How to Have a Moving Sale

Make some extra money before moving 

Moving requires a lot of planning to get everything from one home to another. And since moving costs are unavoidable, you might be interested in making extra money before packing up. With spring and summer being prime times for relocating and yard sales (or garage, rummage or tag sales, depending on your area), it’s an excellent time to plan a moving sale to clean out some of your old things. Keep reading to learn what to do for a successful sale. 

Need help planning your move? Use our moving checklist to stay organized. 

Woman looking through items at a moving sale.


Plan for a moving sale 

A lot of the work for a garage sale comes before the event. Starting early (2 – 4 weeks ahead of time if possible) will keep you from feeling too rushed as you prepare. Save all your grocery bags (or purchase some cheap garbage bags) ahead of time to prepare for your shoppers, and follow these steps to get ready. 

Check for permits and HOA rules 

In some cities and neighborhoods permits are required to host a garage sale. And some HOAs have strict rules. Before you start planning, contact the local city hall office to find out if you need a permit to host a sale. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA (Homeowners’ Association), you’ll need to ensure garage sales are allowed and make sure to follow any rules. It’s a good idea to see if there is a community sale day or if neighbors are planning sales. It’s possible to make more money if customers come for multiple sales in the area. 

Pick the best garage sale day

Most yard sales happen on Saturdays, but some people choose to start on Thursdays or Fridays and extend into Sundays. To select the best day(s) of the week, check out other garage sale ads online or look for signage around town to see what’s most popular in your neighborhood, and check with your HOA (if you have one). Finalizing the sale date a week ahead of time gives you some time to check extended weather forecasts and plan around unpleasant weather.

Sort and price items

The time before packing up and moving is a great time to declutter your things and decide what to keep, donate or sell. For the things you’re selling, it’s helpful to sort items into categories and price them as you go. To make pricing easier, you can find premade or blank stickers online or in most discount stores. If you already have moving boxes, use those to sort items, and then keep the boxes to pack things later. 

Here are some general guidelines to help with garage sale pricing:

Item  Suggested price range (depending on condition) 
Clothing  Ask $1 – $5 per piece or offer bundles or bags for $5 – $10. Consider pricing baby clothing lower.  
Shoes  Price at $2 – $8 per pair. 
Books, DVDs, Records  Start at $1 or less per item, with higher prices for rare or new titles. Consider offering bundles (For example, five kids’ books for $2). 
Electronics/Furniture/Tools  Price at 1/4 to 1/3 of the retail value or less for lower-quality pieces. 
Jewelry  Start at $1 each for costume jewelry, more for nicer pieces or sets. 
Home Décor  Start at $1 each for smaller items, and ask more for larger, nicer pieces or sets. 
Toys and games  Start at 25 cents up to $10, depending on the size/condition of the items. 

You may also consider offering a box of small items (fast-food kids’ meal toys, etc.) for free and pricing everything in 25-cent increments to help with making change. 

Advertise and use signage

For a successful sale, customers are a must, and good strategic advertising ahead of time will help you get them there! Consider posting to Facebook and asking friends and family to share, adding photos and notices to local Facebook groups, or creating a Craigslist post. If allowed in your area, bright-colored signage is also effective. Place them at major intersections along the route to the sale to direct shoppers where to go. You can often get premade signage at home improvement or office supply stores or make your own with poster board and markers (or paint).

Prepare to take payments

Most yard sales are cash-only (and that’s recommended by many), but if you’re a bit tech-savvy, you may also consider setting up a temporary Venmo or CashApp ID for electronic transactions. For cash payments, it’s helpful to start with change from your bank. A couple of rolls of quarters, $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills to make change. Most people get between $100 and $200 to start the day. You might also want to pick up a counterfeit pen at an office supply store to check paper money on sale day.

Tips for a successful yard sale

Here are some tips to keep everything running smoothly during the sale.

Ask for help

Running a sale by yourself can be challenging, and the day will be easier and more enjoyable with company. If possible, enlist the help of your spouse or significant other, kids if they’re old enough, and friends or other family members. 

Keep cash secure

Have a cash box or bag that can be watched at all times by you or a helper. If you’re working the sale alone, a zippered pouch like a fanny pack that you can wear will help keep money safe.

Create a pleasant atmosphere for shopping 

Play some music to make your sale inviting for customers and consider offering refreshments for sale. Small snacks and chilled bottled water will likely sell to hungry and thirsty shoppers — especially during a summer sale!  

Organize the items

When items are well organized and easy to look at, they sell better. You can ensure things are presented well by neatly hanging or folding clothing, grouping items into categories (all kitchen stuff together, etc.) and leaving wide pathways between tables for easy walking and shopping.

Be willing to bargain 

If your goal is to get rid of things so you don’t have to pay to move them, being open to negotiation is important (and expected in most cases). Coming down a bit on the price might make a difference in selling the item. Some people also choose to slash prices in half on the last day of the sale or when it’s close to closing down for the day. 

After the sale 

Once the sale ends, there’s more to do than count profits.

Have a plan for leftover items

Most likely, there will be some things that don’t sell. It’s a good idea to plan what to do with the leftovers ahead of time. Consider donating the items — some charity organizations will even pick up the boxed-up items! Another option is to post the lot for free on an online marketplace.

Clean up

After the sale, take down any signage for recycling or disposal and delete any online listings to avoid people showing up post-garage sale when you’re all packed up.  

What if you don’t have space for a moving sale? 

Not everyone has space to host a sale, so what can you do to sell unwanted items? 

  • Online marketplaces. List items individually or as lots to sell online. Try places like Facebook Marketplace or eBay. 
  • Ask a friend. If you don’t have space for a sale, ask to put things in a friend’s yard sale or have an event at their place. 
  • Rent a space. If your apartment or condo complex has a community space, consider renting it out to have a sale if it’s allowed.  

Ready to put moving sale profits to good use?

If you haven’t already gotten a U-Pack quote for your move, you can get a free, no-obligation quote online today or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to speak to a moving consultant. We’re a self-moving service where you handle the packing, loading and unloading, then we take care of the driving. If you have questions, let us know in the comments. We’re here to help!