Garage Sales are a great way to declutter and pass on items you no longer need. 

This time of year is a great time to hold a Garage Sale and, if you have never done it before, here are my tips for running a successful garage sale:

  1. Advertise online, e.g. gumtree & garage sale sites (I never do print advertising)
  2. Do a letterbox drop around surrounding streets
  3. On the day, put up some signage at the end of streets (make sure you take it down afterwards)
  4. Appeal to your likely buyers by outlining what sort of items you have, e.g. tools, whitegoods, if it is an estate clearance say so in your ad & the dealers will come
  5. Check weather in advance – people tend to stay away on rainy days
  6. Minimise time setting up, just do enough, you don’t have to price everything (maybe set prices for your main or higher value items)
  7. Be specific about your start & end time & stick to it.  Be aware that people may turn up early – you don’t have to let them in if you’re not ready (otherwise you will be behind all morning), but be ready at your start time – the best buys tend to come early.
  8. I normally end it around 1-2pm or as soon as all the major items are sold
  9. Ensure you have enough labour/support – garage sales are fun but can be hard work
  10. Have change & keep the money on you for safety
  11. Be aware shop lifting happens at garage sales (so keep an eye on any highly valuable items)
  12. Don’t be insulted by low-ball offers, people go to garage sales for bargains, so haggle & trust your instincts, sometimes it is better to get $1 than nothing.  I often use “make me an offer” to sus out what someone is prepared to pay
  13. Be confident & be prepared to barter – maybe start with a slightly higher price & barter to near your wanted price, e.g. a lamp you want $60 for, upsell it for $80 and barter it to $40-$60
  14. Garage sales are great for clearing lots of lower value items, so think about selling things in bulk (in a box), e.g. glassware, books – $5 for lot, $10 for box full
  15. If someone makes you an offer for large items (e.g. furniture) & you’re not sure whether to accept, get their details & offer to call them later in the morning if it is still available
  16. Be clear on your aim which is to clear as many items as possible, so focus on the total $ earned & try not to be disappointed if some items don’t sell for what you wanted
  17. Later in the morning, you may want to reduce your price expectations
  18. If you have electrical items, make sure you have a power outlet so people can check if they work
  19. When you have a crowd you may have lots of demands on your time, people asking questions, so you need to deal with each buyer as quickly as possible.  If you have items in the home you want to sell, take photos to show people (it can take up a lot of time taking people into the house)
  20. Make sure your home is locked as people may wander in there
  21. Don’t hold items for people who say they are coming back – they usually don’t & you may have missed out on selling the item
  22. If someone is buying lots of items, get them to pick everything & then negotiate a total price – ensure you look at every item as sometimes an item can be hidden under others
  23. Ensure sure you have refreshments on hand for you & your team (water, cuppa, etc)
  24. Have fun, celebrate at the end & take a well-deserved rest
  25. What you don’t sell at the garage sale, either donate to charity or toss asap

Garage sales are a good way to farewell items you no longer need & that have served you well & you are passing them on to someone else who needs them, thus any $ earned are a bonus.
Happy sorting

Mary J Harnan BBus, 3a home sorting specialist
Aging Specialist, ICD  |  CD Specialist, ICD  | Expert Member AAPO | Professional Member NAPO 
Based in Balwyn North, Vic, I have sorted 100’s of homes & helped 100’s of clients. I regularly speak about 3a decluttering, downsizing & my 3F’s for letting stuff go