A garage sale (or yard sale) is one of the best way to turn your clutter into cash for cause. You don’t just get the benefits of being green and cleaning out your house, you also get to help others find useful items at an affordable price. As they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.






1. Mobilize & Collect. Notify your family, friends, and neighbors asking them to donate items toward your fundraiser and encourage them to drop by the sale. Most people have stuff they’d be happy to donate to the auction. It is helpful to give some suggestions on what they can donate:

  • Clothes, Shoes, Coats, Hats, Belts, Purses/Bags
  • CDs, Albums, Books, Flower Arrangements/Plants
  • Frames, Pictures, Wicker, Vases, Dishes
  • Jewelry, Toiletries, Stuffed Animals, Beach Stuff
  • Toys, Games, Sporting Equipment, Bikes, Pet Stuff
  • Electronics, Kitchen Items, Appliances
  • Furniture, Bedding, Towels, Mattress, Curtains, Rugs
  • Christmas/Holiday Merchandise

If they don’t have any items, what about suggesting they bake some cookies or brownies to sell during the garage sale. Anything that will help increase the funds!


2. Pick a date. Choosing a date to hold your garage sale gives you a deadline. Aim to have your items collected and ready two full days before the morning of your sale. Send a reminder email when collection due date is coming closer.


3. Spread the word. Promote the event on sites like Craigslist and yardsalesearch.com. Make flyers to put in your neighbors’ boxes letting them know about the fundraising sale. Creating “Garage Sale Fundraiser” posters and posting them around the neighborhood.


4. Make it look pretty. Get some foldable tables. If you don’t have any, ask family and friends to borrow any tables they may have. The only items that should go on the tables are breakable stuff. Try to hang clothing, drape rugs over fences, and display books where the spine is showing. Play some music while you’re at it. It should be fun and energetic!


5. Collection Jar. Make sure you have lots of signs saying where the money is going. Also, have a donation jar. People who don’t buy anything may just put $5 or $10 in a jar.


My Yard Sale

By Flavio Malagutti

What worked?

  1. I had lots of Borgen Project advertising materials. So, while people are shopping and wandering around they could grab a pamphlet and ask questions about us.
  2. Long duration. I was there for about 6-7 hours on Saturday and I did get people coming all throughout the day.
  3. Creating a Facebook event. I had a lot of personal friends coming to the sale and bringing their friends as well.
  4. Creating craigslist posts to advertise my sale during the week and the day of the event.
  5. Taking pictures with the buyers after each sell. It lifted up the environment and made it a bit more personal and welcoming.
  6. When negotiating prices, I used to say that the original price for the item was less than what I was asking and the “extra” $5 or $10 the buyer didn’t want to pay was some expected donation to the organization. That actually helped swinging a lot of people.


What could have been better?

  1. Start earlier. I started my garage sale at 11am. I have a strong feeling that I would have sold more (or faster) had I started at 9am.
  2. I wasn’t really good at negotiating prices and I feel that I sold a few items for too cheap. It is a personal choice, but maybe setting up minimum prices for each item would have been a good idea. On the other hand, maybe I wouldn’t have sold those items had I not been lenient with prices when I sold them.