Yard Sale Advice: What To Do With Leftover Garage Sale Items

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What if, at the end of the day, you’re left with most of the items that you started with?…

Don’t get frustrated by the fact that most of your yard sale items didn’t sell.

It just means you either:

a) had a lot of stuff!


b) asked more for it than a typical yardsaler is willing to give

or …the most likely option

c) you just didn’t have the right shoppers come by your yard sale on this particular day

At the end of the day, what do you do with all of those items that you worked so hard to price… and lug down the stairs… and set up on your driveway… for all the world to see?

You have plenty of options!


1. Try again. Save everything you don’t sell and try again a few weeks (or months) later. But this time, mark all of the prices down… way down. You might also consider getting together with a couple of neighbors to host one big yard sale.


2. eBay. Not only are you practically guaranteed that each and every one of your items will be sold on a site like eBay, but you can also use the valuable lessons that you’ve learned from your own yard sale. Specifically: whichever items most people were attracted to at your yard sale…. those are the ones most likely to sell (and at higher profit margins) on eBay!

I agree, selling items online is a bit more time-consuming than having a yard sale (since you should photograph each item, and list each item individually), but it’s usually more profitable, too.


3. Freecycle. Make the day of someone in your own neighborhood. You never know what people want or need… Chances are, if you list all items you’re willing to let go for FREE on Freecycle, someone in your area will step up and be glad to take it off your hands — within hours! Or, try Craigslist.


4. Pass it on. Think places like doctor’s offices, hospitals, and nursing homes for books & magazines. Think friends and relatives for some of your favorite things that you just don’t have room for anymore. And think neighbors for those “unique items” that you know someone down the street collects, or a toy that a neighbor kid would love.


5. Local charities. Places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army typically have donation centers in most towns. In addition, there are a number of other local charities to choose from. Some will even come to your house to pick up the items for FREE! (In our neighborhood, ARC does this, as does the Salvation Army, among others.)

Just remember, at the end of your yard sale (no matter how much you actually sold)…

  • You win because you’ve managed to purge your home (and your life) of so much stuff that you no longer want or need.
  • Others win because you’ve given (or donated) some items to others who can use them.
  • And all who bought items at your yard sale win because they’ve picked up on some great bargains.

A yard sale is definitely a win-win for everyone involved!


How It Went For Me…

I sold $220 worth of stuff at my most recent 1-day yard sale. Not bad, but I’ve done better. At the one before this, I made $475!

Each time, I try to stick with my original intentions, as far as the “leftovers” are concerned…

The stuff I’m willing to let go for FREE I list on Freecycle right away. Usually after neighborhood yard sales, a donation truck or two will swing by for people’s leftover yard sale items, so typically give big clunky items to them. Then I take all clothing items to Goodwill. By the end of the week, all of my “free” stuff is usually gone.

As for the rest: eBay! It’s actually FUN to watch your items get snatched up by people who really want them. We usually list a few items at a time each week. (Because there are so many items to photograph and write up descriptions for.)


How To Get Rid Of Stuff Fast!

To make the process of cleaning up after your yard sale faster & easier, and to get everything out of your house in a hurry, immediately after your sale ends (not later that night, not the next morning), divide all of your remaining items into 5 piles:

1. Items to donate. Bag or box these items up and prepare to take them to a local charity, or make arrangements for a charity truck to pick them up.

2. Items to sell on online. The majority of what you don’t sell can be sold online …and usually for a higher price than you would’ve gotten from a yard sale anyway!

3. Free stuff for whoever wants it. I use Freecycle. But other people prefer to leave these items in box marked “FREE” placed at the end of the driveway. Leave it there until garbage pick-up day, and anything that doesn’t get picked up can be thrown away or recycled.

4. Items to save for the next garage sale. IF you think you’ll have another yard sale in the future, AND you have enough space to store the items until then, then it makes sense to store some things away.

5. Items to keep. These are typically items that you only wanted to sell if you got the right price for it. We all have some of these. Usually they’re items that only you see the real value in.

Note: In my case, one “pile” was in the guest bedroom (donate), another “pile” was in my office (sell online), one “pile” was in the far corner of our garage (freebies), another “pile” was a large Rubbermaid bin in the attic (sell at next yard sale), and remaining things that I just couldn’t part with went to their respective places inside my house or attic storage.


Continue reading my 14-part series:



  • Save
My Best Yard Sale, Flea Market & Thrift Shop Finds

  • Save
Making Money On Yard Sale Bargains

  • Save
Reasons People Won’t Bid On Your eBay Stuff

  • Save
eBay vs. Garage Sales

  • Save


I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money -- so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner -- so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started... and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've personally written over 200 articles about cleaning, organization, DIY repairs, and household hacks on this site! A few have over 2M shares; many others have over 100K shares.

5 thoughts on “Yard Sale Advice: What To Do With Leftover Garage Sale Items

  1. Please consider donating leftover garage sale items to www.socialstorehouse.com – we are a new growing organization. We believe there is enough to go around for everyone!!

  2. Thrift stores, re-sellers, and yes – even charities – need to stop demanding that people who hold garage sales donate their leftover items. Not everyone who has a yard sale is desperate to get rid of their stuff. They may decide to keep what doesn’t sell, give it away to friends or family, or even try to sell it again later on.

  3. Another fantastic place to donate items for resale, especially furniture, construction materials, etc. is your nearest Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The ReStore is a resale shop mashup between Goodwill and Lowe’s/Home Depot. The majority of the items are donated and then sold to the public at a fraction of the cost with all profits going to help build more Habitat homes for families in need in your community. Plus all items that are donated are tax deductible and it keeps usable materials out of the landfill. A win-win for everyone involved. To find your nearest Habitat ReStore location check out https://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx.

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