I Held a Group Garage Sale And This is How it Went

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.

Garage Sale Day

Advertising

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.

Marketplace Ad
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.

Garage Sale Ad

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.

Clothes Racks

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.

Seagull Giphy

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.

Photo by Amber Schmidt

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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How to Sell Your Stuff: Babies and Kids Clothes

Welcome back to the How to Sell Your Stuff series. Next up we are going to raid the kid’s rooms.

If you are like me and your kids have nicer stuff than you do, then this room is the money maker!

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My family and friends love spoiling my kids rotten so their cupboards are filled with goodies. You’ll find me out and about in active wear and a hobo bun next to two kids dressed in Country Road and Seed. I keep my kids clothes in great condition and sell them as soon as they grow out of them so that I can start stocking up on the next size.

My best friend gave me two life-changing tips for keeping clothes looking like new:

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This Rechargeable Lint Remover from Kmart is the best $10.00 I have ever spent. It gets rid of pilling (the little balls) and makes clothes look brand new!
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This Stain-Lift by White King from Woolworths gets everything out from chocolate to blood! Just spray it on as soon as possible. It is even safe to use on colour.

Now let’s get started…

Designer Clothes

Start by sorting the designer clothes into brand specific piles, the best place to sell these is on Facebook Buy Swap Sell (BSS) groups. There are hundreds of kids BSS groups! Before you get started, go and join all of your local suburb/city kids BSS groups and then join the brand specific groups. There are groups for Bonds, Seed, Country Road, Witchery, Cotton On, Bardot Jnr, if it’s cute there’s a group! Read the page rules carefully before you post anything, each group has specific posting guidelines. For example, some make you post a collage of everything you’re selling and then post individual photos in the comments.

Now that you’ve joined the groups and read the rules, put your post together, including clear pictures, prices, sizes, the item condition and location (suburb only). If you post the item/s in multiple groups make sure you add “advertised elsewhere” in the description.

Handmade Boutique Clothes

You know that little cake smash dress that you spent months looking for and your cherub wore once? It was all worth it, not just because of the cute pics, but because, handmade items from well known local brands do well on BSS. Be clever with your posting times, don’t try selling your Christmas and Easter rompers in the middle of the year! Get your post together and put it up on your local suburb/city kids BSS groups.

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Non-Designer Clothes

There are a few ways to sell non-designer clothes on BSS…

Bundle – You can do size bundles but, don’t expect to get more than $20 regardless of the amount you are selling. Lay all the clothes out neatly and take a photo of the lot. Post this image as the main photo, then take individual pictures and post them in the comments.

Individually You can sell them individually, but do it all in the same post, group administrators hate it when you post hundreds of different items in one go and spam the page. Use the same format as above in ‘Bundle’ but include the individual prices under each picture in the comments.

Gold Coin Sale – If you are keen to sell them quickly and you have a lot, post them as a Gold Coin thread! Use an image of a ‘sale sign’ or something equally eye-catching. Post individual pictures of items in the comments. Under each image add the words ‘Gold Coin Sale’ as well as the usual information including the size and item condition. Include the same details in the post’s description. Because the items are so cheap you should also include the phrases ‘pick up ASAP’ and ‘no holds’ to prevent no-shows.

After a week or so when people have finished commenting, I usually post whatever is left as a free bundle. If you choose to do this make sure you only post in one group at a time because people get back to you FAST and it is hard to keep up with who wrote sold first. I have literally been verbally abused by a toothless woman who believed she commented ‘sold’ before another lady did. Needless to say, I did NOT give her the clothes.

Brand New With Tags

If you have anything with tags still attached (like me because my daughter grows faster than the speed of light) post them on eBay. Start with the retail price and see if you have any luck, you can always lower it after a week if it doesn’t sell or, select ‘make me an offer’ if you are happy to accept less. Make sure you include BNWT (Brand New With Tags) in the listing title and description, also include photos of the tags in your post.

You can try and sell BNWT items on BSS but they don’t do as well. BSS groups are a place to get a good deal not a place to pay the full retail price. Also, the mothers (or fathers) in these group are savvy shoppers so don’t try fooling them! There is nothing worse than seeing someone who has gone and bought a bunch of kids clothes at outlet sales and tried to sell them on BSS groups for the full retail price. It’s fine if you want to do this, and it is quite a good way to make some extra cash but sell the stuff on eBay, not BSS.

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Shoes

Shoes are a pretty safe bet when it comes to making a decent sale. Because let’s face it, kids feet grow a warped speed, so they are generally in pretty good condition. Excellent condition shoes sell well on eBay, whilst well-used shoes are best sold on BSS and the Facebook marketplace.

Swaddles

Love To Dream Swaddles (every new Mums dream) are one of the most popular items on BSS. Make sure that you are honest about their condition, don’t be a d*ck and try to fob off sweat and drool stained swaddles to unsuspecting strangers. I paid $25 for a swaddle that looked brand new in the photo and when it arrived it had mouldy stains on the hands so I had to throw it away! This was my first purchase on BSS and because I was new to the group, I didn’t know what to do about it. Now if there are not enough pictures of an item I will ask to see more before I purchase it, especially if it is being posted to me. I also always ask if the item is from a smoke-free home, especially if it is a swaddle. I have since bought 3 more from different people on BSS and they have all been perfect. Swaddles that are in good condition can sell from $15 to $30.

Baby Bag

If you and your kids have outgrown your baby bag and you need the cash to buy a grown-up purse and a few backpacks you might be in luck! Bags such as the Mimco Lucid Baby Bag are still in high demand. I recently sold my tan, 3-year-old (bag not child) on eBay for $150! It even had a few scuff marks (which I posted photos of on eBay). Brands like Oroton and Skip Hop do well on eBay as well. If you have a non-designer bag in good condition post it on BSS.

Happy selling!

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