When Is the Best Time for a Garage Sale?

Maximize the number of visits your garage sale gets with these tips.

It’s garage sale season! Or is it? Many people want to sell their gently-used items, but don’t know when the ideal time is to host a yard or garage sale to unload them. Although you may hear a chorus of voices that tell you to host it on any given Saturday in the spring, there are several factors that go into garage sale success, and we’ve got the scoop on what might be right for you.

Select the Right Time of Year

Bargain-hunters are always looking for yard sales to peruse, but the time of year that you hold yours is partially dependent on where you live. Although the general rule of thumb is that you get the best traction in the spring, that probably won’t hold true if you live at the beach. Shore-based yard sales will always perform better in the summertime, when the maximum number of people are in town and walking past your yard.

In addition, if you’re in a college town, it’s a good time to check out garage sales in the spring, when students are unloading the gear they don’t want to haul back home at bargain-basement prices. But in terms of holding a yard sale, you’re better off waiting for a few months. After you pick up used dorm refrigerators, microwaves, bikes, graphing calculators and other student-friendly items in May, you’ll want to put them up for sale in August, when students are moving into the dorms and looking for good prices on these items.

If you live in the Northern US, where temperatures dip into the below-zero category every winter, you’ll definitely want to hold back on hosting a garage sale until people are more likely to leave their houses – meaning late spring through early fall. However, Southern yard sales do well in the winter as well – and may see particularly robust periods between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when an “almost new” punching bag or set of barstools could be just what a holiday shopper is seeking for his or her loved ones.

And although many people will say you don’t want to hold a yard sale when a lot of other garage sale events are taking place in town (using the mindset that competition is bad), that’s not totally true in this category. If a lot of garage sales are taking place in your area, that means bargain-hunters are already out perusing the inventory, so stopping at your house along their routes will be almost guaranteed. There’s positivity in numbers when it comes to garage sales, so keep an eye on Craigslist or local yard signs to find out when most people near you are hosting their yard sales, and consider getting your merchandise ready to sell around the same time.

Choose the Right Day of the Week

The weekend is almost always the best time to sell your items because people have the day off from work and have the free time to browse from one garage sale to the next. Most yard sellers are accustomed to getting out on Saturday mornings to check out the local items for sale, so Saturday is a great time to host a yard sale. However, if you don’t sell everything on Saturday, it can be smart to put your remaining items back out on Sunday. Church-goers and other people running errands on Sundays are more willing to pass your garage and take a peek at what you’re selling if they’re already out and about. It’s a good idea to put signs out on the routes you know people will drive (for instance, if you live down the street from a church, put signs out along the main road so the drivers see them on their way to and from services).

Some yard sellers also see success on holidays like Black Friday, Memorial Day or Labor Day, since shoppers are off work and have time to browse. However, if the weather is particularly hot (as it often is on July fourth) or cold (like New Year’s Day), you probably won’t get as much traffic.

Pinpoint the Ideal Start and Stop Times

Veteran yard sale shoppers like to start and end their shopping early, so the sooner you start your garage sale, the better the chances of maximizing traffic to it. Most yard sales start at 7:00 a.m., so if you want to capture the attention of early birds, you may want to list yours as starting at 6:30 a.m. instead so you can be the first on the route. It’s a good idea to stay open for at least four hours. In some cases, an early bird will stop by to see what you have, and after visiting other garage sales, may loop back to you because they couldn’t find anything as unique as what you were selling. So ensuring that you’re open for a few hours is key to selling the most merchandise.