Why You Should NOT Have a Garage Sale

Many times when decluttering a home, it’s easy to think “I need to store this in the garage and have a garage sale in a couple months.”

Sure, it’s a tempting thought.

But let me give you some reasons why you shouldn’t: 

1. Having a garage sale means all the clutter you’ve been working to get rid of, isn’t actually gone. It’s stored. Which means it can still make you feel guilty: guilty for still having it. Guilty for not having a garage sale yet. Guilty for taking up so much space, still.

2. The amount of time and energy put into having a garage sale could be spent accomplishing more: spending quality time with loved ones, or even clearing out more areas of your home.

3. Garage sales take more work than they pay. Take a look at the last time I had a garage sale: 

Working on the garage sale:

  1. Declutter ~the only thing I actually needed to do~
  2. Take boxes to garage.
  3. Advertise for the sale.
  4. Make signs.
  5. Get change from bank.
  6. Set up tables/canopies
  7. Organize/set everything up.
  8. Price everything.
  9. Work the sale.
  10. Pack everything up/donate leftovers.

Time spent: 3 full days, approximately 24 hours. (And no, I didn’t count the hours decluttering!) 

Money made: $120.00
My income: $5.00/hour

By the end of the day I was so exhausted we ordered pizza.

So, is $5/hour followed by a crappy dinner. Worth it? For the majority of us, no. It’s not.

You’ve already worked through all the emotions of letting things go. Why put yourself through emotionally going through it again when you set the sale up? And again when someone buys the item? Or when no one buys it and you have box it up for donation?

That’s dealing with decluttering stress 3 times more than necessary.

Instead, just let it go. Let it go the first time. Make a practice of taking your decluttered items directly to the car and dropping them off at a donation site next time you are running errands.

Side note:
The only time I recommend having a garage sale is if you are following a debt snowball plan and are working intensely to pay down some debt.

What do you think? Do you feel garage sales are worth the effort? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Photo credit goes to Luke Jones/Accretion Disc

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


  1. says

    All of these reasons seem to only apply to lazy people. No offence. There are plenty of reasons why garage sales are so worth having. I will give you one big one. It is an excellent opporrunitg to network, socialise, and get to lnow your neighbours and members of your community. Stop being lazy and unorganized.

    • says

      Perhaps Ryan, you haven’t been around people who have a house full of stuff and are paralyzed when they think about the work it will take to get rid of it.
      Most of it does have value, often antiques or vintage items. But because they know it has value, they just set it aside to sell, but are too busy to put time into selling the items.
      Often, too busy trying to organize it so they can live in their space.
      Sadly, all the “valuable” items will be there crowding them out of their home for the rest of their lives and then their children will have to face the immense job of getting rid of it.

      These “valuable” items will have stolen most of their parent’s time away.

      There is no monetary value worth that.

      When someone has that much stuff, having a garage sale will only hinder them getting rid of anything.

  2. Anonymous says

    I agree with this article. Not because I’m lazy. I’m the kind of person who would actually enjoy the work and organization that comes with a garage sale. But I’m also a minimalist and when something stops being wanted in my home, it’s gone. So much less stressful that way.

  3. Anonymous says

    all of the above and if you don’t end up selling everything, you still have crap left over to get rid of anyways.

  4. says

    Yes, when you have a lot of stuff. Like when you are moving. Lots of kids clothes will pull in a lot of money too. I price mine to sell. The last thing I want to do is move it. If you dont have enough stuff then no, I dont think it is worth it.

  5. says

    I used to save stuff for garage sales and then never ended up having garage sales. We ended up doing something even weirder: a local church would rent parking spaces once a month for a big community garage sale for $5 a piece. We did that for 4 months, hauling stuff back and forth with very little to show for it. I finally decided that I’ll take some plum pieces and put them on ebay or craigslist and the rest gets donated or thrown out. It makes more money and more sense.

  6. Anonymous says

    While the idea of a garage sale is nice, I agree that it usually isn’t worth the effort – and I DON’T agree about having one to help with a debt snowball; unless you are getting rid of really nice stuff and live in a nice area, you won’t make enough to be worth it.
    I agree with other posters: put nice stuff on Craigslist, eBay, etc and toss/ donate the rest. While donating is a nice idea, often it isn’t worth the hassle of separating which items can be donated to which place and getting them there while the places are open – to me, its usually easier to toss it once I’ve decided to get rid of it.

  7. says

    I mostly agree…unless you have children. We had our first garage sale last summer, and our kids loved it. It was a great way to get them to purge stuff while learning about sales/marketing/finances. It also provided a way to interact with a diversity of people, as well as meet others in our neighborhood. We ended up giving stuff away to some very low income families who came, so it was a good opportunity to practice compassion and giving. We had a refreshment stand, so that brought in a cooking and serving angle – baking cookies, making Italian sodas (which required taking customers’ orders).

  8. Ashley says

    I disagree. Last year I made $1300 in about a week and a half selling clothes, home decor and small appliances between garage sale and resale places. I did this all by being a bit strategic after spring cleaning. We have been minimizing for about two years.. So we had stuff that needed to go. After we put the junk on the burm for city recycling/pick up – I used the rest of my evening collecting and organizing everything I would sell furniture/appliance wise in a few hours. I have two growing kids so every few months as I wash clothes, I sort stained to small clothes out of the non stained clothes and donate the stained, keep the non- stained to small. They are clean, folded, sorted. I do the same with my husband/my clothes. After spring cleaning (usually May) I wait for the first forecasted nice weekend to schedule my sale. In the week leading up I drop the kids clothes off at a resale place, our clothes off at another resale place. They sort, fold and buy what they need. This is where I made a good portion of my money. They call when it’s ready, I picked it up right from them on the day of my sale and put it right out on tables. I priced as I went. Really simple either 50 cents or a dollar on most things. Priced accordingly on small appliances/furniture. No 75 cents, no quarters. Keep the math simple. I sold a lot of appliances/furniture and made another large portion of my money in those sales. We sold for all Saturday and Sunday morning. After the church crowds (my house is within a block of two churches) and lunch – we wrapped up and anything unsold went right to Easter Seals Good Will. Now this type of income is not to be expected but the year before when I only sold baby/kids clothes I made $300 – and I used only the same effort I would for spring cleaning/laundry folding and sorting up till the week of. This year I will do it again. I have substantially less to sell do to our process of minimizing but I still have plenty of kids clothes from my kids that don’t stop growing. Having a good plan and keeping it simple – makes it doable. And I agree I loved chatting w my neighbors and the little old ladies. Maybe as years pass it won’t seem worth the effort – but while we still have things to get rid of, I’ll continue on.

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