I have been wanting to hold a garage sale ever since I moved into my new place a year ago and filled our garden shed with boxes that I had been hoarding since high school. Deciding that I couldn’t possibly hold onto my ‘best friends forever’ photo frames and ‘Happy 18th’ yard glasses for another second, I quickly created a Facebook event. I gave myself one week to get my shit together and find everything that I wanted to sell. I knew that a few of my friends also had things that they were wanting to sell, so I invited them to bring along their stuff and create a mini market on my front lawn.
This was the first garage sale that I have thrown as an adult. My Mum used to have them all the time when I was growing up, and my little sister and I loved helping her set up and haggling with people over $2 mugs.
The first thing I did was create an ad on the Facebook Marketplace, listing all of the obvious information including the date, address, time etc. I also added a list of the types of items that I was selling to attract more specific buyers. I made sure to include the terms “no holds and no door knockers thank you,” serious Garage Sale Goers rock up crazy early, so I did not want people tapping on my door at 5am. I also didn’t want a million messages prior to the day from people wanting me to hold specific items for them. I copied and pasted the details from my Facebook Marketplace ad into two of my Buy Swap Sell Groups, one for my local suburb and one for all of Brisbane. A lovely lady commented on one of my ads and invited me to join a South East Queensland Garage Sale Page, so I posted the ad on there as well.
Gumtree is a good place to advertise on as well because a lot of people use it especially to find garage sales. However, I did get a lot of people messaging me on there asking me to hold items and haggling with me before I even told them the price. I did consider not replying but that felt a little rude, so I just let people know that I wasn’t doing holds and told them I’d see them on the day.
Lastly, I went old school and plastered my neighbourhood with homemade signs. It wasn’t until my 5th sign on the main road that I thought to myself “this doesn’t seem legal” and sure enough when I got home and checked my local council’s website I realised that is was in fact not allowed. So I recommend checking your local council site before you put time and effort into signs. Full disclosure, I did leave the signs up and that is what attracted most of my customers but I did take them down as soon as it finished and spent the whole night feeling like a felon and waiting for the sound of sirens.
Where I Went Right
I started at 7am, just early enough to catch all of the serious Garage Sale Goers. This was a good decision because I made 85% of my money in the first hour!
I priced everything the night before and set up the clothes rack, I made sure everything was clean and ready to be put out as soon as I woke up.
I invited organised friends with good merchandise and lots of brand name items so the sale looked really full and enticing.
The day before the sale I checked how much each item was worth on eBay, and I am so glad that I did because I nearly ripped myself off. When I was going through a box of kitchen items that hadn’t been opened since 2012, I found a set of casserole dishes that I had been given by my Aunt when I first moved out of home. She has super classy taste and they looked kind of antique-ish so I googled the details underneath and it turns out they are now worth $150 each!!! The same thing happened to my friend Molly who unknowingly bought a vintage gold mine hidden in a box of toys to sell. My eyes lit up with dollar signs when I saw that one of them was a Rainbow Boom Crystal Series Furby, find out why in the Vintage 90’s Toys edition of the How to Sell Your Stuff Series.
Where I Went Wrong
We had a great rush of about 20 people in the first 2 hours and then nothing. Not a single soul! After hours of pondering in our deck chairs, we came to the conclusion that the reason for the lack of customers was because we had the sale on a Sunday instead of a Saturday so we had missed out on all of the usual garage sale crowd. It was also insanely hot, the kind of heat that keeps people locked inside with the air conditioner on.
What I’ll Do Next Time
I will definitely be holding my next garage sale on a Saturday. I’ll be starting at 6:30am to make sure I catch the serious shoppers. I’ll be even more organised next time with items ready for sale in big storage containers and buckets, so all I have to do is put them out in the morning. This time around I started setting everything up on blankets 30 minutes prior to starting and had three people waiting, watching my every move like they were seagulls and I had a was a chip sandwich.
We are also going to try a different location next time, a house closer to the main road, with more traffic.
I’ll also be posting more pictures of the items I have for sale and listing all of the brands in my advertisements.
How Much Did I Make
So you’re probably wondering if all of that effort was worth it in the end? In the first 2 hours, I made $60 which is not a lot, however, what happened after made it totally worthwhile.
As we were packing up we decided to take photos of everything we had for sale and posted it all on Buy Swap Sell and eBay that afternoon. Within an hour my friend Amber had someone offer to buy ALL of the clothes that she had put up for sale on a Buy Swap Sell Page. I sold a teapot, a play mat, a baby rocker and two boxes of baby clothes, taking my tally to $140! My other two friends have since sold some of their items on the Facebook Marketplace.
We all managed to sort out some clutter, and I have donated most of what I didn’t sell to charity. All in all, I would call it a success, I had a super fun day with my friends, I managed to clear out my shed, and I got some extra cash out of it!
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