Is a Garage Sale Worth the Effort?

This is the Our Lady of Justice statue at my friend’s garage sale. She was mounted to the stairwell when my friend bought her house. She’s holding a Christmas bulb that turns her into a lamp. She was priced at only $2; I was kind of surprised that no one bought her.

Every year around this time I entertain thoughts about having a garage sale again.

I guess it’s something about the weather and the change into summer that make it sound like a good idea. It’s practically a summer tradition to get to sit outside, sip lemonade, and greet your neighbors while they rummage through your old stuff.

Maybe it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten about my last garage sale, the day when someone offered me a nickel for something I had priced at a measly quarter. I accepted their offer (I just wanted to get rid of the stuff), but still I quietly wondered, “Why am I sitting here all day for this?”

Normally I don’t wait for a garage sale to get rid of something. My family keeps a perpetual giveaway box, and we sell things on Craigslist. Making a donation and then keeping the tax receipt usually seems easier.

But still, there’s something about the idea of a garage sale that feels like classic summer, and if you can find enough stuff to sell you might make some good cash.

I was wondering what you think. Can we take a poll?

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. When my grandmother died every closet in her home was completely full. We had a garage sale and made over $1000. I decided that I would never, ever allow myself to have so much junk that someone could clean it out of my house and make $1000 in four or five hours.
    May my home never be “worth it” for a garage sale! We keep a brown bag by the door an drop donations in it. When it’s full I take it to Goodwill on my weekly errand run.

    • I couldn’t agree more!
      Robyn Q´s last post…Sugar Snap Longings

    • When my grandparents die, we all understand that we are going to have to have professionals come in and appraise the clocks, crystal, paintings, sculptures, and oriental rugs. That’s okay, these are beautiful things and I’m sure everyone will keep a few items to remind us of their rich and full life.

      But knowing that we will be going through 60 years of clutter, clothes, and boxes of papers? It just makes me sad.

      I have been tackling at least one small drawer or closet per day this week, and it makes me feel much better, even when other things aren’t going so well. We have started to keep a hanging closet organizer in the front hall, and each slot is for a different thing. Since all of my family lives close, and we often have things to return, it will work like a reverse mail box.

      Back to the topic: I LOVE shopping garage sales and rummage sales because it lets us live well above our paygrade. But, it really isn’t worth it to me, when I can sell my higher end items on CL or eBay, and donate the moderately valued stuff. I finally learned after starting to shop secondhand what the “cutoff” for quality looks like. I make way more t-shirt rags than I used to, and I feel guilty about all of the times I donated stuff that probably was thrown out.

  2. Unwanted stuff ends up in the donate bag and, eventually, in the thrift store. Tax receipts seems like fair trade for less time involved with things I don’t want anyway. I’ve not yet tried selling on Craigslist.

    Still, I occasionally like rummaging through the random at other people’s garage sales….
    SC Ramsey´s last post…Parking Signs- Pop Quiz Edition

  3. We keep a give away bag going all the time, too. The kids are trained that when they are through with something, it goes in the bag. We haul it to Goodwill or Salvation Army when a big enough pile accumulates. I like for them to think of passing things on so someone else can use them.
    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…Honoring Through Remembrance

  4. A garage sale is worth it for me mostly because it sets a deadline. Although I, too, keep a perpetual giveaway box, I look at things with a much more discerning eye when a garage sale is on the horizon. I’ve done them with friends, so you’re not sitting there bored. I’ve made a fair amount of money for things I no longer want. And at the end of the day, everything left goes to the local thrift store – and is out once and for all. I also cross post larger items, like furniture, separately on Craigslist so people can come, see, buy, and I don’t need to set up appointments. I just delete the ads as things sell – and almost everything I’ve listed that way has sold.
    Emily´s last post…The music in my head today The Head and the Heart-Iron and Wine

  5. To me it is not worth it. I like to get rid of stuff instead of accumulating it. Usually, I either donate it or if it is big enough and nice enough I sell it on Craigslist.

    That being said, there is a pile of junk in my basement because my husband *does* think it is worth the effort. LOL I was JUST thinking about going through it and separating the stuff so I could donate it and sell it. We’ll see. My husband’s argument is that we have a whole basement to store stuff, even if we don’t want it. Icky. I hate storing junk!
    Tammy´s last post…Crochet Pattern- Girls Ruffle Socks

  6. We have car boot sales here, I think that’s the closest thing to a yard sale. I’m planning to go to my first one in a couple of weeks to sell some of our stuff. I regularly take a bag to the charity shop so I’ve been surprised at how much more I’ve found to get rid of. But, Baby2 is on the way though so not only is space more precious than ever, but money too! I just want to make back enough to pay for my pitch and the four hours of my time it will take. (Plus all the time sorting and boxing in preparation!).

  7. We love having garage sales so I totally think it’s worth it. We price everything really cheap and have a standing rule that if it doesn’t sell we immediately take it to Goodwill or somehwere else to donate. We live in a very small town (too small for people to come to for a sale) so we have it at my mom’s in another town.

    It’s usually kind of a pain for us to donate stuff randomly throughout the year because of where we are located, since our trips “in town” take so long we are usually to busy to stop and unload stuff. Another reason I’ve never listed anything on craigslist, although I would love to do this if we lived somehwere more convienent!

  8. Before this month, I would have answered no to your question but, I will not concede: a garage sale is worth it in some situations. I, too, am a donator and occasionally online seller and that has worked for me for quite a long time. But we are moving overseas soon (and, ironically, the home we will be moving into-assigned by the military-is much larger than the one we live in now) and I really felt compelled to weed out the junk. While we have the ROOM, my LIFE didn’t have the room to see the same stuff on a new continent. There is something about having to ship your stuff on a boat for three months that makes you think about whether it is worth keeping or not! We cleared over $700 on this (four hour long!) garage sale (our first in 11 yrs of marriage) and it was very worth the effort…

  9. Our neighborhood has a big community garage sale in the fall and the spring. We have participated in the last 3 or so and make around $200. It’s worth it to us because it motivates my daughters to go through their stuff and sell their unworn clothing. They love making the extra money.
    Pam @@ diy Design Fanatic´s last post…A Wonderful Gift

  10. Depends on how much your time is worth. My last yard sale made $100 in about 6 hours. I’d say that’s right on the border or worth it/not worth it. Most of the time I spent was sorting things to sell, but I’d have to do that anyway if I was donating.

