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What to do near the end and after your garage sale

An easy way to mark-down prices

50% Off

Near the end of your sale, rather than marking down all your remaining items individually, place a large "50% OFF" sign up at the front entrance.
(For those not mathematically inclined this means everything is now half price.) You could make it "25% OFF" but you will need a calculator to work that out.

Ring anyone who wanted to be called if an item was still available

If you have items left that people were interested in and who left their number to be contacted, ring them now to see if they are still interested. Refer to Best tips for personal safety for more information on what to be aware of when arranging times for people to come around.

Expect a last minute mini-rush

There are people who deliberately come at the last half hour of your sale or even after your advertised finish time to pick over what's left. They are looking for and expecting rock-bottom prices. They know that you're desperate to sell what's left and know that you've lost your bargaining power. You need to decide what items you are prepared to "give away" and what items you would much rather give to a charity.

Clear the tables the easy way

Offer a set price for everything they can fit in one plastic shopping bag. I am always amazed at what people will snap up when I offer this. Make sure the shopping bags are the strong type because they will try to squeeze in everything they can. Also make sure you have removed any high-priced items you don't want to "give away".

A variation on this is to have a table or two designated as the "all you can eat" tables. If you plan to offer this, make sure you include it in your ads and flyers.

How to prevent late-comers

If you don't want to be bothered by any late-comers after you have closed your garage sale, take down any front yard decorations and close the garage door. Some will still knock on your door asking to see what's left. You need to decide if it's worth the effort to let them pick through what you've carefully packed up. If you don't want to be bothered, politely tell them that it has all been sold.

Take down your signs and flyers

At the end of your sale, get out your map of sign placements and go around and collect ALL your signs and your flyers. And don't forget to update your online advertisements too.

Pack up

Remove the price tags and carefully pack the remaining items into labeled boxes (eg kitchenware, toys, children's clothes, electronics, etc). Decide what you want to keep for your next garage sale, what should be thrown out and what can be sent to a charity. See Best donating tips.

What to do with the leftovers?

Don't take anything back inside until you have made a firm decision on what is to happen with the leftovers. Some options are:

  • If it was a group sale, do the other group/s want their items back?
  • Hold a second-chance or end-of-season garage sale.
  • Combine with a family member's, friend's or neighbor's upcoming garage sale.
  • Donate to a charity. See Best donating tips.
  • Give it away. Post an ad in the local Freecycle ( or in your local classifieds paper that everything left is free. Include in your ad "Please don't email me asking if the items are still available. I will remove the ad when the items are gone."
  • Dispose of any hazardous materials correctly and legally. Examples of these could be paints, batteries, electronics and pesticides.
  • Trash it.

Divide up your profits

Photo by: Marcus Metropolis

To calculate how much you made, count your takings and deduct your costs (eg advertising, signs, etc) and you initial change. What's left is your profit. If you had a group sale then distribute the money for their items that were sold.

Review the whole process

Think back to 3 or more weeks ago when you started right through to today and make a list of what you will do, or not do, next time – there will always be a next time.

Reclaim your garage

Take the opportunity of a cleaned garage to see how you can organize it for better storage. Do you need extra shelves, cupboards, storage containers, wall hooks, etc.

Reclaim your budget

It's often a wake-up when you see the things you had bought and how little they are now worth. Hopefully the extra money you made has helped get some some bills out of the way. Now is a good time to also review your budget and what you spend your money on.


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