Garage Sales from a Collector’s Perspective

The Ridgeview Ranch Community Garage Sale is set for this Saturday, April 13 from 8am to 2pm.  To help residents make the most of their sales, I asked Kate Kirby with The Rare Collections, to write a guest blog for our website.  Enjoy!


Attracting Collectors to your Garage Sale can be Profitable

Sifting through other people’s discarded items is a daily activity for most collectors. It becomes a treasure hunt to find that missing piece to their collection. If you take the time to market to collectors, you might just find you’ll make more money for your items while bringing a collector the ultimate joy of completing their search.

When I was a kid, families in our neighborhood hosted lots of garage sales. Every weekend, there was someone selling something out of their garage or yard. Adults found furniture, tools, and household items at reasonable prices and the kids traded toys and trinkets. We tagged each item with a price and emptied the junk drawer into a shoebox labeled $.01. It was almost like a mini retail store.

These days neighborhoods are more organized hosting sales on the same days to attract more buyers and limit the number of “guests” in the neighborhood each weekend.  They put out signs and place ads on behalf of everyone who is selling at the neighborhood event. But just because your neighborhood is advertising the sale doesn’t mean you can’t market your items and bring specific people to the event to buy your treasures. There are two types of Craigslist ads you can place to attract collectors, and I recommend doing both. 

First, a laundry list of items that will be for sale in the “garage sale” section is a good idea. Remember, your neighborhood is also advertising the sale, so no need to put your address. The cross streets and telling folks to “look for the signs” is good enough. 

Secondly, individual ads for select items in the appropriate category can bring specific people to your sale. For example, if you have a guitar, place an ad in the musical instruments section. Place an ad for children’s clothing in that section, furniture in the furniture section and so on. Use photos and let people know you have lots of other items available at the garage sale. You can also let people call or text you and then you can personally invite them to the sale giving your specific address if you are comfortable after talking.

Don’t spend time tagging each item. Collectors don’t mind asking for prices and they love to haggle, so plan for it. You can even let them offer a price and if it’s acceptable, take it. Let the market dictate the value, unless you want a specific amount for something. If you spend your time placing ads on Craigslist and Facebook, it can be more effective in the long run.

Organize your merchandise for your ease and the ease of the shopper. Don’t make it look too nice or retail-like. Collectors like to dig for treasure. Just put like items together so you can sell more easily. Clothing with clothing, glassware on a table with other glassware, lawn stuff together…you get the picture.

Food keeps people happy and shopping. Coffee or sodas can keep people happy and a tip jar will get you a few dollars by the end of the day. Let the bigger kids have a bake sale or lemonade stand at the same time. It’s fun for them and keeps them occupied. You might make more in baked goods than the merchandise. Above all, have fun and enjoy the day with friends family.

For more information on antiques, art and collectibles, please join me at

Good luck,
Kate Kirby, The Rare Collections