  11. Jill Marie Codere says:

    is the lamp still for sale? I love it!!
    can’t help it…one person’s trash is sometimes another’s treasure.
    I LOVE Goodwill…always something fun there and less work

  12. I would agree with the ‘depends’ answer. Depends on how many big ticket items you have to sell…seems to be worth it then because you can get rid of the big ‘space-taker-uppers’ while also bringing in some big money in a small amount of time. But if you only have small things to sell, then I would say no it’s definitely not worth it.
    Amy´s last post…Not Forgotten

  13. Whitney says:

    I voted no, because I’m not allowed to have one in my yard because of a HOA policy. I tried hauling everything to another location once and it I made about $75 bucks and it was a LOT of work. For now, I’m sticking with consignment sales (events for kids’ stuff) and ebay when I think something I don’t want anymore has value. The rest goes to goodwill or someone I think needs it.

  14. I have one garage sale a year. It’s from 9am-Noon on a Saturday and everything is priced to go. It’s worth it because we make a little extra spending money and get rid of things we no longer need. Everything else is taken to Goodwill and I am done with it. If I had big items to sale I would probably list on Craigslist, but most items are toys and clothes my daughter can no longer wear. I had all of her shirts listed for 50 cents and one lady came and bought all of them. She comes back every year now.

  15. Karen (Scotland) says:

    As Rosie says above, we have car boot sales here and I’m not sure they are worth the effort. For a start, you have to tote the stuff to another location and set up from your car boot (with a table or two) which makes it a LOT more work and you have to pay for a pitch meaning you can actually lose out.
    If you sell stuff on ebay/gumtree, people are LOOKING for that stuff so are willing to pay a reasonable amount. At a car boot sale, (most) people are just browsing and know you desperately want to get rid of the stuff before you head home so they’ll often offer pitiful amounts.
    So, for me, not worth the effort (especially if I have to pay someone to babysit my four small eager “helpers”.)
    Karen (Scotland)

  16. My children like to have a lemonade stand during the neighborhood garage sale each May. My girl picks a goal, this year the Philly please touch, and sells her heart out.

    This year we decided to try & unload the stuff crowding us out of our own basement. I was shocked to make several hundreds of dollars on stuff I didn’t want. A truck is coming to pick up the rest for donation.

    On a rainy 69 degree day, we meet some fun people, got rid of stuff and our kids made their goal. I’d say worth it.

  17. Usually we opt for the write-off, so we take itemized lists and totes of things to donate. However last weekend, we had a huge yard sale to raise money for an upcoming missions trip to work with some kids in Ukraine, and we needed the actual cash so we can purchase tickets. So for us, this time it was worth all the hard work! The Lord provided enough for our first ticket! So one down, one to go.

  18. I would have thought no before, but I have come up with a system and it takes the stress out of it. We have a box or boxes in the basement and as I find things I clean them up and price them right away, that way you are not pricing everything the night before. The other way is to just make a $1 table $2 table etc. though sometimes people cheat haha. If you don’t have much have another family do it with you, its more fun and you have more things to sell so more people will stop by. My husband and I are adopting and did a few garage sales to raise support. We made $1067 this past weekend. Alot were donations from friends. We made another grand ish at the other. It got way bigger than we planned, but that wasn’t a bad thing! Our thought was we would put things in as we had them (usually we just give them away) and then we would have one and even if we made $40 its still a nice dinner out or baby bottles or whatever.

    • Melanie Brownsberger says:

      I do the same thing. All year long we collect things that we want to get rid of and tnen yard sale day you just take them out of the boxes and u r ready to go! :) We also adopted but through the local children and youth agency so we did not have to raise any money. Children are such a blessing! :) I hope you reach your goal soon!

  19. Sarah F says:

    My parents and I did a garage sale last year. My dad was really excited about it- he was on sabbatical from his job, and was raring to get the house into shape and cleaned out. We spent weeks cleaning out the boxes in the garage (most of them there since my parents moved into the house 8 years before) and a little bit of stuff in the house. We came up with a bunch of junk, and put it out for the subdivision’s annual garage sale day.

    My mother vociferously defended everything of ‘hers’ that we wanted to put into it and refused to let things go. Until the first day when a lady came through and bought some of her books on tape for a nursing home. THEN she was going through her closets (yes, I said closets, plural) and pulling out things for me to put on the table (“Oh, would you come in the house and get this?? I found some more stuff for the sale”). Apparently she didn’t realize she could actually get money for these things.

    Anyway, at the end of the 2 days we made about $500- about $400 for my parents, and a little over $100 for me. My father looked at me and said he’d never do it again. We worked for 3 weeks on something that brought in what he makes in two days at work.

    It was fun, but I agree with him- too much work, not enough benefit. It’s much easier to list on Craigslist or just dump it off to Goodwill!

  20. Totally worth it – but only if you have a number of high ticket items (e.g., furniture, electronics, baby needs, etc.). Definitely not worth it just to clear out the everyday junk that accumulates. Neighborhood sales are the most fun, so there is more of a “draw” and fun socialization. I also bake a ton of chocolate chip cookies the night before and sell them – who can resist a homemade cookie at the check out line? A nice way to make a little “extra” on all that effort.

  21. Yes! It’s worth it! We just had a garage sale and made $600! It was a huge pain to store everything until we were ready, to lug it all out and organize it, to run around hanging signs and then take the left overs to donate but $600 is $600.

