Our Dirty Little Secret

Ok, so between all the pics and video tours you may think you’ve seen every inch of our house. On the contrary our dear readers. We have an entire room that you’ve never been privy to.

Until now.

You see, under our sunroom is a private entry basement. This means that the only way to get there is to walk outside and down a few steps.

And since it’s not exactly easily accessible (or easily seen) we’ve been using it as more of a dumping ground than an extra room. We hesitate to show you the chaos that inhabits our little basement, but here it goes:

Now granted, this isn’t exactly a finished room, so I’m sure lots of people would use it for storage but it’s totally out of control. We can hardly walk halfway into the room anymore. But the reason we’ve stockpiled so many items in this tiny space is that we’ve been planning a garage sale for over a year now. And now that we’ve finally picked a date (Saturday, April 26th) we have to get our act together.

This is where you guys come in. Does anyone have any good garage sale tips? Everything from advertising to pricing would be helpful so please let us know what’s worked for you. In return, we’d be happy to show you some after pics once we get the room under control. Of course we have big plans for the bonus square footage- lots of paint, new lighting, a cozy rug, a screen to cover the ugly water heater, and some furniture. So be sure to stay tuned…


  1. says

    My family has a garage sale every year and this is what we have learned. #1 if you want to get rid of it, price it accordingly. I tend to mark things on the more reasonable side, for instance for a 5×7 picture frame I might put $1 or 2. #2 the more spread out your items can be the better. We use a lot of tables and spread it out so people don’t have to dig through everything. Additionally we will use the entire garage and driveway to make it look like we have a lot of stuff so people don’t just drive by. But it also helps “customers” see everything. #3 We advertise our sale in the paper (but we also have our sale during the “city-wide garage sale” so we are 1 sale of 100)and we will also put up signs on main roads. #4 we organize everything by categories, for example: shoes, clothing, decorations, bedding, kitchen items..etc.

    Good Luck with your sale!

  2. says

    It actually doesn’t look so bad. I’m afraid to show you our basement…you might be scarred for life!
    What’s helped us in our past garage sales:

    advertising (signs around the neighborhood–you can get them @ Home Depot/Lowe’s, post your garage sale notice on Craigs List, an ad in the paper, etc.)

    group things into categories like, household, furniture, decor, books, etc. This helps buyers but also looks good and not so disorganized.

    have LOTS of change on hand and also a safe place to keep it

    be prepared to have some buyers try to bargain you down

  3. says

    From many years of childhood family-yardsales comes experience…
    1. Put it in the paper and put up signs near your house
    2. Start EARLY (like 7 or 8 am). Most seasoned yard-salers get there 10 minutes before your advertised time. They are VULTURES
    3. Whatevers not gone by about noon, Goodwill-it. All the good stuff will be gone within your first hour or two, and most people don’t go in the afternoon.
    4. Put “big ticket” items in the front so it looks like you have tons of nice stuff.
    5. Send me that printed red (brown?) pillow. *Love* it

    We made over $200 in 3 hours on our last one, with nothing priced over $20
    Hope that helps :)

  4. says

    I recently was given your site address and now I’m officially hooked.
    Good luck with your yard sale- I’m sorry I don’t have any tips. I just wanted to tell you two that I love your site. Great pictures!!

  5. says

    We had a yard sale a week ago. I wrote about my lessons learned. :)
    After reading everyone’s comments, I agree with advertising well & draw in the buyers, grouping and spreading items out(we only had one table), set a price but be prepared to come down, and there will be “early birds”, so be set up & ready 20 mins early.
    Happy selling!

  6. says

    Post your garage sale on Craigslist for free. When you do so, don’t just have the time and date, but a list of items that are for sale that are the most interesting. People may come to look at your trailer hitch and end up buying 10 other things in addition to or instead of that item. Team up with neighbors for a neighborhood sale if possible. This has a bigger draw than individual sales. I waited and looked in the paper till I saw a nearby garage sale and then saved the money of the paper advertisement, put up a few signs so people going to theirs would see ours, posted on Craigslist and got tons of people. Also, be firm on prices day 1, but let people know that tomorrow you’ll be in the mood to make deals. Garage salers try to talk you down on everything and having a policy will get you more money. Most times, they don’t want to drive back to your house or risk it being gone and will give you full price. Good luck.

  7. Heather says

    Don’t forget to get a permit! My parents needed one and it had to be posted front and center. We stapled it to a telephone poll in the front of the house.

    Make sure you have lots of small bills and coins for change and wear an apron with pockets so its on you at all times because people are going to have questions so you’ll be all over the place. My waitressing apron came in handy lol.

    We used hooks and clothes pins to hang things on our fence. anything from hats and clothes, to picture frames. If its a windy day things may blow over so make sure everything is secure.

    My Dad parked our car down the street where it gets a lot of traffic with a huge sign on the back windshield that read “Garage Sale This Way” with a big arrow pointing down our street.

    You have a deep driveway so be sure not to keep things too far towards the back or else drivers may pass it up.

    Good luck!!

  8. says

    It’s probably a little late for this sale, but maybe for your next one. Put price tags on items BEFORE you store them for your next sale. That way you don’t have that awful task of pricing tons of items the night before the sale.

  9. YoungHouseLove says

    Thanks soooo much for all the advice guys (and keep it coming!). We knew it was a smart move to turn to all you wise people for tips on this. We’ll do our best not to let you all down.

    We’re starting to get excited about next Saturday, although there’s a little bit of dread in there since yard sales are definitely a lot of work.


  10. says

    During our parents Estate sale we started out with individual pricing. But it grew harder to keep up. So, we decided that we would give everyone a box. And we told everyone coming in to take one and go through and put things in a box and then we would either price it at $5.00 or $10.00 a box. The bigger items we sold individually. You be be surprised at how much people put in those boxes. It helped us get rid of so many things. And helped us keep control of things. In two days we made $3500.00.
    Everyone has their methods.

  11. says

    I had loads of success selling stuff at a community yard sale. It was held in our courthouse parking lot and all participants paid $20 per parking space to display their wares. We wound up needing 2 spaces so it cost us $40 (all those proceeds went to our police department) but we still made almost $400.

    I recommend checking online and in the Times Dispatch for any nearby church or community sales (even if you wind up lugging your stuff to Petersburg or some other place) because the turnout was insane!

  12. Karen P. says

    After all my recent questions can you tell I’m reading your website from the beginning and reading all the comments?

    Are you planning a yardsale for this year – 2010? If so when?

    • says

      Hey Karen,

      Nope, no yard sale planned this year since we’ve used methods like donation, Craigslist, and freecycle to get rid of things as they pile up instead (stay tuned for a mattress story on Criaglist). We figure with a baby on the way this May, trying to coordinate a summer garage sale might be a bit out of our new-parenthood league!


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