How to Tell What The Difference is Between a Yard Sale, Garage Sale and More

yardsale radar what is the difference between yard sale and garage sale
Yard sales, garage sales, rummage sales, tag sales, and estate sales. We have all heard the terms. We have all seen the signs. Chances are we’ve all been to one or the other. If you need to sell off things that belong to you, or you are looking to buy used, generally cheap items, you’re going to go to one of these sales. But which one is which? What’s the difference between a yard sale and a garage sale? How do you decide between a rummage sale and a tag sale? Are they all the same thing with different names depending on where you live? Or is there actually something that distinguishes one from the other? That’s what we’re going to explore right now.

What Are They?

Yard Sale: When it comes to terms to use, what’s the difference between a yard sale and a garage sale? Well, while “yard sale” is arguably the most common term on this list, it is not used everywhere. Of course, the most notable difference is that it’s not usually held in a garage, though it can be. That’s why it’s a broader term for this type of selling.

Basically, a yard sale is a way to offer personal items for money if they need to be rehomed. Maybe that is due to a move, a financial motivation, or something else entirely. In any case, the yard sale host gathers up the belongings for sale and organizes them into categories for pricing. They then advertise the sale either online, by word of mouth, or on paper signs on street corners.

On the day of the sale, the sellers arrange their belongings quite literally on their yard – generally the front lawn – and wait for potential buyers. Buyers can come right onto the yard and browse the collection of items.

how to tell what is the difference between yard sale and garage sale

Garage Sale: What is the biggest difference between a yard sale and a garage sale? A garage sale is, by definition, a sale held in a garage. Just like with yard sales, sellers go through their home and decide which belongings they would like to include in the sale so they aren’t wasted by throwing them away. Of course, hosting a sale also helps the seller make space in his or her home. There are regional language differences for this type of sale, however. In the midwest, this is the most common term for a yard sale.

Typically garage sales are, in fact, held in the garage. But they often extend into the driveway or onto the front lawn as needed. So while the phrase is different, you can see that the explanation is very similar to that of a yard sale. That said, tables are more frequently used in garage sales than yard sales to assist with space for and placement of items.

Rummage Sale: The meaning of rummage is to unsystematically search through a mass of objects. This basically describes a rummage sale, too. These sales tend to be less organized and categorical and much more of a big heap that buyers need to, well, rummage through. All of these items will be secondhand and probably well loved.

So now that we know what the difference is between a yard sale and garage sale, how does a rummage sale compare? One thing that makes rummage sales unique is that they are generally held to raise money for something, like a charity or an event. You’ll often find rummage sales at churches, schools or similar organizations. Most times these items will have been donated from members of the group or by the public specifically for the rummage sale.

Tag Sale: Now, what is the difference between a tag sale, a yard sale and a garage sale? One could argue that any sale that involves items with tags can be considered a tag sale. Tag sales follow the same general principles as the sales mentioned above but are another case of regional language differences that indicate what someone calls a particular sale. In terms of tag sales, you’re most likely to encounter these in the northeast. This is the most popular term in that area for browsing and buying secondhand treasures. Still, items need to be priced and organized just as they would in any of these other sales.

Estate Sale: An estate sale involves a lot of moving pieces. While it is still a big sale of one’s belongings, there is usually an unfortunate reasoning for the sale. Estate sales most often occur when the owner of the estate has passed away, is in financial trouble, or going through a situation like a divorce.

After advertising and getting the word out about the estate sale, the home is then opened to the public (or privately invited guests). The buyers walk through the actual home as it was lived in and can pick out their desired items.

Let’s Recap

what is the difference between yard sale and garage sale

As you can see, there are a lot of similarities between yard, garage, rummage, tag, and estate sales. Now you know what the difference is between a yard sale and garage sale, but you also know what makes them unique. In particular, some are held in yards and some are held in garages. And again, these terms are interchangeable depending on what part of the country you live in, too, with garage sales being most popular in the midwest but yard sales being the most well known term throughout the US.

Rummage sales are yard and garage sales with the exception that the funds go toward a charity or event. And often these items are donated to the cause, for the cause.

Tag sales are mostly a regional term. You’ll most often hear this term in the Northeast United States. Although even states in New England argue over the phrase. It is most commonly found in Massachusetts, specifically the western part of the state. “Tag-Saleing” is a normal activity there.

Estate sales have the obvious difference in that they are held within the house itself. Sometimes these sales are held by liquidators, private sellers hired by the owners of the estate. There are many rules and bits of etiquette that go into these sales. Sometimes estate sales are called tag sales, depending on where you live, but we think this is rare.

That’s the Difference!

When it comes to knowing what the difference is between a yard sale and garage sale, rummage sale, tag sale, or estate sale, each has their own special elements, like selling intent, end purpose, method of selling, etc. Their main goal is the same though: to take old belongings, sell them, and give them a new home and life! Using Yard Sale Radar is a great place to start and makes the whole process much simpler. Just remember, when going to these sales, have fun! After all, it’s like a treasure hunt at every lawn! You never know what you’ll find and cherish forever!