  22. I have to say no. I agree with the first poster. I hope I never have enough extra Stuff to make a garage sale worth it.
    jennie´s last post…My City—Salt Lake City

  23. We always had a giveaway box growing up, but once there were one or two bigger items we started collecting things for a garage sale. Even with my mom’s ridiculous 5 and 10 cent pricing, we always ended the day a few hundred dollars richer and most of our stuff gone. I guess the difference now is that with bigger items you can post them individually on craigslist. Still, there’s something to be said about garage sale shopping on an early Saturday morning…
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Teaching Your Dog Manners

  24. I recently had a yard sale. That completely paid for a move 2 states away. Yes it was worth the pain and suffering.

  25. I like having garage sales, though we don’t make much money. I had one with a friend last fall, and she made 4 times what we did. However, they were selling a variety of furniture items and used techy stuff, like speakers. We were selling little odds and ends for 50 cents each. The volume of stuff was similar, but we often get rid of things on a regular basis as you said. But the truth is that I like the process. Even thought it’s a lot of work, I actually like pricing things, and seeing who buys what!
    carrie´s last post…Spring has sprung

  26. When I lived in the US, in Minneapolis, I loved going to the Edina’s mega garage sale. The whole neighborhood has a garage sale the same day (around 6/21)and it’s insane! They even print out flyers with codes for the stuff they sell (kids, electronics, furniture, etc) and as a customer, you can run wild through those streets buying nice things. OK, I did.

    For me, it felt like I was rummaging through the closets of these people. Felt weird, but good. Like authorized voyeurism.

    The first time we went, we were 2 couples. By the end of the day the other guy said we had enough crap to set up our own garage sale, and he was right. But I still have things I bought then!
    Julia´s last post…Grandpa goes to Hollywood

  27. Jessica says:

    My place is small, and I never have enough stuff. When I decide I can live without something, I want it gone right away. When I have a bigger place and more stuff, I love the idea of having a yard sale and cross-posting stuff on Craigslist.

  28. A garage sale is not worth the effort for us. Like you, I keep a giveway black trash bag and add items to it until it is full or almost too heavy to carry. It gets dropped off at our Good Will store and I get a tax receipt for it. That is easier for me. And I do go to the Good Will store and shop and buy things, that some one else has donated to them!!
    Barbara Galloway´s last post…Civil War Quilt- Post 4

  29. carolyn says:

    I had one garage sale about 15 years ago and said never again. It’s just not worth the time and I hated haggling with people. I donate things on a continuous basis and if I ever have anything really worth something I can sell it through the online for sale board at my husband’s work. To be fair, I’m not a garage sale buyer either.

  30. Last time I had one it was for my folks and it was really work. I don’t think I made them that much money either. Right now we’re moving and packing up and throwing out–so it either goes in the trash or to Goodwill…or…I had so much fun last weekend putting an old, not-very-functional desk out on the sidewalk with a “free” sign and 2 teenage girls were delighted to take it and rolled it down the street to their house! Then I put out a few other things with a free sign. They were gone so fast. One woman came while I was putting things out and said she was moving to a home from an apartment and was so delighted to find what I had.

  31. Rainya Mosher says:

    In general, I prefer to donate small things and clothes and post larger items on craigslist. However, I am planning a yard sale this weekend as a way to motivate my 6 year old daughter (and husband) to clear out stuff. My neighborhood doesn’t have any special restrictions, so you can do a yard sale pretty much whenever, which helps a lot. I will insist that anything that isn’t sold by 2pm gets loaded into the van and taken to a goodwill donation station. We’ll see how it goes!

  32. Last year, I had a garage sale and made a total of $30, yes, $30. We live at the end of a cul-u-sac, great for kids playing, but not so good for garage sales. The rest I donated, itemized, and was able to take the donation off my taxes.
    Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith´s last post…No Greater  Love

    • Exactly, Mary!! I think the worst I’ve ever done at a yard sale was $13 – that was TOTALLY not worth my time. The best we’ve ever done was around $180, but we were selling some big ticket items. We’re just not successful yard-sale-ers, so I’d rather donate 99% of the time. Glad to know we’re not alone!
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  33. Sandra Gonzales says:

    We have a community-wide garage in my subdivision once a year.
    I price everything cheap and I still get low-balled. I even get cases of people stealing. So nope, no thank you, and NO you may not use my bathroom.

  34. my little sister is the queen of yard sales. she will make $1000 in a few hours. however, she’s selling her $120 jeans for $30. $200 handbags for $60. this all goes back into the buying of more clothing and accessories. it doesn’t make sense to me. but i think i paid $7 for my last pair of jeans. lol.

    designer clothes and bags. electronics and furniture go great in yard sales. donate everything else. i just give anything i don’t want to family or salvation army. recycle where i must.

  35. Generally, I would vote no. We, too, keep things going out for donations regularly. Maybe once every couple of years, if we have enough stuff all at one time, we’ll post a sign on Saturday “9 – 12 only” and then done and gone. The question does become, “Do you want to make money? Or do you want to get rid of stuff?” Internet to make money, I think, and yard sale/donate to get rid of stuff.

  36. We have had a garage sale once a year for the past 2 years, and it has been worth it for us. We have gotten together with one other family to do them that we don’t see very often, and if nothing else has been a fun time of fellowship! I love the opportunity it has given us to meet neighbors too. Just our family made $500 the first year, and half that this year. We are preparing to move internationally next year so it has been a great way for us to gradually start getting rid of everything. We do also donate to organizations throughout the year and sell stuff on craigslist. My one garage sale tip… price and organize stuff as you put it out, then you only have to touch the items once and the prep work is not overwhelming.

  37. I just had an online garage sale for my craft supplies, and while I’m having to deal with shipping fun (insert sarcasm), I found that I was better able to target my audience and get better sale prices than I would have had I just done a “neighborhood garage sale.” Also – I could monitor it from my smart phone instead of having to sit out in the hot sun all day. ;) So I guess your Craig’s List idea is the best option IMO.

