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Over the past twenty years, I have taught many self-reliance classes, written a few ebooks and of course written for Meridian Magazine and other publications. When talking to people or reading responses, the most common excuse for not preparing is lack of money. That should never stop anyone from beginning. Preparing is possible for everyone determined to succeed.

For the next few weeks, we will address some ways to prepare on a budget.

In the October 2005 General Conference, President Gordon B Hinckley spoke of our need to be prepared: “We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. … I have faith … that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments.” The Lord will always help us when we are trying to live what to prophets have counseled.

This month, learn how to have a great garage sale. We have all gathered quite a bit of stuff we no longer use or love. The worst culprits are often our children. It’s summer and a perfect time to clean cupboards and closets. If you no longer have children in your home, enlist the help of your children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews to help with the purge.

To begin, talk to your family and explain that Heavenly Father has asked us to prepare to care for the needs of our family during difficult time.

“I stand before the Church this day and raise the warning voice. It is a prophetic voice… it is a voice calling upon the Lords people to prepare for the troubles and desolations which are about to be poured out upon the world without measure. For the moment we live in a day of peace and prosperity but it will not ever be thus. Great trials lie ahead. All of the sorrows and perils of the past are but a foretaste of what is to be. And we must prepare ourselves temporally and spiritually.

Be it remembered that tribulations lie ahead. There will be wars in one nation and kingdom after another until war is poured out upon all nations and two hundred million men of war mass their armaments at Armageddon… There will be earthquakes and floods and famines. The waves of the sea shall heave themselves beyond their bounds, the clouds shall withhold their rain, and the crops of the earth shall wither and die.” Bruce R. McConkie – April Conference 1979

In the forty years since this prophetic address we have seen many of these things come to pass and as we study the scriptures, we know more are to come. We all studied this a few weeks ago

in a Come Follow Me lesson.

Explain your plans to store food, compile 120 hour kits or whatever you are still lacking, to your family. As they contribute their garage sale items, assure them they will get to help spend the money earned, maybe choose favorite foods to store or books or games for their 120-hour kit.

Before Your Garage Sale

  • Thoroughly declutter your house before your garage sale, gathering anything you want to sell. Take several days or weeks to do this, tackling one or two rooms a day. The greater variety of items you have for your sale; clothing, books, toys, furniture, etc., the more successful it will be.
  • Once you have collected everything in one location, clean everything. Wash all clothing and toys. Polish or touch up furniture. Wipe dust off books.
  • Mark anything broken, damaged or not working. Use a piece of painter’s tape to note what is wrong.
  • Keep batteries and an extension cord available to test items for buyers. Place them with your sale items now so you won’t have to run around the day of your sale trying to find them.

Set a Date

  • Watch the weather reports and choose a weekend that is forecasted to be sunny and not too hot.
  • Check for any local events happening the weekend you’re planning a garage sale that could draw people away from your sale.
  • If your neighborhood or town has an annual garage sale, you will get more traffic if you plan your sale the same weekend.
  • Plan to open your garage sale as early as you can. Be warned that no matter what time you advertise you will open, there will be people lining up early, especially if your advertising is unique and exciting.


  • Some newspapers have a free paper they distribute to every household in town. Place an ad there.
  • Advertising should include words appropriate but enticing, such as three families, estate sale, moving sale, no more hoarding sale, something to set your sale apart from others.
  • Advertise on Facebook, twitter, all social media.
  • Send friends and family emails and texts.
  • Place an ad on community bulletin boards such as at grocery stores.

Prepare Your Garage Sale

  • Have plenty of change and small bills to begin the day.
  • Have plastic or paper shopping bags and/or boxes available to offer those who purchase several items.
  • Get out your fanny pack to keep your cash safe. Be sure everyone helping you also has a fanny pack or apron with a large pocket so they can handle cash as well.


  • Price each item individually. Put on a great movie, sit around while watching and price. It will take awhile.
  • Again, painter’s tape is a great choice, a bright color and it stays secure.
  • If one entire category of items will be the same price, place them in a box or on a table and label the box or table.
  • You want to sell so price to sell. Check out prices at flea markets and thrift stores nearby to get an idea of pricing there.
  • Everyone wants to bargain, so keep that in mind when pricing. You can always go down in price but you can never go up.
  • During the last hours of your sale, place a large sign in the yard, “everything half price”.

Day of sale

  • Use large bright poster board signs in front of your home. Be sure writing on all signs is bold and easy to read from a car driving by.
  • Place signs on street corners leading to your home.
  • Be sure to include the address, days and times of your garage sale on every poster.
  • Place signs on stakes or if placing them on utility poles or street signs place them low enough to read from a car.
  • Be sure signs all include large arrows pointing the way
  • Check any local laws or regulations in your neighborhood, if your area has CC&Rs, about where signs are allowed.
  • Use balloons in your yard and on your signs to draw attention to them.
  • When posting your garage sale online, list an overview of what you have for sale and add photos.

Organizing your sale

  • Clearly define your sale area by removing any items not for sale.
  • Arrange your tables in rows with enough room around each table so customers can access the tables from both sides.
  • Use lots of tables so all items have their own space. Think about store displays.
  • Place the most desirable items where they can easily be seen by people driving by.
  • Group like items together. Place toys on one table, kitchen things on another, books on another.
  • Bundle small items together such as all your ribbons in one plastic bag, all Legos in another.  
  • Hang clothing to display. Tie a rope between trees if you don’t have a clothing rack and hang clothing on the line.
  • Lock all your house and car doors. You will be distracted so take precautions.
  • Create a calm atmosphere, play music quietly in the background.
  • Be friendly and greet people as they come to help put them at ease. Don’t hover.
  • Many eyes keep your sale safe so enlist help.
  • Reorganize and move items around as some sell.
  • Have the kids sell cold water, lemonade and cookies or donuts. Many garage sale addicts leave home early and get hungry and thirsty. Let the kids keep the money they earn.

Next time we will discuss more ways to accumulate emergency preparedness items and food storage with a small budget. When referring to preparing President Gordon B. Hinckley said,

“You can be wise and happy or stupid and miserable, The choice is yours.”

For more help and to have your questions answered follow Carolyn on her TotallyReady Facebook page and her new website