How to Hold a Garage Sale

Garage SaleWhether you’re moving, going overseas, or have just realized it’s getting a bit crowded in your share house, having a garage sale can be a great way to get rid of stuff and make a few bucks. So how do you make it happen?

Choose a date

Just pick a date! Maybe a Saturday a month or two from now. Pick a date and stick to it. If you don’t have a garage, use a carport, yard, entrance area, open car boot… Garage doesn’t have to mean garage. Also, choose a start time to advertise. Don’t make it too early as some keen people will undoubtedly show up even earlier.

Start telling people + advertise

Tell your housemates (if you have them) that you’re having a garage sale and if they want in, they better start sorting their stuff out now. You might also tell a friend/sibling/whoever to bring around a tub of stuff they want to get rid of. If there’s a bigger spread on the day, it makes the sale look more appealing. (Work out a system beforehand for how you will collect the money; keeping an inventory of sales under each name and splitting the money at the end works OK.)

Create a Facebook event invite, email your friends, put up printed signs around the neighborhood, and advertise on Gumtree and in local community newspapers, magazines or street press. Make sure you mention anything outstanding to attract the right buyers, ie. whether you’re offering vintage dresses, tons of books, or big items like furniture or appliances.

Go through all your stuff

Grab some boxes or tubs (ask around local stores for boxes) and start going through your clothes, books, DVDs etc. to decide what you really want/need and what you don’t. If anything is really old or scruffy, consider putting it in a tub labeled ‘free’ on the day of the sale. An easy way to get it off your hands.

Price items

Either buy some stickers from the newsagent and start pricing items (the cheaper the better, though be open to bargaining with people on the day) or else sort the items into different containers for different price points. For example, you might have a tub of books that says ‘$2 each’ and a tub of assorted items that are ‘$3 each’. You might also make deals like: ‘dresses – $5 each or 3 for $10′.

Set up

Make sure everything is sorted and priced the day before, ready to be carried out in tubs, boxes or suitcases. Also make sure you go to the bank and have a ‘float’ ready with $100 or so in different denominations, so that you will be able to provide change. (Keep money on you, in a nerdy bag or similar.) You will need to start setting up about an hour before the advertised start time. If people arrive way too early, it’s up to you whether you would like to let them rummage or whether you want to tell them to come back (you have every right to). Setting up early means you can also make last minute adjustments to prices if you’ve changed your mind! Have your float and your ledger/record book (if needed) with you, a comfortable chair and maybe a book for those inevitable lulls. If you’re the only one running the sale, hopefully you’ve arranged for someone to cover you for short breaks.

Give good customer service

Greet people as they arrive, and be open to their offers if you think they are fair. If you give good service, they might tell their friends that day and it’ll result in more customers. If you’re friendly they’re more likely to be friendly so it’ll also make it a more pleasurable day for you!

Get rid of the rest of the stuff

Whether the day has been a success or not, you’re likely to end up with some leftovers. You could offer them very cheaply to your final customers, or else, depending what type of items they are, you might want to take photos of them (as a package or separately) and offer them for sale on Gumtree or Ebay, though there may be fees involved. The best option, since you’ve decided you really don’t need these items, is to pack them in a car or a few suitcases, and take them down to your local charity shop as donations.

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