  38. For me it was hard to have people want to go disgutingly low on items that held so many memories or still have value. People would be upset when the well cared for baby clothes I was selling for $1 per item, wouldn’t be sold to them for 10- 25 cents. I’d rather donate it. The tax deductions are more helpful than a few bucks in my pocket after haggling all day with unreasonable people.
    Kim C.´s last post…one man’s junk

  39. I say yes – but only sometimes. My husband says NO – 100% of the time. I say, hey, that’s $20 more than we started the day with and less junk. He says – it’s worht $20 to me to dump it all at the donation center and have my Saturday to do other projects. We’ve done our share of yard sales, and I have boxes sitting around our house now with stuff I want to bid farewell to, but I’ve also come around to his way of thinking and I voted “NO” on your poll. It’s worth it to some folks, but it’s not worth it to me…at least at this stage in my life. :-)
    Carrie´s last post…Pinterest Project 1

  40. Generally speaking for us, not worth it. We also keep the perpetual giveaway bag at the ready (there’s a convenient goodwill truck dropoff near our local grocery which makes it even easier) and do the Big/Pricey items on Craigslist or Ebay. There’s also a healthy exchange around here by just putting things at the curb with a sign saying “Free” on it, so if it’s too big/bulky for goodwill dropoff, we’ll leave stuff there. We also love to give things away via Freecycle – especially if it’s something kind of odd/specialized that someone at Goodwill may not even be able to identify etc. Baby clothes if unworn/lightly used get handed down to friends/family, although there are some good children’s resale places in town too.

  41. Frances says:

    We can’t do one in our neighborhood but our church did one to help cover the cost of our youth trip this summer, which also helps cover my ticket because I’m a youth sponsor. At first things started out really slow. People were asking us to come down on the price from 50 cents to a quarter! We got more for the things we didn’t put a price on! After we put up signs telling what the proceeds were for, people became a lot more generous. We also washed people’s cars for donations and sold a small table of baked goods. We ended up making $900 in 6 hours so I’d say it was worth it in the end. I also bought a few things while I was there that I absolutely love: a light fleece, a cardigan, and a foot spa! That foot spa has done wonders for my tired concrete-floor hating feet after work. Some people live for that kind of treasure hunt!

  42. i am definitely “no garage sale” kind of girl. for 3 reasons: 1. typically, it is time not well spent. craigslist could get you the price you want on the items for far less time. and you could do it bit by bit… things wouldn’t have to accumulate to “garage sale” junk proportions.

    2. i don’t buy lots of stuff. so i don’t have lots of stuff to sell. do i have junk? yes… and i get rid of it. but excess junk? my house and bank account are small. big ticket items just don’t exist for me at this point in my life. {and if they did, i would sell on internet}

    3. do you really want everyone at your house? in your garage…scoping out your stuff? think about it… who are these strangers? would anything they see entice them to burgle? you never know. call me paranoid…

    and like the above commenter, i love a free sign on my junk at the end of the sidewalk and seeing it totally make someone else’s day. once i put 2 bar stools on the curb, and probably could have gotten $50 on craigslist… but i felt like the universe had been generous with me, and i needed to do so in return. sometimes its just good to put that kind of energy out there. {it sounds strange, but i really believe that}
    Stephanie´s last post…The Zoo on a Saturday

  43. The last time I had a garage sale I made $100 for a 6 hour day. For my line of work I can charge $50 to $60 an hour, so I really don’t see how I can ever justify the time to income ratio here. I tend to buy most things I own used or on sale and generally use the heck out of everything, so I understand why I really won’t ever make much money on a garage sale. That’s what you have to think about, how much can i make spending my time doing something else, and how much is my stuff really,worth.

  44. After I figured out my hourly wage from our last yard sale (a la Tightwad Gazette), I won’t do another. I only made $6 an hour and it took up most of my Saturday. All of our clothing donations go to the local food bank for free distribution to the needy. I feel much better about this and it’s easier than a yard sale!
    BrownThumbMama´s last post…Why Didnt I Think of That Wednesday

  45. When we lived in a subdivision and had lots of kid’s clothes to sell, it was definitely worth it. Now we are in a rural area, so we wouldn’t get the traffic that you would in town. So now I take some things to a consignment shop and donate others – still I know I hold onto too many things I don’t use.

  46. The embarrassment of having strangers rattle through our junk and decide it wasn’t even worth a few cents was too much for me. We make routine trips to drop off stuff at the thrift store – they can make a few cents on the stuff, and it is out of our way. I love the comments here about not even having/wanting enough stuff for a sale. We have a long ways to go, but that is our direction.
    MAUREEN´s last post…SPEED BUMPS

  47. I voted “no” but I still get talked into throwing one with my sisters or a friend every other year or so. It’s more for the time spent together than the money earned.

  48. Our location isn’t the most convenient for having garage sales, but I haven’t enjoyed having them in the past, anyways. Usually you end up moving the stuff twice–once outside for the garage sale, and then again to the dump or donation center. We make regular trips to Goodwill to drop items off, and I get much more money from selling unwanted books to a used book store than I ever would selling them at a garage sale!
    Wendy´s last post…To my dear and patient tomatoes- on the delay of your planting-

  49. Barb_in_GA says:

    I’ve been on the selling end of two garage sales. It took me 20 years to get over the first one, and I got talked into assisting with the second one. Never, never again. Such greedy, grasping, boorish behavior! Ugh. No amount of money is worth it, and the whole experience was about as pleasant as a root canal.

  50. My mom and her friends have held a 1-day sale for years. They potluck, have a great time, and donate anything that doesn’t sell by 4pm (after having a dollar-a-bag sale from 3-4pm). Last year they quit and I keep looking at my growing stack of stuff to get rid of and debating what to do with it. If I can get money for anything, I’d like to. Ideally, I’ll find a few nearby friends and start up our own version of my mom’s sale.
    Amy F´s last post…Rhubarb Extravaganza Gone Awry

  51. i am like you and i always think it would be a good idea to have a garage sale, but i never really make that much money at them. i have had a lot more success with selling things as they come up on craig’s list or even ebay and i make more per item that way too. my sister has been taking used baby clothes to a second-hand baby store in town and been making far more money for the lady only taking a handful of clothes than if she sold all of them at a garage sale. then she donates or repurposes the rest. i am thinking that is what i may start doing with clothing. anyways, i always fall for the annual garage sale thing though i don’t have a ton of big ticket items.
    Charis´s last post…the rooster formally known as susan -or- letting go of false expectations

  52. I too love a good garage sale. I have had successful ones in the past, but mostly they are just fun to do. Oddly, I am posting about this very same topic this week. I am in the precess of getting ready to move and the need to purge some items is eminent, so a post about to garage sale or not is definitely on my mind.
    Julia´s last post…Vintage Back Talk- Jean Jean Vintage

  53. I live in a place where people don’t have garage sales. First of all, we don’t have garages, so I take stuff to Oxfam a couple of times a month. If it’s not good enough for the charity shop, I can usually find someone on freecycle who wants whatever I give away.

