rid of storage tubs at half the cost.

After all the work we put into garage sale prep, we hold our sales rain or shine. (Read more about a successful rainy day garage sale HERE.) But part of that success comes from having a canopy tent to extend the dry garage space during bad weather.

  • Five gallon buckets and sand bags or rocks

With rain comes wind in our part of the country. So setting the canopy tent’s legs in buckets with rocks or sandbags is imperative. 

  • Shallow boxes for books

Shallow boxes are always helpful and an easy way to corral items like books, small toys and such on top of the tables. Save those Amazon boxes!

You always need to hang additional signs, hold a tablecloth in place or tape a box for use. Have packing tape with a dispenser in your toolkit for easy access.

You will want to put up additional signs or large tags at the sale. It’s great to have some cardstock on hand.

Supply Toolbox

It’s good to have a tool kit to gather all the items you might need during the sale. That will keep you from running back and forth trying to find a pair of scissors or some tape for all those last minute tasks.

Supplies to Run the Sale

  • Donuts!

I’ll say this a hundreds times, open early and don’t turn early birds away! People are hungry to buy your junk, and this is what you went to all the work and extra effort for. Since the opening people are up before the crack of dawn, we always get donuts for the brave workers who had such an early start.

  • Sales table

You need a card table or small table for the cash box area. Don’t use a TV tray or something that size! When someone comes with a pile of purchases, you need space to calculate everything.

  • Chairs for workers

Let those weary feet rest.

You always need to make notes or do calculations. Make sure you have plenty of paper at hand.

We use a Google sheets document to keep the sales tally. It separates everyone’s sales and then adds it together. Easy peasy!

  • Phone for accepting Venmo, Paypal or credit cards

It’s becoming more and more common to accept credit cards, Venmo or Paypal (or all three) at garage sales these days. Even when someone has cash, they might find an item that’s more than they have cash for. Don’t let these sales and extra income get away!

Read more how to accept payment at garage sales HERE

  • Free payment options printable “We Accept Venmo, Paypal or Credit Cards”

You need a secure place for your money on the big day. If you don’t have extra help and will be up and around organizing the sale, then keep the money with you in a fanny pack or cross body purse. Otherwise, a money box is the best bet…just don’t leave it unsupervised!

  • Change money

Make sure you have plenty of cash and change for customers. There will be lots of $20 bills you need to make change for.

You always need as many of these as possible for bagging up purchases.

You will have so.much.trash during a garage sale. From workers’ fast food lunch trash to broken items in the sale. Have a trash can nearby will keep the area neat without you having to run into the house.

We’ve held spring garage sales with gloves and coats on. Sitting at the cash table can get pretty chilly sometimes. It’s nice to have a space heater!

On the flip side, we’ve done spring garage sales in sweltering heat and the garage gets pretty warm. Having a fan helps.

Supplies for Kids’ Food or Craft Stand

  • Free kids’ food stand editable and printable menu

It helps customers to know what food or craft is being offered and at what price with a free editable printable menu. Read more about the best food for kids to sell at a food stand HERE

This doesn’t have to be as fancy as the garage sale cash box. Just a simple pouch will do. But make sure the kids know not to leave it unattended!

  • Change money

You don’t need much change money for a kids’ lemonade stand, but having a few dollars and coins will be necessary.

  • Table to set the items up for sale

  • Chair for kids and adult helper

It is necessary to have an adult help young kids with making sales to customers. Make sure everyone has a seat.

Kids are, well, dirty. I always remember a cute little girl I bought lemonade from. She dropped the stirring spoon into the pitcher of lemonade and reached alllllll the way down for it and then poured me a cup full. Yum. Make sure kids clean their hands before serving food.

If kids are touching unpackaged food, it will make customers feel a TON better if they have food gloves on. Again, kids’ are gross.

  • Serving items pertaining to what you’re selling (cups, plasticware, napkins, etc)

Plant Sale Supplies

I always dig a few plants that have self propagated in my yard and sell them at our garage sale. It often makes me another $100+. Many times people sell annual flower or vegetable seedlings, small trees from their yard or succulents they’ve grown. Read more about having a successful plant sale HERE.

Supplies to Tear Down the Sale

You’ve sold most of your garage sale items by the end of the sale. Congratulations! But don’t let the leftovers sit in the garage until the next garage sale. Read ideas of where to donate leftover garage sale items HERE or where to sell leftover garage sale items HERE

  • Cardboard boxes and trash bags for unwanted items being donated

  • Pizza for the party afterwards!

I know this list of what supplies do I need for my garage sale is long, and it may be daunting at first. You certainly don’t want to spend all your earnings on supplies! But it is necessary to buy certain things for a successful and smoothly running garage sale. If you can’t buy everything, get creative! The point isn’t to have everything perfect but simply to have an idea of best practices to ensure a profitable garage sale, making you the most money.

Good luck on selling!

Read more garage sale selling tips below

Ultimate Free Garage Sale Checklist and Successful Tips

Ultimate List of Free Garage Sale Printables, Checklists and Worksheets

How to Create a Successful Garage Sale Ad

Most Successful Garage Sale Hours, Days and Months

Part 1: Ultimate Guide to a Successful Multi Family Garage Sale

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