Garage sale tips for making more money

07 Dec 09 / Posted by: Jessica

Hands up if you’re a hoarder? Don’t worry – you’re in good company, all of us are guilty of hanging on to stuff we don’t have space for and probably don’t really need.

We recently calculated that we spend $70 a month for the privilege of keeping a motley collection of old cardboard boxes and unused sports gear in a storage ock-up down the road – that’s $840 a year that’s literally disappearing into thin air!

So what to do about it? Online auction site Trade Me is always an option but for ease of operation – not to mention a great excuse to meet the neighbours – you can’t beat a good old-fashioned garage sale.
Not only will you declutter your house without the hassle and expense of a trip to the rubbish dump – you could also earn yourself some decent extra cash while you’re at it. So be ruthless, liberate!

For those of you who are out of practice, here are some tips:

When deciding what to sell

Use the one-year rule: if you haven’t used, thought about or needed something in a year, it’s probably time to pass it on (children and wedding gifts excluded, of course).

Saturday morning garage sale

The traditional time for holding garage sales in New Zealand, but it’s worth running it over Sunday too if you still have items left over. Just make sure you check the date doesn’t clash with any other major events –unless it means there will be more traffic going past your front gate than usual, in which case that can actually be a bonus

Invite your neighbors and friends

Do your friends a favour and invite them to join in and sell their stuff as well

Know what your things are worth can provide a useful guide – and then price everything at least 20% lower to be realistic. Remember, moving stuff on is the key.

Check everything works!

Make sure electrical items are working and have a power socket/extension lead handy so people can test them for themselves

Advertise your garage sale

Community newspapers are a great place to post a listing, and the notice board in your local supermarket and are worth considering too. On the day, make sure you put signs up on the main streets within a couple of blocks of your home with your address clearly noted.

Don’t sleep in before your garage sale

You can expect bargain hunters (especially second-hand traders) to start calling by at least half an hour before your advertised time.

Have petty cash on hand

Have at least $50 in coins and small change on hand – you don’t want to have to take cheques if you can avoid it. A money belt and calculator can be useful.

Presentation is key

Make sure items are clean, hang clothes on a rack if you can, and group similar objects together so people can find what they’re looking for easily

Involve your kids if you can

It’s a great opportunity to teach them the value of things and getting them to tidy up their rooms while they’re at it. You could consider letting them keep what they earn or you may choose to pool the profits and put them towards a special family purchase or trip.

Anything you don’t sell can be put on Trade Me or given to charity – the Refugee Association, Salvation Army or local church will all be grateful for the chance to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure.
And one final word of warning: remember to make sure you’re not accidentally parting with any secretly-stashed treasures or family heirloom for a fossiker to find – empty everything thoroughly before you put it up for sale.

What are your garage sale tips?

Tell us some of your tips. We would love to hear from you!

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