    However I would do a garage sale if I could. Before I left America, I held a series of garage sales and went to fleamarkets until I made enough money to live for several months.

  54. Perfect timing to read this post as I am bagging up the good things that are left from our garage sale 2 days ago that was a bust. I thought I would give it a go since we had huge success at our last sale, but from now on I think I will support my favorite local consignment stores ( I can use credit towards used or new merchandise), sell the really nice stuff on our local mom’s yahoo group (if I am sure that it’s worth the effort), and start teaching my kids to let go of things (especially good ones) to share with others who need them so that they do not end up where I am today with too much STUFF!

  55. i am also torn on this. a garage sale always seems like a good idea until you are sitting in the hot sun ALL day on a saturday, selling your stuff for a nickel (or begging people to take it away for free by the end of the day). i like to clean out as i go too. i am perpetually getting rid of “stuff” around our house. i sell things on craigslist, take clothes to places like plato’s closet or consignment stores, or drop things off at the goodwill.
    Jen´s last post…Chrystabel Photography

  56. I always have a bag or two of stuff that is on the way out. Most (ok all) of my kids clothes are used when we get them, and they don’t have a ton of clothes, so by the end of the season, they have seen a better day usually. Big stuff we sell on ebay or craigslist and just have it done with as soon as we are ready to be rid of it. I hate garage sales and have never made enough to make it with the time and effort. The only exception was when we bought our second house it was full of stuff- we sold the big pieces on craigslist and the rest at a garage sale and the rest we hauled to the local thrift store.

  57. I used to have a garage sale almost every year….but yes, it’s alot of work and then someone offers you so little for something priced so low and it used to make me mad…….so I usually donate my things.

  58. I love going to garage sales, but I also resell things at a booth in an antique mall. So anytime I need to get rid of something that has any value (ironically usually things I’ve found at garage sales) I sell them there, non-antiques I sell on CL and everything else little I give to goodwill or to friends who brave the garage-saleing territory!

    p.s. I totally woulda bought that lovely lady for $2 and as a rule I almost never haggle with reasonable prices

  59. I heard about a family who hosts amazing garage sales every year, and people come far and wide to come. They make a lot of money, but not from all of their old stuff (which they purchase throughout the year for the event). No, they make money by selling hot dogs and homemade cookies, etc. People don’t hesitate to spend $2 on a hot dog, but they really have to think twice about spending 25 cents for a hard-bound book. Money is emotional. If I ever do host a garage sale, I will offer tempting refreshments.

  60. The last time I did back-to-back yard sales in the sweltering heat, I took the “leftovers” to a shop that buys your old stuff and resells it at a much higher price. They wrote me a check on the spot for more than I had made in the hours and hours I had spent outside, trying to get people to buy my stuff. Bleh. Kind of disheartening.

    However, I hope others don’t stop yard saling because I love to browse!
    Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…Threeeeeee!

  61. I voted yes, but I’d like to qualify my answer. We are preparing our first yard sale to raise money for endangered animals. My daughters really wanted to figure out a way to raise money and when they heard about the neighborhood yard sale day they wanted to participate. it has been a good opportunity to go through all our stuff and do a big clear out.

    However, all my maternity clothes and baby clothes I have donated. I didn’t want to sell them for a pittance. I wanted to give them to an organization that would give them away free to women who really needed them. Also, lots of the baby stuff I gave away had been given to us as gifts or hand-me-downs. I wanted to honor that spirit of community giving by passing them on.

    I have to say, I’m looking forward to our yard sale this weekend. We will be having an endangered animals theme and will Include a craft sale and a lemonade and cookie stand. It’s a big neighborhood day, so it should be a lot of fun.

    I have been meaning to check craigslist for selling more valuable items that it would be more appropriate and thrifty for our family to sell.

    Otherwise, I’d just give it all away instead of a yard sale.
    Susan@Emperorp´s last post…How Many Kids Does It Take To Fill a Bath

  62. It’s worth it to me. Only price certain items to keep prep time low. Everything at my garage sales are 25 cents unless marked. Also, there’s no point in doing 2-day garage sales in my opinion; people only spend on the first day. We host approximately one garage sale per year and even though I giveaway a lot throughout the year, it has been worth our efforts. Money earned always goes into our vacation fund or to save for furniture purchases.
    Megan @ Faith Like Mustard´s last post…Sunday Smorgasbord Summer Edition!

  63. I usually have a yard sale when I have a lot of stuff that is not worth my time to try to sell on Craigslist. We have had a lot of problems with spam and no-shows, so I usually only list items that are $10 or more. We are having a yardsale next weekend because I have had a terrible time selling my own clothes on Craigslist and we also have a bunch of weird, miscellaneous items (mixer with dough hook, but no beaters, shower curtain, odd toys) that wouldn’t sell on CL (and I don’t do mailing, so no Ebay) but I can get a few bucks for at a yardsale. I would love to just donate the lot, but we could use the extra cash, even if it is only $50!

  64. Chandra says:

    To me its not about the money (although it is nice to get a little chunk at the end of it all). Its kind of become family time for me…

    That and I hate stuff. Yes, a bit of a minimalist here. I do really enjoy having a garage sales other than the pricing stuff part. My mom and I usually have them together at my house’s garage, and we get to spend all morning and afternoon just catching up and enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes my brother joins and sometimes my mom’s boyfriend joins and its just a big gabfest. I also get to see people from around town that I haven’t seen in years or have conversations with people I never would’ve had the opportunity to with otherwise. Like I said, its great to get some money for your old crap, but I like the excuse to have a really lazy social day and just sit back sipping some coffee and playing cards while I am simultaneously earning money AND getting rid of junk. Seriously! I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend a day. Which is why I am really so surprised that so many people have voted ‘no’.

    I say, make it a family event!

  65. Back in the day when my kids were little and my husband & I owned a house our family would have an annual garage sale (some times two) in the late spring/early summer or late summer/early fall to coincide with cleaning out the garage & house.

