In today’s society, we’re constantly updating our furniture and kitchen appliances, clothes become old and out of date and sometimes we simply grow tired of certain bits and bobs. Over the years, we build up clutter and when it gets too much we start thinking about clearing it all out.
But don’t hire a skip too soon! It’s time to try and make some money back on these goods – after all, what’s one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Nothing beats selling your preloved goods to make a little extra cash and garage sales are the perfect opportunity for that! You might think you know how to have a successful garage sale but trust us, there’s much more to it than people think.
Back in the day, garage sales were an impromptu and spontaneous event. One weekend morning would call for a clear out, a painted sign would go up in the front yard and before you know it, neighbours were scouring your things. Today however, garage sales are a saturated market. They are happening all over the country and people are thinking strategically before rocking up in any stranger’s driveway. What this means is that you need to know how to have a successful garage sale before you start, and that involves plenty of planning.
How to have a successful garage sale in 5 simple steps
Prior to starting your planning is realising you have too much clutter and figuring out what to do with it. This generally starts with a speedy clear out where you decide if something needs to be dumped or if it can actually go to a new home (for a price of course). At this stage you might consider hiring a mini skip to get all the obvious rubbish out of site and mind and setting aside the goods you wish to sell at your garage sale.
Step one: Plan
1. Set a date
Once you’ve determined that you have enough junk for a yard sale, the first step is to set a date. Ideal times for a garage sale in Australia are on the weekend, but you can extend this to Friday or even Thursday as retirees and stay at home parents will still be out and about during the week. It’s important to pick a weekend when you have nothing on, as you don’t want to rush off to go out. Free yourself up, so you can be available the entire day.
In terms of the weather, Spring and Autumn are ideal for garage sales. The days are generally not too hot or cold and people are more willing to step out of their homes. You will also want to set the starting time early. You’d be surprised how many people are out an about on Saturday mornings – plus this is generally the busiest time as people don’t want to interrupt their plans to attend a garage sale – as good as yours might be.
2. Organise your items
The next step is to start organising your garage sale items. Sort them into boxes and categorise by themes. For example kitchenware, clothing, toys, appliances, outdoor items etc. This will help you with setting up on the day so you can ensure your garage sale has an efficient layout for your potential customers. It is also worth having another look through your home for anything else you could sell.
Things you might not consider may include:
- Old electrical goods
- Chargers, cables and extension cords
- Broken items (appliances, jewellery, crockery, CDs)
- Empty perfume bottles
The key is to never underestimate what people are willing to pay for. From collectors to tech savvy people to DIY doers, everyone is on the hunt for particular things that they can sometimes only find at a garage sale!
Step two: Advertise
Now that you have collated all your goods and set a date, it’s time to spread the word! We all know about the makeshift cardboard box signs, but there’s also a variety of ways to draw people in prior to the day too. Spark interest at least a one to two weeks before by advertising on things such as:
- Newspaper ads – put ads in your local paper
- Online ads – this can include Facebook groups, Gumtree, tradingpost and so on.
- Signs! – place signs on stoby polls and in local shop windows around your neighbourhood.
Anyone that knows how to have a successful garage sale knows it’s all about getting people in your driveway! And advertising is the way to go.
Step three: Get ready
1. Gather supplies
In the lead up to the big day, you want to make sure you gather all the supplies you need early so nothing is forgotten on the day.
This includes things such as:
- Tables and surfaces for all your goods
- Crates and boxes for small items
- Chairs for you to sit on during the day
- Sun protection e.g. umbrella and sunscreen
- Pens, markers, tape (for pricing)
- Garment racks for clothing
- Somewhere to store your money e.g. a bum bag or locked cash box
- Small bills and change!
2. Clean and optimise your items
Although we said not to underestimate what people are willing to buy, you still want to make sure your items are presented well. Wipe any dust or dirty marks away and put items back together if they’ve fallen apart. This can be the difference between items that sell and items that don’t sell – you might even get a little extra cash when items look in better condition.
3. Arrange your sale
As you already would have organised your items in the planning phase, arranging your sale should be made much easier. As we said organising by theme is a great way to go as this makes the browsing process much easier for garage sale shoppers. Presentation is also important – ensure all items are easily accessible and visible.
You will want to start arranging your sale at least one day before, as nothing is worse than setting up your garage sale while customers are around. If you can’t put anything out the night before, arrange them in laundry baskets or old milk crates by theme so on the day you can bring them out and place them with little thought.
4. Price your items
If you’ve wondered how to have a successful garage sale, a key element is in the pricing. Our pro garage sale tips are to:
- Price all items individually rather than in groups. On the day people can mix up items in different groups which can make things unorganised and confusing.
- Price honestly. Think about how much you’d be willing to pay for each item having known if it is broken or how old or valuable it is.
- Always be prepared to haggle with customers. Garage sale shoppers will always haggle.
- Don’t buy fancy price tags. A bit of masking tape and a sharpie is all you need.
Step four: Throw your garage sale
1. Be prepared
- On the night before double check everything, and then triple check on the day too! The last thing you want is to rush around while people are there.
- Make sure children and pets are accounted for. Organise sitters and keep your pets indoors or at the neighbours.
- Make sure breakfast, lunch and dinner is sorted – ordering in is probably best to avoid nipping out for groceries and cooking on the day.
2. Customer service
Work your crowd! Be friendly and helpful – they will ask questions and move things and pick up breakable items but the key is to stay calm and be patient with them. You want your shoppers to have a good customer experience. Avoid being pushy and let them come to you. Maybe even put out some drinks and nibbles for them. Little things like this can go a long way in making a sale.
Step five: Clean up
After your long weekend of organising, haggling and sitting around waiting to make some money, it’s time to deal with your left overs!
If you can’t sell it, chuck it!
If no one bought your goods, it is probably for a good reason – your junk is simply junk and it’s time to dump it. Start by organising your various types of garbage in to items that you can give to charity and items that can just be thrown away. A general waste skip bin is probably your best option for leftover garage sale items however do be sure to check before placing any items in your skip. For example when it comes to e waste disposal there are some limitations.
From our experience and after reading this guide, it’s clear that knowing how to have a successful garage sale comes down to organisation! Through extensive planning and always being one step ahead you’ll be on your way to a successful day of selling your pre-loved goods that leaves you and your shoppers happy.