So the time has come to clean out all the junks and stuff that you and your family no longer need? Perhaps you’re about moving into a new home, in another suburb and you want to get rid of as much things as possible to reduce the cost of hiring removalists.
You know you don’t need those items, your family don’t even touch them anymore, but somehow, at the back of your mind, you want to keep them because after all, things cost money right?
Why not setup a garage sale and get something back in return?
While an item may seem useless to you could in fact be very worthy to other people. Yes, everyone has different needs, especially when it comes to the standard of living. An old piece of furniture that you absolutely hated may actually be a vintage masterpiece for other people to add into their collection. Not to mention those end of the production cycle PC monitors or those old TVs. Ring any bells?
Believe it or not, people do pay for old items and do pay well, especially if they work and are in good conditions. A simple garage sale will certainly help you find these potential buyers, who are not expecting brand new goods. So the question here is, how do you setup a successful garage sale in your own home?
Here are some important steps to help you out.
Whether you’re thinking about doing a garage or a yard sale, planning plays an important role in determining the success of your sale event. Furthermore, well planned and thought out ideas will help you foresee any unexpected problems that may appear on the day and is the foundation of how to do a garage sale properly.
List and Gather Goods
This first thing you want to do is quickly go through the items that you’re planning to sell and search everywhere to ensure you have enough items to hold a proper garage sale. Let’s be honest, none of this will be worth your time if you only have 5 things to sell.
Go through your closets, double check your basement or attic if you have one and make sure you go through your drawers for those old mobile phones, cables and chargers as many elderly people actually prefer older and simpler technology. Get rid of those old CDs and DVDs because we’ve all got itune and netflix these days.
Note and mark down all the things that you would like to sell and this will give you a fair idea of the number of items altogether in total. From there, you can decide if a garage sale would be worth the sweat.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead, check with the local council for your suburb and ask if a permit is required for a garage sale or a yard sale that’s being held at your premise. Every council has their own policies to govern this area and they do subject to change. NSW laws might be different to other states such as VIC, SA, QLD and WA. A simple phone call is all it takes to get the latest law changes and policy updates.
Although most local councils are okay with residents setting up a garage sale from their own home, on their own private property, but it never hurts of play it safe. And while you’re on the phone with them, be sure to ask about their policies on garage sale signs, especially on public property such as light poles on the street. Don’t forget to tell them that you’ll remove those signs as soon as your sale has ended.
Choose a Date & Time
The worst thing you can do when choosing a date for your garage sale is to pick a weekday. The fact is, people are usually busy during weekdays, whether it is going to work, taking kids to and picking them up from school, doing grocery shopping, preparing dinner etc.
Therefore the best days to host this is the weekends, where most people are free from everyday duties. You also don’t want to hold it on a public holiday either, which mostly consist of long weekends, because most families will tend to go away during this period.
You will also want to choose a time that is convenient for people. The best time to choose is around the afternoon, any time between 2pm-5pm. Why is this a good time? Because you’re not affecting people’s lunch and dinner hours. Furthermore, it’ll give your neighbourhood something to do after a lunch feed, perhaps to walk off those calories while shopping for bargains.
Type of sale / Incentives
This is the time to brainstorm all the ideas to make your garage sale a success. Think about whether a garage is enough for the possession you’re trying to sell. For example, a few cupboards and cabinets can easily fill up your garage. By then, you may need to extend it into your back yard or front garden, ultimately making it a yard sale.
Think about some incentives for attracting people to your day sale. Are you going to provide FREE drinks and snacks? If yes, then make sure you mention it when doing your advertising. Another attention grabbing title or subtitle that could attract buyers is to advertise cheap price. Yes! A small sentence such as “Price Starts from $2” will certainly make a few people think.
Advertising and Marketing
So now that you’ve decided to go ahead with this and plans in place, you will want to get the words out there as quickly as possible. This is the perfect time to do a little marketing work and magic.
Let’s face it, there’s really no use opening up your garage and showcasing your “gems” when no one even turns up at your doorstep, right? So why not learn about how to advertise a garage sale properly? A little work upfront can do wonders to the outcome of your house hosted event.