    I looked at it as a fun way to interact with neighbors — play store — let the kids have a lemonade stand — make fun signs & set up displays — chit chat with family and make some decent cash (not always) while doing it.

    What we didn’t sell we’d place an ad in the newspaper (internet not available) for a large item, and always donate leftovers. Also would put kids clothes in consignment shop. When kids are little more things are generated — without a doubt.

    I haven’t had one in over ten years now, that’s mostly because of living in a townhouse (association doesn’t allow), and kids are grown. However, we’ve sold a few things on ebay and we always donate once a year, but that is getting to be less and less. We simply don’t buy as much stuff now & I decorate eclectically with a mish mash of furniture & objects (Holding on to only things I truly like.)

    I came up with this philosophy due to economic circumstances years ago to make the most of what I have, reuse and use things gently whether I pass them on or keep them myself. Just incorporating the “Less is More” adage in my daily life.

    So I did vote ‘yes’, but these are different times — it comes with a caveat due to more choices today to sell things.

  66. I love having garage sales. My friends and I get together, and do a joint one. That makes it more fun–because we basically hang out together on a Saturday. Plus, our combined stuff makes people more interested in stopping–since we have so much stuff. And at the end of the day, we take everything that didn’t sell to Goodwill. But to me, the best thing is that I get to meet my neighbors. If I didn’t have a garage sale, I wouldn’t meet my neighbors. So, it feels like a small community event. All sorts of people come out to see what we’re selling.

  67. I voted yes, but that’s only a qualified yes. I’ve never found a single family garage sale to be profitable. Neighborhood or street sales do better. Even better for us is to load our crap up into the pickup and haul it to the giant flea market. For a $15 table, I generally manage to get rid of half my stuff, which is a much better percentage than doing it myself at home. It’s not really about the money you make, but making some is better than making none if you’re coming up short and need some extra cash.
    Marie @ Awakeatheart´s last post…Anger

  68. We just had one this past weekend and I just blogged about this very question! Good timing!

    My conclusion was that, yes, for me it was worth it. Not because we made loads of money, but because it was actually fun, and because we had a great time with friends and neighbors.
    Church Mouse´s last post…Tips for Having a Garage Sale

  69. Like you, I have a perpetual giveaway box. I also, declutter periodically and luckily for us, DHL has a tieup with our local charity, so we just call them and they come and pick up the box whenever it’s full. So, yeah, I have never had a garage sale and may I never “need” one. :-)
    Prerna´s last post…30 Fun Craft Sites to Keep Your Toddler and You Busy During the Summer

  70. I sell stuff as I come across it (within reason) or I donate it. I even post to Freecycle and Craigslist so people come and get boxes of stuff FROM me rather than having to load up the car and haul it away. I don’t have enough time or patience or even room to have a garage sale and it’s just not worth it to me.

    I guess if I had larger ticket items and lived in a neighborhood with yards that were prone to garage sales, maybe, but even then…

  71. I just cleaned out and packed my studio to move to our new house. My sister came and helped me and SHE is having a garage sale so I loaded up her van (literally….good thing it was just her in the car) with all the things I don’t want/don’t use/feel guilty about throwing out…and she’s excited to sell them! Gave her a bunch of supplies to take to her elementary school and pass along to the teachers there too.


    I just donate or give away and am glad that someone can use it !!

  72. We participate in one at my older son’s school every year, but we donate all of the money we make to a charity we agree on as a family. This year, all of our proceeds went to earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan. I don’t really like garage sales, and I hate having to store things for the sale throughout the year in our limited storage space, but it’s a good lesson in giving for the boys, so I always do it. And since it’s in the spring every year, it’s a good time to do some spring cleaning and purging anyway. Plus, we don’t have Goodwill and Salvation Army here (we live in Taiwan), so there’s no easy way to get rid of clothes and toys and things our family has outgrown.
    Morgan´s last post…Going to the doctor in Taiwan

  73. I love your idea of a give away box. In fact, I stole your idea of a perpetual give away box. . .ahh, life became just a tad easier.

    Garage sales? Sometimes I like to stop at a garage sale or two, but have one of my own? No thanks!
    Amy Sullivan´s last post…Horse Saddles and Soap

  74. Only once in awhile. I cannot understand having a yearly garage sale. But after our last sale, we were able to buy a new couch!
    *Kate´s last post…this moment

  75. We just made $800 at the yard sale we had this weekend. It was a lot of work, but it was so fun to have people pay me for things I didn’t want any more!
    Katie´s last post…Donation Link

  76. Our church has an email system called “eboard” where you can offer up items (or ask for a specific item you might be looking for at a garage sale) for sale or for free. The blessing of this has been we’ve gotten so many things we needed for having 2 babies close together and suddenly needing things like a second crib. Once we’re done with all the baby items (the bigger items that would make for an awesome sale), I really feel we should pay it forward and offer it to others who need it. Though there are times when I think “We could make SO MUCH!”.

  77. christy says:

    it’s worth it for entertainment value alone!

  78. We just had a yard sale two weeks ago. Our first. Our last. Our family is gearing up for a move to Spain this summer and while it was good to make about $300 on stuff we would have donated, we ended up donating plenty. It was maddening work and really not worth the effort. It was so satisfying to pack all the leftovers into the car and take them to our local charity shop!
    Betsy C.´s last post…Memorial Day Through A Military Child’s Eyes

  79. It’s mostly not worth it BUT if you have multiple large things for posting to Craigslist, it can help get them all picked up at once, without all the hassle of emails and no-shows. Last tag sale, I posted it to Craigslist and detailed the big stuff (some free stuff too) so that helped.
    My latest quandary is the most lucrative ( yet hassle free) way to unload books. Ebay seems like a pain, the local consign only takes the last two yrs pub dates, and I fig I can only get a nuck or two on Craigslist or tag sales. Any thoughts?
    Kelly´s last post…Link for videos

  80. I had to vote “no” on this– but I must say I’m sure glad that SOME people think it’s worth it! I do love me a good garage sale. I have found some wonderful treasures over the years! My dad has some pretty great garage sales, too. He picks stuff up off the side of the road a lot (can’t pass a trash pile without poking around) and one time he waited until he had a garage-full of stuff and had a sale– and make over $1K! not too shabby.
    sk´s last post…Memorial Day weekend 2011

  81. Alexandria says:

    I’ve never identified with the garage sale mentality. We wouldn’t have enough *junk* to make a garage sale – and we live in a large home.

