How to Have a Moving Sale

Help pay for your move by selling extra things   

Packing can quickly become one of the most overwhelming parts of moving. Digging through your belongings can mean finding stuff you no longer want or need (or didn’t remember you had!). Instead of packing these extra things and hauling them to your new home, why not turn the items into cash to help pay for your move? 

How can you do that? With a moving sale, of course! It might also be called a garage, rummage, tag or yard sale (depending on where you’re from), but the result is the same — extra money in your pocket. 

Let’s look at the best steps and tips for a successful moving-out sale and explore alternatives if a sale doesn’t work for you. 

Woman looking through items at a moving sale.


Top 10 steps for planning a yard sale 

A lot of the work for hosting a sale happens before the big day. Start early (at least 2 – 4 weeks ahead of time), if possible, to keep from feeling overwhelmed.  

Follow these steps for garage sale success: 

1. Check for permits and HOA rules 

Some towns require permits to host a yard sale. Before you set a date, contact the local city hall office to find out the requirements for your neighborhood.  

If you live in an area with an HOA (Homeowners’ Association), check to make sure garage sales are allowed and follow any rules. It’s also an excellent time to see if neighbors are planning sales on your street so you can combine advertising efforts to attract more buyers. 

2. Gather supplies 

Start by saving your grocery sacks for shoppers’ purchases. You can also purchase cheap trash can liners or ask friends and family to help collect bags. If you’re selling fragile things, it helps to save old newspapers or use packing paper to wrap the items before bagging them so they won’t get broken. 

3. Pick the best sale date

Depending on where you live, yard sales can be popular from April through October. Most people host events on Saturdays, but some sales might start on Thursdays or Fridays and extend into Sundays. To select the best day(s) of the week, check local ads to see what’s common in your neighborhood. 

Don’t forget to check extended forecasts! It’s best to wait until one week before to finalize your date so you can plan around bad weather. 

4. Ask for help 

Handling everything by yourself can be a lot to take on. If possible, enlist the help of your spouse or significant other, kids if they’re old enough, and friends or other family members. Having company and extra hands during the prep and on sale day can make the experience more fun.

Allowing friends or family to throw in some of their own items might make them more willing to help, and multi-family sales are typically well attended! 

5. Prepare and price items

When decluttering things before moving, starting a pile of items you wish to sell is helpful. Separating items into categories and pricing as you go will save time later. 

You can find premade or blank stickers online or in most discount stores to make pricing easier. 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 (kids’ meal toys, etc.) for free and pricing everything in 25-cent increments to help with making change. 

6. Advertise and use signage

For a successful sale, customers are a must, and advertising will help you attract them! Consider posting your sale on Facebook and asking friends and family to share. Also, consider adding photos and notices to local Facebook groups or creating a Craigslist post.

Bright-colored signage during sale days is also effective (if it’s allowed in your area). Look for premade signs at home improvement or office supply stores, or make your own with poster board and markers. It’s best to place signs at major intersections along the route to direct shoppers and a larger one in front of the sale. 

7. Prepare to take payments

Most yard sales accept cash only, but you could also use Venmo or CashApp for electronic transactions. If you’re uncomfortable using personal accounts for payments, set up temporary IDs for the sale. 

For cash payments, you’ll need some change for the sale. To start the day, most people get between $100 and $200 of quarters, $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills. You might also want to pick up a counterfeit pen at an office supply store to check paper money. 

Have a cash box or bag that you or a helper can watch at all times. If you plan to work the sale alone, choose a zippered pouch or a fanny pack that you can wear to keep money safe. 

8. Create a pleasant shopping atmosphere 

Buyers love organized sales, so help them by neatly hanging or folding clothing and grouping items into categories (all kitchen stuff together, etc.). Don’t forget to leave wide pathways between tables for easy walking and shopping. 

Try playing some music to make your sale more inviting. You can also offer refreshments for sale, like small snacks and chilled bottled water for hungry and thirsty shoppers — especially during a summer sale!  

9. Negotiate prices to sell everything at a garage sale 

Folks who shop garage sales are typically looking for bargains. Coming down a bit on a price might make the difference between selling an item or having to dispose of it another way.

Some sellers slash prices in half on the last day of the sale or offer bag deals like $5 for a sack of clothing or books. If you’re willing to negotiate prices, you’re more likely to sell everything at your sale. 

10. Clean up 

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

Bonus tip: Have a plan for leftover items

Most likely, some things will be left over. Planning what to do with the unsold items beforehand is a good idea. 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.

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.  

Put that moving sale profit to good use!

Now that you’ve earned extra money during the sale, you can save on costs by moving less stuff — especially with a service like U-Pack®.  

With U-Pack, you only pay for the space you use in the moving equipment, and smaller loads are cheaper to ship! 

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, and then we take care of the driving. If you have questions about U-Pack or hosting a moving sale, let us know in the comments. We’re happy to help!  

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