Word of mouth
Nothings works faster and more effectively than word of mouth advertising, if you would call it that. The best thing is it doesn’t even cost you a cent! Simply knock a few doors and get the words out there in your neighbourhood and you will be surprise how quickly words spread.
Think about all the stay at home housewives! No offence, but women, especially mums possessed one of the best skills in communicating great deals, bargain deals! And garage sale is about getting second hand bargains that you may find valuable.
An old fashion way to market your garage sale is to place a piece of note or “post it” onto the noticeboards that are available across your local community. You will normally find notice boards like these in your local library or community centre. Just pin a note onto one of these with your garage sale details, the date and preferably your mobile contact number should people have questions.
As a courtesy call, you may want to advise one of the staff members just so that they know you’re not spamming the community with unnecessary notices. And if you remember the first point above, they may even help you spread the words too.
Sometimes you may even spot one of these boards inside your local shopping centre or plaza, usually in the entrance area. You may want to put one up there as these places attract many daily visitors.
Signage and Posters
One of the best ways to advertise your garage sale is to put signs and posters on your streets. Just stick one or 2 pieces of paper onto the telegraph poles at the start and end of the street. This way, anyone who is living on the same street as you will know what’s happening.
You can also place stand up signs on the corners of streets around your suburb, like the ones that real estate agents use to attract people to their open house inspections. You can use a cardboard to do this. Just make sure your signage is visibly clear with the word “GARAGE SALE”, with an arrow pointed towards your home and make sure you include your full address, phone number, date and time of the sale.
Always consult with local authorities to ensure you’re not doing anything illegal when putting these signs up. Every suburb is different and some councils may have banned it outright, so just double check in case you get yourself into trouble.
Another way is to ask local shop owners and see if you can place a poster on their shop front window. This is a good legal way to attract people within your local suburb, provided that the shop owner allows. That’s why it pays to be good to people, especially businesses around your home town.
Online & Social Media
What better ways to promote your garage sale than using online platforms such as social media. Networks like facebook and twitter can bring massive attention to your posts and these posts are seen by your friends and families. Simply post the details and ask your fb friends to share it out with their other friends. Although it is very unlikely to get viral, but you can rest assure that it’ll capture a few eyeballs.
There are many websites online that you can use to advertise your garage sales with. Some of them are like classified ads sites that are locally targeted to your major city. A lot of them will let your post your event for free, although some do charge a small fee for listing an ad on their site.
Here are some Australian sites for you to try out.
- Trading Post
- Gazzas Garage Sales
- News Classified
- Garage Sale Trail
- Quokka (WA only)
Some of the above sites have massive traffic and daily visitors that goes on there looking for bargains they can hunt down. What makes them best is that they have categories that are tailored to local audiences that are only interested in the suburbs or towns that they can get to in person.
Now that you have started advertising and getting the words out in the neighbourhood, there’s really no turning back. It’s now time for action and to start preparing for that day!
Clean up and setup your garage
Regardless of how many items are being sold on the day, you will want to do some cleaning up and tidying work in your garage beforehand. The same can be said to your front yard or backyard too, if you’re thinking about doing a yard sale instead.
The truth is people are willing to pay more when they are inside a clean tidy place, whether it is a shop, a store or a garage in your home. Think about it, if you entered the sale and the place is a trash, filthy and dirty, you’re not going to be willing to pay too much for the items, right?
It’s all part of human shopping psychology, so by making your home and especially your garage area nice and comfortable, it’ll give the impression that the products or items that you’re selling are worth more. At least the buyer will think that the item has been well looked after and maintained. Why? Because the surrounding
Sorting items to SELL!
The last thing you want to do is to sell goods that you will regret later down the track. Like that picture frame from your wedding? So make the effort to sort out the stuff that you really and ONLY want to sell. Because once it’s sold, it is gone forever.
Another thing you’ll want to do is to group items that are similar or belong to the same categories. For example, place cookwares together with other kitchenware, put your cups, mugs and plates near other cutlery sets, that tool box with your other tools, those chairs, mirrors and cupboards along with other furniture.
By grouping and organising similar goods together, you are not confusing your potential customers with things scattered everywhere. You will also be able to pin point exactly where a particular item is should a buyer asks. This way, it will ensure that your day go a lot smoother and quicker.
