How to host a garage sale during the pandemic?
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How to host a garage sale during the pandemic?


The rising popularity of home organization shows, books, and social media influencers have nudged many homeowners to purge, declutter, edit, or Mari Kondo their homes. Whatever you call it, the team here at Bob Blake are real fans of “getting rid of stuff” and even bigger fans of keeping good stuff out of landfill and giving it a second life.  


Having enough free time at home used to be the main hurdle to decluttering our homes. But the new pain point in the purging process is not knowing what to do with your old stuff. What exactly can you DO with the items that you’re ready to move out of your home during a pandemic?  


Are donation drop-offs accepting items during COVID-19? 

Am I allowed to host a garage sale during the pandemic? 

Does selling stuff on Facebook actually work? 

How can I host a safe yard sale? 


In this post we’ll explore the importance of decluttering for both home sellers and buyers (yes, even buyers!) and walk through some do’s and don’ts for holding a garage sale during the pandemic.  


Always declutter before you buy or sell a home 

It goes without saying (although we say it over and over!) home sellers must declutter their homes before putting it on the market in order to attract the best offers. When there is too much stuff in a home, whether on the counters, in the closets, garage, or basement, potential buyers will get the impression that the space is too cramped and non-functional.  

Home buyers should also do a thorough edit of their possessions before starting their search. By paring down your belongings to the essential must-haves, you will gain clarity on the amount and type of space that you require in your next home. 


Why host a garage sale? 

When you’re ready to part with items that are no longer of value in your home, selling them at a garage sale helps you to release their value back out into the community and recoup some of your costs. Stop holding good stuff hostage in your home - sell it at a garage sale! 


Extending the life of items in good working condition makes you a landfill hero. It breaks our hearts, not to mention our earth, when people toss perfectly good household items in the trash instead of giving them a new life through garage sales, donating, or freecycling. 


The excitement of garage saling is contagious! The pleasure of seeing buyers thrilled about their treasures, combined with the instant gratification of having new found money is a great motivator for running back inside and pulling out more stuff to sell. Because let’s face it, even the most diligent minimalists have items in their home that they really don’t use, need, or even like. 


Even though garage sales are a lot of work to set-up and host, they save a lot of time and energy compared to selling your items individually through Facebook, Kijiji,, Varage Sale, or other buy-sell apps. When you host a garage sale, you’re doing it big. Once.  


Garage sales, when permitted by local health authorities and municipal by-laws are one of the only ways to get rid of stuff during the pandemic other than throwing it in the garbage. Donation drop-offs, second hand stores, charity pick-ups, and large community sales are not operating consistently due to COVID-19 concerns, leaving a yard sale as your only option in some cases. 



Top 10 Safety + Etiquette tips for hosting a garage sale during COVID-19 

Hosting a successful garage sale involves a lot of planning and preparation at the best of times. Hosting yard sales during a pandemic adds some extra items to the safety checklist.  

Here are our top 10 safety tips for hosting a garage sale during the pandemic as well as reminders about how to be a good neighbour when you’re holding a yard sale: 


Know the current limits for people on your property, put up signs and have someone in charge of welcoming buyers onto your driveway or lawn or asking them to wait in their cars or at the curb until it is their turn. As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to keep numbers within the allowable limit. 


Use sidewalk chalk, masking tape, ropes, or anything you can find to mark out directional arrows and waiting spots. Over a year into the pandemic, we’re all accustomed to looking for where we’re supposed to walk and stand, buyers won’t even think twice about following the safe path you’ve planned out. 


Prepare for touchless payment. Set up your interac e-transfer for no passwords and print out your email address or mobile text number to help buyers pay easily. 


Have gloves if you plan to accept cash. And as with any garage sale, have lots of change on hand so you don’t have to run inside to scrounge for coins and smaller bills. 


Set up a hand-sanitizer station at the entrance to your sale area, and at the cash out station. Most buyers will have their own masks, but consider having some disposables available if they’re unprepared. 


Put price stickers on your items to cut down on the number of unnecessary up-close conversations. Haggling and bartering will still happen, but only by serious buyers! 


Attract as much traffic as you can by advertising at least a week in advance. Put up street signs, posters at grocery stores, and of course advertise online through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Kijiji, and other garage sale apps. 


Consider grouping with neighbours to make a street sale to increase traffic. Street sales often attract bigger crowds and more serious buyers.  


Be a good neighbour. Inform your neighbours that you’ll be holding an event and park your own vehicles off-site so that you’re not adding extra burden to the congestion on your street. 


Leave no trace of your garage sale at the end of the day. Take down every last one of your signs and make sure all of your unsold items are either picked up by a donation service or stowed safely away until your next garage sale - don’t leave a “free pile” out after dark to get spoiled by weather, animals, and vandals. 



Whether you’re getting ready to buy or sell, taking time to declutter your home is a great way to get ready for your next venture and gain clarity on what you’ve got, and what kind of space you need. 


 If you’re just starting out in the buying or selling process, please reach out - the team here are Bob Blake are always happy to answer your questions and help get you on your way to your dream home!