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How to hold a garage sale…from someone who made a lot of mistakes

Image by TMag from Pixabay

I’ve been trying to clear out my garage for YEARS! (I’m embarrassed to point this out, but you can read two older blog posts on this same topic here and sadly, here). With the recent addition of an electric vehicle to our family, it was critical we make some space for the charging area – gas prices finally convinced us it was time to trade in the old V6 – so, we decided to host a garage sale.

While our garage sale wasn’t a disaster, it certainly had ample room for improvement.

What-Not-to-do When Hosting a Garage Sale

1. Don’t leave your advertising until the last minute

I knew we were going to do the garage sale for weeks, but we didn’t fully commit until the day before, which meant our classified ad letting people know about our garage sale didn’t go up until the day before! Thankfully, a nice couple up the road did put their ad on Used.ca well in advance and we were able to put up an old fashioned poster on a telephone pole near their house to draw some of their crowd

2. Don’t forget the price tags or price groupings

I had good intentions of putting coloured stickies on my things to indicate price groups: .25¢, $1, $2, $5, etc. However, I ran out of time. The worst part about it was that when people would ask me how much something was, I’d blurt out “ummm, $4?” and they’d give me $3 for an item I could have easily received $20 for if I’d sold it on Used.ca

3. Don’t sleep in

Apparently, Garage Salers are also Early Birds, and anyone that knows me, knows I am not an early riser! I didn’t do any research on garage sales and turns out, primetime garage saling happens between 7 am – noon. I tried to start ours at 9:30 am…but let me tell you, no one respected my warning of “no early birds” in my ad

4. Selling a $300 SMEG Toaster at a garage sale will get you laughs, not $300

I kinda knew this going in, but when people asked me how much the toaster was and I told them I wanted $200 for it, they thought I was nuts! This crowd did not appreciate my “countertop bling.” I loved the lady who said, “Oh dear, this belongs on UsedVictoria.com, you’ll get more money for it there.” (don’t I know it!)

Tips for Hosting a Garage Sale (aka: things I actually pulled off!)

1. Load your more valuable items on Used.ca at the same time

I made more cash the day after our garage sale by selling only three items on Used.ca

2. Give it away!

At the end of your garage sale, gather the stuff you don’t mind giving away for free; take a couple pictures and then post an ad on your local Used.ca site. The free section helps things move fast!

3. Merchandise

Treat your garage sale like a store. Group like items together and make sure the items are visible.

4. Set up a user profile on Used.ca

This will make things SO much easier. I could update all my ads in one place. For example, as I loaded each item, I’d put in a shameless plug for our garage sale: “come and see this and my other items at our garage sale today until 2pm.” Then, when the sale ended, it took me no time to edit my ads to remove the mention of the garage sale

5. Use the Used.ca app!

It was so fast and easy to use. If you downloaded it when we first released it and haven’t used it in a while, try again – we’ve made some huge improvements…posting an item for sale takes under a minute

6. Be ready to chat with friendly people carrying zip-lock bags of change

Garage sale folks are looking for a day out as well as a bargain. I thought I’d need a float of coins to make change, but these clients know what they are doing

My “free” pile

What I learned

In the end, we pulled in $132. While the day wasn’t exactly a money-maker, it did clear out a lot of space in our garage and I’m happy to see those items go to people who will use them. It was also a really sunny day and it was nice spending it in our front yard, under our tree in full bloom, talking to friendly people.

The huge lesson for me here was that I shouldn’t let stuff pile up – from now on, I will pull out my Used.ca app and sell stuff immediately!

Share your garage sale life lessons below…

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