One of my favourite things to do on a saturday morning is to scour the local area looking for garage sales. For most of my life I have been fond of rummaging through a dense pile of bric a brac at a garage sale, excited by the prospect of finding a hidden treasure for a bottom dollar price.

Garage sales are much like op shops. Generally they consist of all second hand goods from clothes to candles. From workout equipment to leaf blowers. The possibilities of what can be sold and found at a garage sale are endless. 

Holding a garage sale on the other hand can be quite a large task. But, done right you can stand to make a fair bit of money from old/unused items you have around the house. In the past we have held garage sales of our own to help pay for our wedding, increase our savings as well as contribute to upcoming holiday costs. I once held a garage sale to just rid my home of all unnecessary clutter and make some money to splurge on a bbq and drinks for my friends!

Here is our plan of attack when considering holding your own garage sale.

Preparing For Your Garage Sale Beforehand 

Declutter

Decluttering your home is a great way to find more items you wish to sell. Clean out the shed, you may find old tools you don’t use. Declutter that wardrobe, you’ll more than likely find old clothes you can part with. Anywhere in your home you have clutter is the perfect place to start finding items you can sell.

Clean

Everything you wish to sell should be clean. Cleaning everything will make pieces more appealing to your prospective buyer. Noone likes going to a garage sale where everything is dirty.

Price

Everything needs a price. This can be done a couple ways. You can label everything individually which, if you have tonnes of stuff can be a daunting task. A sharpie and masking tape can be great for this, tearing off bit by bit to label items.

Another way you can price is by setting sections. For instance, if you have tables, label each table how much the price is for items on that table. Or if you have, say, a large box of books, label that box ‘books, $1 Each’.

People want to be able to browse without having to constantly ask the host how much items cost. You could even lose shy buyers who don’t want to have to ask how much something costs.

A guide to holding your first garage sale

Unsure if an item will sell? put it out anyway!

If there is something you want to get rid of but not sure if it will just put it out and price it anyway!

I once sold an old canvas painting that was very outdated and tacky. I basically gave it away but it was nice seeing someone else get just what they were looking for.

Setting Up

So you have everything priced and you’re ready to start setting up your garage sale. I’ve been to garage sales in the past where everything is just dumped on a tarp in the yard. Leaving potential buyers to sort through everything in an attempt to find something worthwhile. This type of setup is very unappealing.

If you want items to sell you need to make it easy for buyers.

Clear The Area

Wherever in your yard or garage you plan to hold your garage sale needs to be clean and clear. If you are holding it in your garage then you will need to clear away everything you do not wish to sell. Everything in that vicinity should only be items for sale.

Save People Bending Down

Eye level is buy level. Having for sale items on tables keeps your buyers from bending down having to sort through piles on the ground. Excluding of course larger items that make sense to be on the ground. 

garage sale

Displaying Items

Having tonnes of books and magazines spread across a table can take up way too much space. Using boxes to have these types of items standing up is a perfect way to make it easier for people to flick through them. Have only the best books out flat on the table, attracting people to these.

For smaller items like jewellery and ‘bric a brac’ you can use tupperware containers or even smaller boxes. 

On your display tables be sure to display larger items at the back and work your way forward with the smallest items at the front. This way people won’t miss the small items in amongst the larger ones.

Clothes are best displayed on a hanging rack of some sort with price and size tagged on each item. Or, if all clothes are the same price then just tag them with the size to make it easier for buyers.

The easier you can make it for people to browse, the easier items will sell.

Plan For Bad Weather 

Have in place a contingency for wet/bad weather. In the past we have chosen to postpone a garage sale due to rain. Less buyers come out in bad weather. 

If however you can only have it on a certain day then be sure to have cover in place. If you are inside a garage then that’s great. Outside you should have cover like a gazebo or tarp overhead.

Advertising Your Garage Sale

You need to get the word out using as many different avenues at your disposal. Putting up signs around the neighbourhood is a good start. Have signage at the end of your street as well as nearby intersections and roundabouts.

Online methods. Create ads on online platforms like Gumtree and local Facebook groups. Make sure to put a brief list of items you are selling. People searching for specific items will be more attracted to these types of ads.

Lastly, many seasoned garage sale attendees look in the local paper for ads. This way might cost a little to place an ad but you want to cover as many platforms as you can to maximize your attendance. Placing an ad in your local paper will cover these type of bargain hunters.

Doing That Bit Extra

Some garage sales hold sausage sizzles and make coffee whilst their sales are on. Making a bit extra whilst enticing buyers in. The smell of a sausage sizzle on a saturday morning has always got me in the door. 

Another extra you should have at your disposal is an extension cord for buyers to test out electrical items for sale.

A Float

You must have change ready. The most annoying person at a garage sale is the buyer who bargains for a $1 item and pays with a $50 note. You need to be prepared for this.

Having a bunch of silver and gold coins as well as a couple 5 and 10 dollar notes. I suggest having about $50 in change all up.

Prepare To Haggle

Have an idea of what is your lowest price for items. Garage sales are notoriously fun haggle destinations for a good reason. Everyone wants to pay as little as possible. It’s ok to say however if the offered price does not meet your expectations. Have fun with it and you will still make a good profit.

The End Of Your Garage Sale

You’ve successfully held your first garage sale! But now you’re left with a few items that did not sell. Try selling these items on Gumtree, Facebook marketplace or simply donate them to your local op shop charity.

Holding a garage sale can be a great profitable way to make money from your unwanted clutter. Be sure to be organized and have fun doing it!

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