Garage Sale Box

Good Dog! Garage Sale Fundraisers

Use our planning checklist and customizable templates to easily organize and promote your service dog yard sale fundraiser.

* These templates are designed with Canva. You will need a Canva account to access them (it's free). We recommend using the desktop version when customizing templates instead of the app version.

Tips for Planning Your Garage Sale

Make it Easier on Yourself

  • Use the Good Dog! Yard Sale Toolkit to easily plan your event. 

  • Ask other Good Dog! Families who've held garage sales for their best tips in our family Facebook group.

Pick a Location

  • A high-traffic location with plenty of parking is preferable. 

  • Your location should also have enough space to accommodate all of your items and a place to store/stage items prior to the event. 

  • If your home does not have a large garage or yard, consider hosting your sale at a friend's home, community center, church, or in the parking lot of a school or business.

Collect Items to Sell

  • Ask your friends, neighbors, and family members to donate items towards your yard sale fundraiser.

  • It's helpful to give suggestions of what they can donate such as clothes, shoes, hats, bags, books, frames, art, vases, dishware, jewelry, toys, games, sporting equipment, bikes, electronics, appliances, furniture, etc.

  • Ask for item donations on community message boards like Nextdoor or in local Facebook groups.

  • Make it easy for people to donate by providing a drop-off location for several days prior to the sale. You can also offer to pick up larger items or schedule a volunteer to do so.

Organize Your Items

  • Organize, clean, and price all items as you receive them.

  • Group like items together like departments you'd find in a retail store. Such as clothing (separated by size and type), tools, furniture, sporting goods, home decor, books, toys, etc.

  • Prominently feature the more expensive items where they’ll be visible from the street to passersby and in a location you can easily keep an eye on.

  • Use clothing racks and hangers for nicer, name-brand clothing.

  • Label items with price tags/stickers. 

Be Extra

  • Grab attention with balloons or streamers and put plenty of signage throughout the neighborhood directing people to your yard sale.

  • Offer food and drinks for a simple donation, such as water, lemonade, hotdogs, cookies, donuts, etc.

  • Make your sale inviting and comfortable by providing shade with pop-up tents/canopies and music for ambiance. 

  • Tidy up tables throughout the day. Most people don’t want to dig through a jumbled mess.

  • Other fun activities you may want to offer: face painting, raffle prizes, stickers, etc.

  • Talk to people about your fundraiser! Set up a donation jar and with information about your child and service dog fundraiser. 

Sales Day Strategies

  • Start setting up an hour before your opening time.

  • If you find your fundraiser has lots of clothing to sell, you may not want to bother pricing them. Simply sell whatever fits inside for $5 a bag.

  • Wrap up the sale with a steep discount. Offer items as two-for-one deals or 50% off.

  • Another strategy is to let people know that this fundraiser is for a service dog and to let them suggest their own prices. People may end up paying more than what the items are actually worth.

Choose a Date & Time

  • Plan at least 6 weeks in advance for enough time to gather items and promote your fundraiser.

  • Keep in mind that holiday weekends tend to be slower and limit your volunteers' availability. 

  • Consider the weather when selecting your date and have a backup plan in case of rain - either a second date or a location that allows your sale to move inside.

 

Recruit Help

  • Yard sales are a lot of work! As soon as you select your date and location, start asking friends and family to help with your event.

  • In addition to volunteers for the event, recruit helpers for tasks leading up to the event such as item collection, organization, pricing, setup, and promotion.

  • Get firm commitments on availability and designate specific jobs for each of your volunteers such as checkout/money handler, display re-organizer, welcomer who goes around answering questions about your service dog fundraiser, etc.

  • Send reminders!

  • Create a schedule with two-hour shifts and over-schedule volunteers for the busiest time of the sale (typically early part of the day when bargain hunters are out).

  • Feed your volunteers.

  • Send personal thank you notes after the event.

Gather Supplies

  • Tables (display and checkout), clothing racks, hangers, shelves, crates, boxes, baskets, bins, etc.

  • Tents (for protection from sun and rain)

  • Sharpies, markers, pens

  • Posters and signage

  • Tape

  • Donation jar and fundraiser brochures/info flyers

  • Safety pins (for clothing sets)

  • Price stickers (consider coordinating neon stickers to prices, ie: orange = 50 cents, green = $1, yellow = $5, white stickers are priced as marked, etc.)

  • Shopping bags

  • Storage bags

  • Name tags for volunteers

  • Cash box (make sure you have plenty of small bills and quarters for change)

  • Laptop/smartphone/tablets with WIFI if taking credit card payments to your fundraising website

  • Extension cords, chargers, etc. 

  • Cleaning supplies, wipes

Price to Sell

  • Do not overprice your items. People come to garage sales looking for deals even if it's a fundraiser. Be willing to negotiate.

  • Research estimated value for artwork, electronics, glass, china, etc. Typically items sell on average for about 10-30% of retail value.

  • You may get better prices by selling higher-end items on Craigslist or eBay prior to the sale.

  • Consider hosting a "pre-sale" by having friends come pick through everything you have sorted the day before the event.

Spread the Word

  • Use local media outlets like newspapers and radio stations to get publicity for your fundraiser.

  • Place advertisements in the local classified, on community bulletin boards, Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace.

  • Take lots of great photos of your items and share them on social media, especially on the morning of your event. 

  • Put up lots of signage around the neighborhood to direct people to your yard sale. 

  • Invite everyone you know to your event and ask your friends to invite their friends, hang flyers, and spread the
    word. 

Plan for Leftovers

  • Box up leftover items to be donated to someone else that's having a yard sale or local causes.

  • Have a volunteer ready to drive a truckload of items to where you are donating them or schedule a time for a pickup.

  • Consider selling leftover designer clothing and accessories to an online consignment site like ThredUp or selling them Poshmark.