    This may be more true with the advent of Craigslist, ebay, etc. Valuable items (most baby items, for example) we sell when we are done with. The crap and large things are freecycled, when we are done with them. The worthless stuff that is nice enough to donate, I leave on the curb every other week or so. (We have charities come through quite often for curb pick up). I only bother to sell things I can get $10+ for, for the most part. We purge the kids toys/clothes every 6 months or so. They go through much more *stuff.* we don’t have near the stuff, but I try to consciously removed things we aren’t using. A lot of the times being gifts, etc.

  82. Over the past five years, I have given away boxes and boxes of stuff – and even a couch I tried to sell but couldn’t. I probably had enough for a garage sale, but to me it is so much easier and faster to donate it. I take as much as possible to the Salvation Army. That way, my “stuff” helps a charity whose cause is one I believe in. The satisfaction that comes from helping a cause I believe in is a lot better than whatever small amount I make from a garage sale.

  83. I’ve tried a few sales, but have never made enough to warrant the time it took to prepare and then feeling worn out so I wanted to go out for dinner. We Craigslist items of higher value and give the rest to Goodwill or our church. Twice a year our church takes donations for an “exchange” and the following day anyone can come and take whatever they need or want, free. It is a great ministry.

    That being said, if we were moving across the country, I could see having one to help pay for the move and make the move easier. Somehow when I consider a garage sale I’m willing to part with more than if I am simply donating, likely because I’m being more proactive in the purging.
    Rachel´s last post…Menu Monday – Putting Food on the Table

  84. A garage sale is only worth it if it’s a neighborhood effort. Last summer two women on our block organized one — contacted all the neighbors, made flyers, placed ads, etc.

    Naturally we all bought from each other. I don’t think many people made much money, but it was like a block party.

    The ‘value’ was social rather than monetary.

  85. I love having garage sales. Getting rid of stuff is so therapeutic. But, so is going to garage sales. It’s a catch-22!

    Jenna´s last post…Mikes ManCraft

  86. I NEVER do garage sales- too frustrating when people what to buy a new janie and jack outfit for less than a dollar.

    So- old stuff goes to Goodwill and better stuff is saved for church rummage sales (because they have storage, building up the inventory for the year)

    I could see where an estate sale would be ‘worth’ the time- but then, I would have friends help so I wouldn’t have to be emotionally involved with people trying to get a good deal.

  87. You forgot to put the option of “Sigh…I don’t knooooowwwwww” on your poll! :)

  88. I voted no, but i have a couple of disclaimers to make:
    Last summer, I dragged some stuff to my husband’s grandma’s house to sell in my mother-in-law’s garage sale. The amount of time I spent price tagging items to sell and helping her set up probably wasn’t worth the money I made, but spending time with my mother-in-law was well worth the hassle.

    Also, I love the semi-annual consignment sales for children’s items (our city does JBF). My boys are still to little for me to have much to get rid of, so I’m still just shopping the sales, but once I’m out of the baby stage, I”m hoping to sell stuff there. I have several friends who have had great success with it.
    Amy´s last post…Im not giving up on farmers markets

  89. Never worth it to me. The amount of things that we donate is crazy! Knowing that we are giving away things that others in need will be using is one reason as well as the write off’s make it all worth it, too.
    Beth Young´s last post…Letting go of perfectionism-ish and just doing

  90. Jessica says:

    One year we had a co-garage sale with our neighbors. Their stuff was apparently much more appealing as we made a measly thirty five dollars. One of the people involved made 300. However, two years later prior to a move we paid for our rental truck with what we made in the garage sale which was close to 500 dollars. The thing that made the difference was having baby stuff in good condition, it’s always a draw! My favorite part was always the time we spent hanging out with friends, however. We make an event of it grilling out while we sell and having baked goods and water to sell as well. Thankfully after the last sale we no longer have sufficient “junk” and I hope to keep it that way. I’ll never waste time packing and moving items I don’t use again!

  91. candice says:

    I dont like to have them but LOVE going to them : )

  92. I’ve had a couple really good garage sales, where I have made a couple hundred bucks. But when all was said and done, I would have been better off giving it to Good-Will and getting the tax recipe. That’s what we do know. If it’s something expensiveish, I try to sell at a consignment shop, used sale shop that will buy my stuff and pay me in store credits or cash.
    Anita´s last post…Memorial Day

  93. Melanie says:

    We have a rule that once it hits the driveway for a garage sale, it doesn’t come back in the house. When our day is done, we bag up everything and take it to a local flea market. There is always someone who will take your stuff. We don’t make a lot of $ but our home is less cluttered and that brings relief!

  94. Rebecca says:

    Hi – Could you do a blog about Father’s Day Gift ideas. The more creative the better!

  95. At this point in my life, time is a more precious commodity to me than the amount of money that I would likely make on a garage sale. I don’t mean that to sound obnoxious – I know that for some people the money would be a real incentive, and that’s great…for them. For me, I need to just pack stuff up for Goodwill, or even leave it in our so-called “alley trading post” and move on with my life. The satisfying feeling of getting it out of my own house is reward enough, and then I’ve saved myself all of the extra time and organization that would’ve gone into having a garage sale. I may also be affected by the fact that I’m living in a condo, without a real garage or yard, so coordinating having a garage sale would mean using the sidewalk or similar — a little more of a logistical problem than others might have.

  96. I’m tempted to say yes–we raked in several hundred dollars from both of our garage sales. (We’ve only ever held two!) But it was an enormous drain on my husband. He didn’t spend a lot of time on it, but the upheaval in the house for the week prior was really hard on him.

    I don’t think we’ll be doing it again any time soon. And that’s okay with me.
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s last post…How to Encourage the Man in Your Life- Ignite His Adventurous Spirit

  97. It has usually been worth it for us-we have made between $300 and $600 and our neighbors usually made $100 or so. We have the same once it is out it doesn’t come back in rule. What has worked GREAT for us is Freecycle. I post an ad saying everything in the driveway is free come and get it and it is all gone in 24 hours or less without me having to repack it, load it, and cart it off anywhere. God bless the people who want my clutter!

