Host a Safe and Successful Garage Sale

Cleaning over the winter and spring seasons often leads to the discovery of old or unused items – clothing that is outgrown, kids toys that are no longer played with, excess home décor, outdoor and sports equipment, furniture, etc.  A garage sale is a great way to declutter your home and pass your possessions along to someone else who can use them, all while bringing in extra cash. If you’re hosting a garage sale, here are some tips to keep your home and shoppers safe.  

6 Tips for a Safe Yard Sale 

  1. Protect your home 
    • Hang up sheets or tarps over your garage shelving so shoppers can’t see your belongings that aren’t for sale. This eliminates wandering eyes and could prevent future break-ins or theft.  
    • If you have valuables, remove them from the garage completely.  
    • Set up tables in the driveway or an open area instead of inside the garage.  
  1. Lock the doors that lead inside your house from the garage. Direct shoppers to a nearby gas station or public restroom if necessary and don’t let strangers in your home.  
  1. Don’t leave the sale unattended. If you need to step away, ask a trusted family member or friend to watch over the sale.  
  1. Keep the money safe and always supervised. Garage sales often bring in a lot of cash. The safest place for the money is as close to you as possible. This could be in a fanny pack or wearable belt. This allows you to walk around the sale and not be tied to keeping eyes on the money box at the table. If your sale is successful, consider periodically moving large sums of cash to a safe place in your home and only keep a small amount on you to make change.  
  1. Offer different payment options. If you’re tech savvy, consider alternative payment options that are cash-less such as the payment app, Venmo, or a square for cards. This is not only convenient for your shoppers but also eliminates handling extra cash for you.
  1. Display items in a thoughtful way. Be careful how you organize and display your goods to keep safety in mind.  
    • Use tables, blankets, tarps, or storage containers to create stable surfaces.  
    • Don’t pile items on top of each other that could tip over.  
    • Make sure breakable items are on a safe surface. 
    • Keep walkways clear to avoid trips and falls  

Sell or Donate 

Chances are, you don’t want to bring these items back in your home after the sale. After all, the purpose is to declutter. Think about what you want to do with leftover items. If you have items of value left, consider posting them for sale online to keep the cash coming in. Alternatively, look into local donation centers or charities where you can drop off smaller items.  

Before your garage sale, talk with your local Rural Mutual agent to make sure you and your home are properly protected.