7 Ways to Pay Off Debt with a Garage Sale
Kat Sanford | October 5, 2022
In today’s post we are talking about how you can pay off debt by having a garage sale without stress and overwhelm and have money in your pocket to pay off or pay down debt.
Recently, my husband and I hosted a garage sale. We sold over $1,000 in clothes, home decor, tools, car accessories, sports gear and furniture and paid off a credit card. Not bad for a 4 hour garage sale! Here are the 7 things that we did that you can too:
#1 - GET YOURSELF IN THE RIGHT MINDSET
Does the idea of decluttering and prepping for a garage sale stress you out? You are not alone. In the past I told myself “I hate having garage sales!” and would donate things or take them to a local consignment store. Yes, I would rather give away something I paid good money for or take a smaller percentage of a sale so that I didn’t have to deal with the planning and managing of a garage sale.
What I found was that by giving myself the time to declutter and prepare in ways that supported my feelings and goals I was actually excited about the sale instead of overwhelmed.
If you are focusing on using a garage sale to pay off debt, spend some time deciding what debt you want to pay off and ask yourself "why is this important?" so that you have a goal to focus on during the times the decluttering and preparing feels overwhelming.
#2 - GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO LET GO
Many of the items we sold were in great condition. Some items were new and still in the box. Some were gifts, some were impulse purchases and some were gently used items. Some items were even things we had inherited from family members (don’t worry Mom, no family heirlooms were sold). All great stuff that would have been easy to keep.
However, the thing all these items had in common is that they were taking up space in our home and garage and creating physical and mental clutter.
Will you sell some things that you might want to use later? Sure. Will it be hard to let go of some items? Yes! Even if you are not a hoarder or don’t have extreme clutter, becoming attached to an item is normal. If you struggle here remember that you are creating an opportunity to recycle your household goods for someone else’s benefit and you are making money.
#3 - PLAN FOR THE SALE
DAY OF THE WEEK: We only hosted our garage sale on Saturday. However, we learned from our garage sale expert/friends that if you start during the week you will capture shoppers that are driving to work or driving kids to school and you will have less competition.
START + END TIME: When we opened the garage door at 7 am to set things out on the driveway we had a couple waiting to shop and they kicked off our sales with a $100 purchase. We officially ran the sale from 8 am - 2 pm.
TIME OF THE MONTH: Near the first of the month is the best time because shoppers get paid then and have discretionary income to spend.
COMPLIMENTARY EVENTS: Look for nearby community events (fun run, farmer’s market, etc.) where you can promote or place your directional signs nearby.
Give yourself plenty of time to plan and prepare. We decide our date 30 days in advance.
#4 - PREP FOR THE SALE
DECLUTTERING: Go through each room in your house with an empty box and start gathering items that you no longer use or are creating clutter. As soon as a box is full, move it to the garage. If possible, group your boxes by categories so that set up is easier.
SETTING UP THE SPACE: Group items by categories like home decor, clothing, toys, furniture, tools, etc. together on tables. Use signs on tables or hanging signs to designate the areas. Make it easy for shoppers to see items by using risers or spreading items out on a table or blanket. Hang better quality clothes on hangers and use a basket for gently worn items like t-shirts.
#5 - PROMOTE YOUR SALE
Start promoting your garage sale at least a week in advance. Create a social media campaign and place directional signs around your area the day before the sale. Post on local community/neighborhood apps and garage sale sites like postmygargagesale.com and www.garagesalefinder.com.
#6- PRICING + PAYMENTS
PRICING: Spending time pricing is often the biggest hassle of preparing for a garage sale. Save yourself the time and headache. Instead adopt a “let’s make a deal mentality” and either let the buyer make an offer on the spot or be prepared to share a price when asked. You can also use sales strategies like BOGO (buy one, get one) offers. I put all of our gently worn t-shirts in a box and made a sign that read “BOGO…all items $1/each. Buy 5, get one free.” That way I knew I had a guarantee sale of $5 if someone wanted to take advantage of the offer.
PAYMENTS: Be prepared to make change for cash purchases and to accept payment via cash apps like Venmo, PayPal or Zelle.
#7- PAY OFF THE DEBT
Deposit the cash and pay off whatever debt you can immediately. We picked a credit card that had a $1,000 balance and paid it off within 48 hours of the sale. Be committed and celebrate your efforts and knocking out that debt!
PS...If you have any money leftover you can add to your emergency fund, savings account or treat yourself to a spa treatment or splurge on a nice meal at your favorite restaurant.
Kat Sanford, aka “The Abundance Alchemist” is a soulful business strategist, money mindset mentor and Sacred Money Archetypes® Certified Coach. Kat has been published in the Bay Area Houston Magazine. is a FemCity contributor, and international speaker and coach.
To connect with Kat, you can find her via @thekatsanford on major social media channels.
Please note: This information is not presented by an accountant, attorney, or financial advisor and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional accounting, financial, legal or tax advice.