How to make money out of your household junk

Tips to ensure your garage sale is the best on your block!

De-cluttering has been on pretty much everyone’s mind ever since Japanese organising guru Marie Kondo urged us to consider whether a pair of old socks “sparked joy” in us or not.

So if you’re thinking of downsizing, or just want a good spruce up, then throwing a successful garage sale is something you need to master. Not to mention make money out of items you’re no longer getting any use from.

“Not only does getting rid of stuff make your house look and feel so much better, it’ll make you a tidy little sum, and will also add value if you are thinking of selling your house,” senior manager from mortgage lender State Custodians Home Loans Anouska Linz said.

“If you want to downsize, then buyers won’t exactly be duking it out to pay top dollar for a home which looks like it’s bursting with junk and has no storage!”

Here Linz — herself a seasoned garage sale expert — gives us her tips on how to make the most of your clean out.

1. Ensure you have a good haul of items to sell

Firstly make sure you have lots of items to offer. A few old blouses and a handful of ancient vases does not a garage sale make! If you don’t think you have enough, rope in your loved ones to contribute a few more things.

2. Choose a popular time and day

In general Saturdays are a good day for a garage sale as most people are out and about, whereas Sunday is more of a lazy day. Start in the morning — say 9am. However, check out your council’s website first. It’s a good idea to make sure there are no other major events happening that day as well so you ensure the best footfall to your sale.

3. Consider advertising the sale

Apart from putting up posters around the neighbourhood ahead of time, it also pays to advertise your sale on a site such as garagesales.com.au. But be clear in your ad about what types of items you have available. You don’t want cranky visitors who are expecting

4. Get organised the day before

Have everything ready to go the day before. I have had buyers on my doorstep at 6am itching for a bargain! Some people will simply ignore any opening times you may have listed in your ads. If people do show up early and you are not ready, be polite but firm as they may be quite pushy and ask them to wait.

5. Get smart with pricing

Rather than pricing absolutely everything individually, a better idea is to have things set out neatly on tables in groups that are labelled — for example, at $1, $2 and $5. Only price separately any larger items — and be ready to negotiate especially when someone buys multiple pieces. Most people come to garage sales not wanting to spend more than around $5 or $10. Whilst it’s good to have a few big ticket items such as a bike or armchair on display to attract buyers, make sure the majority of stuff is small bits and pieces. Also don’t forget to have lots of change.

6. Be prepared to haggle

Sometimes people will want to bargain a price down. Even if it’s next to nothing in the first place. If someone wants something for a dollar less, then suggest to meet them halfway at 50 cents off. If it’s a pricey item and the buyer offers a ridiculously small amount, especially if it is early in the day, then it might be worth standing your ground in case a better offer comes along.

7. If stuff doesn’t sell get rid of it!

Lastly, have a plan for what doesn’t sell. If you’ve already made a commitment to get rid of stuff, there’s no point in hanging onto it if it doesn’t sell! Put any remaining pricey items for sale online soon after. Everything else should be packed up and given to charity, or else thrown into the recycling bin.

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.