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How to have a good garage sale: 17 tips for turning trash into treasure

Turn your trash into treasure and clutter into cash with these fail-safe garage sale tips and tricks. As well as making a tidy profit, you might even have fun in the process! If you’re not sure how to have a good garage sale, we’ve got you covered.

A garage sale can take a lot of work to do well, but it’s worth the effort to put some time into thinking about how to have a good garage sale, whether you’ve moving house and want to declutter, or just want to earn some extra cash to go towards your financial goals!

We’ve compiled our favourite tips and tricks covering everything from what you need for a garage sale to how to advertise a garage sale.

How to have a good garage sale: Pick and display your items carefully

Tip #1: A good garage sale has a lot of different items for buyers to pick from.

If you don’t have a lot of stuff yourself, increase your stock by asking friends, neighbours and family members to contribute their unwanted items.

Tip #2: Don’t prejudge what buyers want.

Clothes, toys, furniture, knick-knacks, cassette tapes, kitchenware, old towels, appliances – working as new or in need of repair – may all find their way to new homes, if the price is right.

Tip #3: How will you display your items?

Clothes are better displayed on hangers and household goods on tables. ‘Merchandising,’ as it’s called in the retail trade, can be a powerful way to increase sales.

How to have a good garage sale: Plan the logistics

Tip #4: Garage sale hunters are generally early birds.

Most will expect an 8am start and many will turn up earlier.

Tip #5: Pick a weekend that doesn’t coincide with a holiday or special event.

If possible, take the weather into consideration. Even the most diehard bargain hunters can be put off by searing heat or freezing rain. Consider shade or a waterproof area if you think the elements may come into play.

Tip #6: Check with your local council for any rules or restrictions.

Most councils require that noise is kept to a minimum and all signage removed when the sale is over.

How to have a good garage sale: Advertise, advertise, advertise

Tip #7: Advertise your garage sale in as many places as possible!

You can advertise your garage sale in the classifieds section of your local newspaper or in the garage sale section of Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. Make sure the title includes your suburb and that the listing has your address, the types of items you’ll be selling, the event date(s), and a start and finish time. You might like to also include parking tips.

Tip #8: Create a separate online listing in other categories for any interesting or large items you’ll be selling.

For instance, if you’re selling a washing machine, list it separately on Marketplace under ‘washing machine’ and supply details of the garage sale in the description.

Tip #9: Garage sale signs are great for your local area.

You can make your own or buy ready-made templates from Officeworks or other stationery suppliers. The writing needs to be easily read from a moving car, so keep it big and simple. For example: Garage Sale! 123 Smith Lane TODAY! 8AM-4PM.

Tip #10: A letterbox drop is another great way to spread the word.

Not sure how to advertise with a flyer and need graphic design help? Canva’s free drag-and-drop graphic design software is free and easy to use. Search their online templates for ‘yard sale’ flyers.

How to have a good garage sale: Pricing and money matters

Tip #11: Price your items appropriately

Research similar second-hand items on eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, and put price stickers on your items before it starts.

Tip #12: When it comes to pricing, don’t go too low!

Bargain hunters love haggling, which means you need to leave some wriggle room for negotiating. Consider pricing small or multiple items in bundles. For example. one book for $2 or three for $5.

Tip #13: Go to the bank the day before

Make sure you have a good supply of $1 and $2 coins, and $5 notes – if you run out of change, selling will become difficult.

Tip #14: You’ll need somewhere secure to keep your cash.

Wear a pouch or apron with pockets. If you use a cash box, never leave it unattended!

Tip #15: Consider mobile digital payments

Letting people pay by card is possible with services such as Paypal, but beware of possible scams.

How to have a good garage sale: Make it fun and easy for buyers

Tip #16: Create a fun atmosphere

Make a playlist and decorate with colourful balloons and bright tablecloths. When people feel good, they feel like spending!

Tip #17: Do you have large items for sale? Will you offer delivery?

In terms of practical things, what do you need? Think about whether you need a hand truck or trolley to help buyers load their treasures.

How to have a good garage sale: Donate leftovers

When the sale ends, what will you do with leftover items? Donate them to a charity, church or community group? Have a plan for getting rid of all left over items the day after the sale. Clutter be gone!

Ready to find out more?

Do you feel like you know how to have a good garage sale now? We hope these tips and tricks help you have a day and turn your trash into treasure for a tidy profit!

Whatever your money goals, there is a MyBudget solution to help you reach them. Call 1300 300 922 or get started today

Ready to find out more?

Call 1300 300 922 or get started today

This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.