Once you have gathered and sorted all the things that you would like to sell, it is time to price them and price them right! Your neighbours and local residents who are living nearby saw your advertisements. They are interested to come have a look and maybe pick up a few bargains or two. So the worst possible thing you can do is to run your garage sale like a department store.
Always remember that you’re selling second hand items and that your main goal here is to get rid of these items, as much as possible at decent prices. As a general rule, you will want to price most items, especially small, out of fashion items around the $5 to $10 range.
Large pieces of furniture such as a coffee table, a TV cabinet etc, you can set from $30 to $100 range. As long as your possessions are in good condition, people will pay for it.
Chances are you’re not going to price your item something flashy such as $2.95 or $19.95, but it’ll help tremendously to have all the small coins and note changes ready.
Prepare lots of $1 and $2 coins, then $5 and $10 notes because these will be used the most. If you don’t have enough change at home, then simply go to your nearest bank the day before your sale and you will be able to get all the changes you need for the day.
Useful Tip: Place all the changes into a waist bag and wear it on the day so that you’ll have it ready when a customer prepares to pay.
Anything for FREE?
Believe it or not, everyone loves FREE stuff! Whether it is FREE water, a FREE pack of chips, a small mint lolly, whatever it is but as long as it is free, people will love it! Furthermore, shoppers are more willing to open their wallet once they accepted something FREE.
It’s all part of human nature and if you can give something before receiving, you’re doing your garage sale no harm. In fact, your community will love you for it. They will get to know you more and it is a great way to introduce yourself, while getting the conversation going. From there, the selling part should become much easier.
Get Ready For The Big Day!
So the big day finally arrived and it’s now time to start engaging with the people who made it to your venue. Start by introducing yourself and welcome them into your home. Tell them that you’re here if they have any questions and then just let them do their own shopping.
Don’t be pushy
The last thing you want to do when holding a garage sale is to become a pushy salesperson. The same can be said if you’re going into a store, you just don’t want people following and nagging besides your ears while you’re looking for something to buy.
Just smile and leave them alone. Ideally you will want to sit in a position where you can continue to greet new comers and be be attentive when people insides starts asking you questions. If possible, ask a family member, a friend or a relative to help out on the day.
Prepare to bargain
Garage sales are full of bargin hunters and that’s the truth. So be prepare for people who are willing to go the distance to negotiate better deals from you.
Instead of lowering the sales price, try throwing in an extra item for free. Remember, your end goal here is to get rid of as much of these things as possible. So even if you’re just throwing in an extra fork or a spoon, people will still think that they are getting value for money and are more willing to finalise the deal.
What about leftovers?
Unless you’re doing a FREE round “on the house” at the last hour of your sale, you’ll most likely be left with a few items that are not sold on the day. Now is the time to decide what to do with these leftovers.
- Were they left behind because they are in bad shape?
- Were the prices marked too high?
- Are they personal items that no one wants to buy?
- You have no idea?
These are the types of questions that will help you purpose the next route to take. For example, if you simply marked an item too dear because you truly believe they are worth a lot more than what you’ve set. Then by all means, take this item to ebay and sell it at an auction.
Otherwise, you may want to donate these to charity and the universe will thank you for it!
Here are 3 large Australian charities for you to consider:
These major charities have stores and collection facilities all over Australia for you to drop off these donation goods. Some organisations even provide pick up services for the inconvenient, but most importantly, you will be making a difference to the society.
So whether you have clothing left over from the garage sale, toys, books or old pieces of furniture that you’re happy to give away for the needed, then just pay them a visit.
Just enjoy it!
Yes, that’s it.
While holding a garage sale is no easy task, hosting a successful one is an even tougher assignment. Now that you have this guide to help you out with all tips and advice on how to run a great one, so why not use this opportunity to meet others who are living in the same suburb, the same community as you?
Use this time to really meet and get to know the people around your neighbourhood. At the same time, give them an opportunity to learn about you, show them your true character while exchanging some unwanted goods for some extra cash. Make up your own rules using our garage sale ideas and just enjoy the whole experience.