  98. Jennifer Spadaro says:

    I just had a garage sale last saturday I made $297 in 4.5 hours. Big items I try to sell on craigslist bc you can make a lot more than at garage sales, clothes I always donate. But all the little stuff is perfect for the garage sale. Its totally worth it. I still have lots left over, so I plan to go through the rest of my attic and do it one more day this summer. And my 6 year old neice had a lemonade stand which she loved. And some nice guy gave her $10 because he had just graduated college. It just feels like summer.

  99. We live locally to a booming consignment shop chain, and we opened an account as we are cleaning out to move. It’s been great- a little extra cash from things that we don’t want that are still in good shape, without the hassle of a garage sale. What they don’t accept goes straight to Goodwill. But no, I don’t think it would be worth it to me to have a garage sale.

  100. I personally had a sale a few years ago specifically to sell a set of white appliances and trying to clear out other stuff too. By 11 am, I had made about $30. I jumped on craiglist and posted the appliances and a piano. I had sold all 4 pieces by the end of the weekend via Craigslist! I also go to Craigslist to sell or to Goodwill to donate!
    I want to second the very 1st comment. I do not want my kids to have to go through my stuff for weeks and months. I refuse to be that person!
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…Life- one step at a time…

  101. It’s not worth it for me, because I find the stress of dealing with the people all day too wearing on me to be worth it for a couple hundred bucks at most. The only year I did a sale that was worth it was the year I helped my mom clear out some of her books, and we advertised it specifically as a “former homeschool family sale – lots of books”. Otherwise, if it’s just general household stuff, I don’t feel any motivation to go through all that.

  102. I agree with what you said – its worth it if you have enough things to make some decent cash. It also might be worth it depending on how badly you need some extra cash. Maybe you only make 50 bucks, but hey if thats exactly the amount you needed and thats the only way you could get it, then I’d say its worth it as well.
    Kassie´s last post…Inspiration Workshop week 1

  103. Heather D says:

    Our community has one every year. When all the neighbors are out doing it, it just makes sense to join the fun. It is nice to sit and visit with everyone. Plus my mother sells stuff (fun costumy jewels) on ebay and it is a great chance for her to set up a tent and sell her jewels in the front yard. We always let all her customers know also so they can meet her. Between mom and I, we made over $700 last time and visited with all neighbors. Totally worth it. In fact, I did not want to close down at 1, so sat out there for a few hours just enjoying the nice day. It was April…not June though! My brother’s neighborhood does an evening garage sale in the summer, 5-7. totally awesome, cool, nice and don’t have to deal with the 7 am early birds either. Love it!

  104. I have never made money when I tried to sell things at garage sales (I don’t have great luck selling through craigslist either – ebay and etsy work much better for me). I don’t even really stop at garage sales anymore – I just go to a thrift store if I need something. The chances of me finding something that I really need/on my list at a garage sale, in the price, color, size, etc. that I need are SO SLIM that it’s not worth my time. I’d rather look on ebay for the precise size etc. and see if it’s the right price. Less neighborly, though. . . hmmm. I like neighborhoods. I like neighbors. Maybe I should view garage sales as social occasions. . .
    Margo´s last post…Smoke- A Theme

  105. I actually had two yard sales last summer and earned enough to buy a new vacuum cleaner. Having a goal for my earnings made it worth it. We really needed a vacuum and had no other money. However I am not motivated to do a sale this year so I will just donate.

  106. Somehow here in the Netherlands people don’t do garage sales or yard sales, so nobody would show up since they wouldn’t even recognize it lol. If I lived in the States though, I’m not sure if I would like it. I wouldn’t like all the hassle, I guess I’d rather bring my stuff to some charity thing. But if I could make a lot of money with it, I might give it a try.
    Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady´s last post…Most Popular Posts of May 2011

  107. We’ve never made much money on garage sales, so I can’t justify the amount of work that goes into having one. That said, we had a “last minute” garage sale a couple months after we moved and while we didn’t make a lot of money, it gave all the neighbors an excuse to stop by and meet us since we were sitting out there with all our junk! If we ever move again, we’ll probably do the same thing again!

  108. Kaycee Fisher says:

    No, I’d rather take the smaller tax write off in exchange for having to do very little if any actual work.

  109. Kaycee Fisher says:

    And I would have paid $2 to buy that lamp! :)

  110. A weeks work of sorting, working and weeding- worth it.
    Five hours of sitting, having people haggle over kids clothes (the really, really nice ones, not the t-shirts) down from the ONE DOLLAR set price for everything and wasting a Saturday away from my family. Not worth it. We made 300 and I lost a sunny morning of playing.

    I buy a lot of stuff from the local thrift shop and will be donating it all back again instead of wasting my Saturday.

  111. I keep a giveaway box in the basement and, when it’s full, we take it to one of the Goodwill-type stores in town. I swore off garage sales a few years ago. My SIL loved to have them so I would save my stuff all year and then haul it over and accept whatever anyone offered me. I’d be lucky to make $50 while she always made several hundred dollars. Finally I realized that she only made that much because she spent 5-10 times that much money collecting the stuff in the first place, only to be tired of it a year or two later. I don’t buy enough new stuff to be able to get rid of enough old stuff to make money, and I’m perfectly happy with that!

  112. This post makes me laugh! I just wrote my own blog post about everything I made out with on my garage sale run! I’ve normally netted $300-400 per sale which is quite good but that is only b/c we had big ticket items. I would say it isn’t worth it otherwise. I have no place to store for a garage sale so it’s just better to drop at the goodwill and be done with it.
    Amy @ simply necessary´s last post…Garage Sale Blessings

  113. A garage sale isn’t worth it to me. I helped at one my mom had years and years ago. Hated every minute of it.

    My mother-in-law has had a garage sale every year. I give her stuff to sell and she gives me a percentage of what it brings in. I make $30 this year. I like doing it this way. I have none of the headache in exchange for my mother-in-law getting some of the profit from my junk. GOOD DEAL!