Garage sales are a great way to get rid of your household clutter and make some extra money. They're also are easy to plan and manage!
Holding your own garage sale is a great way to reuse old items instead of throwing them away. You don't need to apply for a permit to hold a garage sale on your property. Just ensure the sale is inside your property boundary and doesn't encroach onto the footpath area.
Seven simple steps for garage sales
1. Plan when you're going to hold your sale
Weekends are best. Avoid scheduling on public holidays or during special events. Make sure you schedule far enough in advance so that you can place a classified ad in the local newspaper and/or one or more of the national garage sale websites available.
2. Decide what items you're going to sell
This is a good chance to clean out every room of the house including the garage. If you haven’t used something in over a year, this is a worthy item for your garage sale.
3. Have a list of all your items
Take an inventory list of all the items you're planning to sell at the garage sale and note down a sale price per item. This will assist you if a price tag falls off an item.
4. Pricing your items
Everyone loves a bargain! If your plan is to sell everything by the end of the day, don’t overprice them. If some items are more valuable, a general rule is to price at ¼ of what you paid or less. Using brightly coloured labels will make it easier for your customers to find the price. If you have similar items (e.g. books) that are all the same price, put them all in one box and label the box rather than each individual item.
5. Presenting items for display
- Make sure all items are clean, dusted and any clothing washed and ironed.
- Hang clothing like dresses, suits, skirts, coats and jackets.
- Grouping items is recommended and placing items on long narrow tables works best.
- Make sure any items that need electricity are placed near an electrical source so people can test the item works before buying.
- Display large merchandise and some good items for both men and women so they can be easily seen from the roadside. This will entice people to stop and visit your garage sale.
- Don’t place items in boxes on the ground. It's easier for people to look through contents if placed on a table.
- Remember to place any glass or breakable items to the back of tables to protect against damage.
- Putting linen items together and wrapping with a pretty ribbon is appealing to buyers.
6. Signage for your garage sale
All signs should be placed within the boundaries of your property and not on the footpath, power poles or at street corners. Use plain, bold colours and simple lettering as it needs to be eye catching and legible to people driving by. State the date and time of the sale and - if you have room – some of the best items for sale. A good piece of thick cardboard cut from a box will be suitable for your sign.
7. Handling money
Ensure you have got a lot of change at home. Set up your cash table near the entrance. Keep large sums of money locked in the house and do not accept personal cheques.
You will also need a calculator, petty cash box, pencil and pen, your inventory list, newspaper to wrap valuables, empty boxes and a tape measure. Encourage people to bring their reusable bags to the sale instead of using plastic bags.
You're now ready to hold a garage sale! Be cheerful, get people talking and encourage haggling. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the rewards from your hard work.
- Be prepared for early birds. Decide before the sale day if you’re willing to accept people who arrive before the advertised time of your sale.
- Invite other family members or friends to bring along their items for sale as it will attract buyers by offering a wider selection.
- Let your neighbours know as a courtesy that you're holding a garage sale on a particular day.
- Relocate your car if necessary to ensure you have sufficient car parking available for buyers.
- Donate whatever items are left to a local charity.
- Remember that each customer that visits your sale is your guest, and you have certain legal and financial obligations if they get hurt on your property. Reduce your liability exposure by tidying up your yard and garage, and taking precautions to prevent injuries, especially to children. Place sharp or potentially dangerous objects out of kids’ reach.
Other Ways to Reuse Unwanted Items
If you have items you don’t need anymore that still have life left in them, or if there is something you need, visit the websites listed above in the More Reuse Ideas section.
These sites give you a variety of options including being able to place a free posting to either sell, give away for free or swap/trade an item. Car boot sales are another great way to reuse items and the Dapto markets hold one weekly as part of their Sunday market activities.
By using these sites you can save money by getting an item for free which you would normally have paid for. You are also saving indirectly by decreasing the amount of impact on our environment, saving precious resources used in manufacturing and reducing waste to landfill.
Charity organisations – Don’t Dump on a Charity. Make sure items are reusable, resalable, clean unsoiled and in working condition. Charity staff will assess items and let you know if they are willing to accept the items you are offering.
Public Clothing Recycling Bins – only place unsoiled reusable clothing, linen, blankets and manchester in these bins.
The Revolve Centre near the entrance to Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park is also open seven days, for residents to drop off pre-loved items that have some resale value for free. Staff at the Revolve Centre will decide whether or not items are acceptable for drop off.