Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori – How to make Money at your garage sale

Dr. Lori Verderame

By Dr. Lori Verderame

Here are my tips on how to  make money at your garage sale. Are you considering taking all that old junk out of the basement or attic and selling it to buyers on your front lawn or out of your garage? Here are only some, emphasis on some, of my tips for making the most of your garage sale. When people are hosting a garage sale, they realize quickly that not only can the stuff become overwhelming but the actual sale can be a big chore too. Remember, whenever you are inviting people to your home for any reason, you have to do some work in preparation for the crowd.

Before you serve the first shopper, be sure you know what you are willing to part with and what it is worth. Get your friends and family to help you with brains and brawn, too. You’ll need help moving objects, particularly furniture and heavy boxes.


Get help!

Make sure you have helpers and give your helpers specific jobs during the sale. Someone needs to be sure no one goes inside your house, someone needs to make change and man or woman the cash box, someone needs to answer buyers’ questions. The most important job is watching the buyers. Why do you need to watch the buyers? Because people at yard sale may be tempted to just walk away you’re your stuff. Be sure that people aren’t just helping themselves to your stuff.

Don’t sell items in bulk

Try to avoid selling your stuff at your yard sale in bulk for one low price. Sure, you’ll get rid of a ton of items that way and most importantly, you’ll lose your shirt that way too. If you put a bunch of random stuff in a box and just put an arbitrary price on the box, it will save you time sorting through items but more often than not, valuable items show up in those boxes. So, don’t be lazy. Review all the items and price them individually.

Certain items don’t belong!

There are some items that shouldn’t be sold at the yard sale or garage sale. Furniture, jewelry, and art are big ticket items and typically don’t command what they are worth when sold at a yard sale. So, don’t sell these types of items at a yard sale. Art work regularly brings a big return on investment and will increase in value over time, so don’t decide to sell that portrait painting or landscape lithograph at the yard sale. Jewelry, both fine pieces with gemstones, pearls, precious metals should never be sold at yard sales as you’ll lose their design and monetary value. Costume jewelry is one of the most overlooked valuables at yard sales. Don’t put grandma’s faux jewelry out at the sale either as these pieces sell much better at online platforms like ebay, poshmark, etsy, or rubylane.

Don’t listen to your neighbor when pricing items

There are many people who like to act as if they know the market for art, antiques and collectibles. Well meaning friends and neighbors are notorious for pricing your stuff too low. If you want to know the real value for something, check with me. I review photos from objects on my website so you’ll know the value before you tag it and place it on a table on the front lawn. Follow my tips if you want to make money at your yard sale.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning media personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide, appears on History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Pawn Stars do America. Visit, watch her Real Bargains show to find valuables at bargain prices on or call (888) 431-1010.

Images: Photo credit: Staff of