Written by Cara Fitzgerald | 7 July 2023

Moving house can be a daunting and expensive task by the time you take into account any removalist and bond cleaning fees, final utilities payments, reconnection fees and so on. A garage sale can be an excellent way to lighten your load and earn some cash before the big move. It’s a great time to let go of items you no longer need or that won’t fit the layout of your new home, and the less that gets packed into the truck, the less it’s going to cost you on moving day.

However, organising a successful garage sale requires careful planning and organisation, so before you stick signs up all over the neighbourhood, follow these simple tips on how to organise a successful garage sale and make the most money possible for your effort.

Organise a successfule garage sale. Items displayed on the lawn.

Plan ahead and pick the right date

To ensure a successful garage sale, it is crucial to plan in advance. Set a date for your sale that allows you ample time to sort through your belongings and advertise your garage sale effectively. Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to have a garage sale as more people can attend, but be sure to avoid public holiday weekends and big sporting event days. Plan to be up and ready early on the day, as garage sales typically start between 7:00 – 8:00am. Create a checklist of tasks to be done, such as gathering and sorting items to sell, pricing them, promoting the sale, and arranging logistics for the day.

Categorise and price every item

Organise your items into categories such as clothing, electronics, furniture, and kitchenware. Clearly label each item with a price using stickers or tags. Pricing items competitively will attract more buyers. Don’t hike up your prices expecting people to haggle you down, price them to sell so you avoid losing potential buyers. Consider offering discounts for bulk purchases (for example, fill up a big of clothing for $10) or bundling related items together, such as kitchenware.

Consider payment methods ahead of time

Be sure to have plenty of small change on hand. You don’t want to have to lower your price or lose a sale just because you don’t have enough small notes or coins on hand for your cash-paying customers. Remember to cater for your digital-paying customers also and consider safe ways to receive money such as Pay to Mobile functionality or having your PayPal details available for them to send money to.

Promote your garage sale

Spread the word a week or so in advance. Post information about your garage sale online on your local Facebook neighbourhood community group, Facebook Marketplace and Garage Sale Finder for example. Go old school, and hang up colourful signs and balloons around your neighbourhood, using large, clear fonts, your street name and directional arrows to mark a clear path to your gate.

Provide detailed descriptions online

When creating online listings or social media posts about your garage sale, be sure to use relevant keywords to optimise your content for search engines and include detailed descriptions of your items. Provide measurements, brand names, and any unique features that may pique a buyer’s interest. Good-quality photographs showcasing your items from different angles will also attract potential buyers.

Create a visually engaging display

A well-organised and visually appealing display of items for sale will attract potential buyers. Put your best stuff out the front and arrange items neatly on tables or racks, grouping similar items together. Ensure there is ample space for visitors to browse comfortably and manoeuvre easily. Have some reusable grocery bags on hand and paper to wrap up small, fragile items if you want to go the extra mile.

Consider selling refreshments

Shopping can be thirsty work! Consider having an esky of softdrinks and water available for sale or letting your kids set up a lemonade stand, both are a great way to not only enhance your garage sale experience but also to make a small profit here as well.

Be safe

While most people are there just to snag a bargain, the reality is you’ve still invited a bunch of strangers on to your property. It’s a good idea to ask your family members to help you with the crowd on the day – cut your teenagers in on the profits if you need too! Keep any money in a small bag or apron on your body and keep your house locked during the sale. Do not let anyone in your house to use your bathroom, politely point them towards the nearest petrol station.

What to do with the items you didn’t sell

It’s likely you will have some items left over at the end of the day. Consider listing any higher-value items on Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Gumtree for example using the photos you took before the garage sale. If you just can’t bear to lug your items back inside or moving day is just around the corner, then maybe it’s time to help someone in need by donating them to your local charity store.

By following these garage sale tips, you are sure to achieve a successful garage sale. The more time you are able to put into the planning and organisation, the more profitable and easier it will be on the day. A garage sale can generate you some cash for your move or new furniture for your new home, and will also reduce your packing and removalist costs. Now that’s what we call a win-win!

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