How to: Garage Sale

How to stage a Garage Sale
First thing you absolutely need to do is ask yourself: Why do I want to hold a garage sale?
If you are doing it to earn money, you’re on the wrong path.
It will cost you a minimum of 15 hours and you never know how much money you will make.
If you want to sustainably shift some stuff, connect to your community, sell lemonade to your neighbourhood, teach your kids about money, you are on the right track!
If the thought of your possessions fuelling the consumerist fires of global warming offends you, then this is for you!
Garage Sale Trail
On the 22nd of October the biggest Garage Sale in Australia will happen in communities all over the country. There are a variety of options: community groups holding car boot sales, whole streets coming together at a park, councils offering car boot sales or suitcase sales. Check out the organiser’s website at
Get started by registering it on the Garage Sale Trial page
All sales are registered online and you can get some promotional material as well as an online presence – which works particularly well if you have a themed sale. Buyers log in and create a route through the area with the items or topics they are interested in.
Next is a bit of planning so you don’t get stressed out in the last minute – de-cluttering is meant to de-stress your life!
Brainstorm (with your family/friends or with yourself) where there could be hidden treasures in your house. Does a whole room need to be de-cluttered, or just big items throughout the house?
Figure out where you will store everything till the day comes – again having a team behind you can really help!
If you need de-cluttering you will need time – and that’s where your calendar comes into play. Find pockets of time – doesn’t always have to be 10 hours in one stretch, but put the planned hours or minutes into your calendar.
Start somewhere, but start as soon as possible. It might seem like a long time but the 24th of October will be here sooner than you think. If you realise you can’t face it or are getting nowhere despite having lots of stuff, consider asking someone to help!
Now that you have an idea of what and how much you have, a topic might start emerging. This helps with promoting your sale as something a bit different.
Garage Sale Trail provides a platform for advertising your sale. A listing on Gumtree, school newsletter or flyers around your local streets can be a good idea, too.
Also promote to friends and family – social media, especially local Facebook groups.
If you happen to have a theme, it helps with pricing, because you can keep research down to a minimum. Have a roll of sticky labels handy and price items as soon as you add to the sale pile.
For everything weird and wonderful check out the sold item button on e Bay and price at least 10% under (that’s the eBay fee you are saving).
Get back to your mission statement for the sale: If you want to make money, price accordingly but be prepared for a disappointment.  If you want to save the planet form landfill and have fun; have that reflect in your prices!
Here are a couple of hints:

  • Sit down and think of the most expensive and cheapest item you might have.
  • What is your cheapest category – are all items in that category going to be the same(eg: books)
  • Are the kids going to sell stuff, too? Into their own pocket or are you sharing the proceeds around or spend them as a family?
  • There should be something for every buyer; have items that sell for 5 or 10 cents.
  • Bundle things up, give discounts: buy 6 books get the seventh one free.
  • Have a basket of adult and kids freebees
  • Create ‘Lucky dips’

is a big part of the tradition and excitement of garage sales. You should be willing to bargain, as almost everyone that goes to a garage sale will try to bargain with you. Remember, your goal is to sell everything. You don’t want to be carrying a bunch of stuff back into your house at the end of the sale or burden your local op shop with your unsold treasures.
Setting up on the day
The best way to set up your items is to lay most things out on tables. Don’t pile things on top of each other so that people have to move stuff around to see it. Make sure everything is clearly visible.
Clothing is best displayed when it is hung up; either with a string between two poles borrowed clothes rack.Large items should be prominently displayed in front of the tables or on the front of your lawn or driveway. This will attract possible buyers as they drive by.
Think about free coffee, tea or lemonade for your customers. Water is a definite and providing a place to sit could advertise your garage sale to passers by.
Test electronic items
Plug in an extension cord and have it next to your till for punters to test what they want to buy first.
Get plenty of change
Get a float from the bank and keep it in a safe place or with one designated person.
Have extra help on hand.
Always have several people at the sale – it’s important for personal security and convenience. This way you can take a bathroom break when you need one, and you can keep things in order. As your sale progresses, things will unavoidably get dis-organised. If you want to sell as much as possible, you should try to keep things looking nice.
Keep all books with spines showing. Keep all clothes on hangers. You might need to refold clothes or linens frequently. Keep all the brightly-coloured, newest-looking things in front of your yard, and on the tops of all the piles.
Have an exit strategy
What are you going to do with the items that don’t sell? Going back to your motivation for the sale should give you some answers. You could:

  • file it all back into the house,
  • hold an ‘everything for free sale’ after the sale,
  • talk to a charity, pack your car with the items they collect and bring it to them on Monday morning.
  • recycle responsible – check your local council website for all the available options.
  • sell it online… or a combination of all!

Remember to have fun!!!

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