The Making of a Good Garage Sale

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There's nothing like a good garage sale. You sort through years of clutter and pick what you want to sell. When it comes to G-Day, you set everything out on your driveway, spread onto the lawn, grab a chair and wait. When no-one turns up after a few hours you begin to wonder: what did we do wrong? What could we have done - or done better? If you've been the victim of G-Day flops, then read on.

Garage Sales

What day did you pick? Was it a public holiday? Was a storm forecast or, as in Australian summers, a 40+ degree day? People are less likely to come out on a public holiday to scour garage sales; they want to spend the day recovering from the previous night or catch up with other working friends and family members. Likewise, a good beach day will see people at the beach, not driving from garage sale to garage sale. Saturdays are a good day for a garage sale.

Advertise. Your local papers and shopping centre noticeboards are the best places - some are even free and if they do charge, the cost is usually quite small. There are online advertisement sites where you can place your notices; make sure you include items that are usually in high demand such as kids' clothes and baby furniture, books and appliances. Put up signs if your property is difficult to find for people not familiar with your area - something at a roundabout or intersection is great for directing peoplei. Try and team up with neighbours so you can take advantage of shared advertising costs, or ask family and friends if they want to sell anything and share the costs that way.

Price your items, and price them reasonably. People want a great deal at a garage sale - if items aren't a bargain, they won't be interested. If you think an item is worth more than a potential customer is offering, then perhaps you aren't ready to let it go. Keep prices low. You're better off selling a heap of stuff for smaller prices than one or two bigger things at high prices.

Be prepared to negotiate. It's better to sell your unwanted items for slightly less than you were hoping than to plan another garage sale to get rid of them - or find room to store them again. As mentioned, if you think an item is worth more, think again about whether you really want to sell it. Customers don't have the same emotional connection to object as you, and can't see their value beyond how much they're willing to pay for it.

Have a float - people want bargains, and asking them to forgo change won't make them happy; you could potentially lose a sale. In the spirit of getting rid of old clutter, be prepared to offer items for slightly less if you can't make their change. However by pricing things in, say, even numbers such as $2, $4 etc you can arrange for a float consisting of $2 coins and some larger notes. If you price things by lots of $5, make sure you have plenty of $5 and $10 notes on hand.

Items for Sale

Mark clearly what is for sale and what isn't. Close your garage door if you don't want people wandering through and asking how much your lawn mower and scooters are selling for. Secure all your valuables and keep what you can't secure out of sight as much as possible. Any large items, such as furniture, should be closer to the road so people can see from the street that you have a garage sale - it also makes them easier to move once they're sold.

Sell in bulk. Bundle up things like books and baby clothes (place clothes in bags according to sex and size) and offer them at a cheaper price. People will see a pile of items and a great deal, rather than a lot of separate items for separate prices. Be careful how you bundle them so that they're not damaged as a result.

Lastly, have somewhere for people to try the items - a power lead for people to test appliances before they buy; a spare bathroom for them to try on clothes. People want a bargain, and it won't be a bargain for them if it doesn't work or fit.

With a little forethought and preparation, you can make your G-Day a success and reclaim space in your garage for things like your car! Being able to park your car in a garage not only means a lower car insurance premium but can also prevent the weather from prematurely ageing its bodywork.