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A Guide to a Successful Garage Sale

A Guide to a Successful Garage Sale

A garage sale is a great way to declutter your home and earn some extra cash. If you’re looking to unburden your home of unused items, a garage sale is a fun and profitable way to do so. In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to organise a successful garage sale in Australia, and how to account for your sales and proceeds. 

Plan ahead

The first step in organising a garage sale is to plan ahead. Choose a date and time that is convenient for you and your potential customers. Saturdays and Sundays are the most popular days for garage sales in Australia, and it’s best to schedule the sale early in the day to take advantage of early birds. Check the weather forecast for your chosen date and have a backup plan in case of rain, especially if you are using your garage or driveway.

Some storage experts recommend clearing the sale as well with your local council, as they may have requirements for public gatherings on private property. This will be critical in light of the current health situation; even with Australia’s relaxed restrictions, you still want to ensure the safety of your customers. You will also need to enlist loved ones for added security, due to the danger of theft when a garage sale is located in an open venue.  

Advertise your garage sale

To attract customers, you need to let them know about your garage sale:

  • Make eye-catching signs and place them at strategic locations, such as major intersections, to direct traffic to your sale. 
  • Advertise in local newspapers and on community noticeboards.
  • In addition to putting up signs in your neighbourhood, consider advertising your garage sale on social media. You can create a Facebook event and invite your friends and family, as well as share the event in local buy and sell groups.

These can help you reach a wider audience and increase the chances of a successful sale.

Setting the prices

When pricing your items, be realistic and set reasonable prices. Remember that the goal of a garage sale is to sell items, not to make a profit. If you have items that are particularly valuable, consider selling them online or at a consignment store instead. Be prepared to haggle with buyers and offer discounts for multiple purchases, especially when several items attract a single customer’s interest. The prices will also depend on whether they are in good condition or in the case of a set, all pieces are accounted for. 

In a related tangent, you must have adequate loose change ready for your customers, especially since garage sales could have much activity and you need to transact fast and in exact amounts. 

Organise the items

Sort and organise your items into categories such as clothing, toys, books, and kitchenware. Display your items in an organised and appealing manner to make them more attractive to potential buyers. Use tables, racks, and shelves to display your items and make sure they are clearly labelled with the prices you carefully assessed beforehand. In an interview with the Guardian, veteran seller Chantal Troccaz said putting certain items in a specific bundle and setting a decent price may help expedite the sale.

For example, if you have a certain author’s complete line of books about a single character and storyline such as John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the War Began saga or the Star Wars’ Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn (before the Legends rebrand), put them all in a single bundle and set a proper price. You might even help some book collectors in search of an entire line but could not afford to spend so much time getting each book piecemeal.


Establish a system for accounting your sales and proceeds. Set up a cash box and keep it in a secure location, such as your garage or home. Keep a log of your sales and record the price and item sold. At the end of each day, count the money in the cash box and reconcile it with your log. Keep a running total of your sales and expenses to ensure you stay within your budget.

What happens to unsold items?

At the end of the garage sale, you may have some unsold items left over. Consider donating them to charity or giving them away to friends and family, in addition to putting them on consignment or an online marketplace. Unless you are planning a second garage sale, do not hold on to items that you no longer need, as this defeats the purpose of the garage sale.

Financial planning

Garage sales are a great way to generate a deal of cash, but they can also provide an opportunity for financial planning. If you’re looking to save money or pay off debts, consider setting a financial goal for your garage sale. Determine how much money you would like to earn and plan your sale accordingly. Use the proceeds from your garage sale to pay off debt, build an emergency fund, or save for a specific goal.

That’s where a notable finance app like UBOMI can help you make sense of how your sale went. If you have been able to put your sales in the bank, the app will monitor the status of your balance and project the potential savings, given sound management.

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If you liked our “A Guide to a Successful Garage Sale” and find it useful, check our blogs regularly for more information to get updates on UBOMI’s budget app and expense tracker.