The Art of the Declutter: How to Host a Profitable Garage Sale Before Moving

young woman shopping for dresses at garage sale

Moving to a new home often comes with the tedious task of sorting through your belongings, deciding what will fit your new abode and what to let go of. Holding a garage sale is a great way to help you declutter, with the added opportunity to turn your excess items into cash.

Hosting a successful garage sale isn’t as straightforward as putting out a table and some balloons on the gate. You’ll need to set aside time to plan and organise to set the right date, price items strategically and advertise your sale to get maximum results. As you navigate through decluttering and preparing for your sale, keep in mind that your goal is to generate income while starting fresh in your new home.

With these objectives in mind, you’re ready to embark on your decluttering journey and transform your home into a garage sale goldmine.

This article will guide you on maximising your garage sale before moving, helping you run a profitable event, ensuring a smoother move, and putting more cash in your pockets. Let’s get started on making your garage sale not only profitable but also a more satisfying experience.

Benefits of Decluttering Before Moving

Save Time and Effort

Decluttering before moving allows you to organise and prioritise your belongings. By going through your items and deciding what to keep, sell, or donate, you’ll be left with only the essentials to pack. This significantly reduces the time and effort in the packing and unpacking process. It also ensures that you’re not wasting valuable time and energy moving items that you no longer need or want.

As you declutter it also gives you the opportunity to create an inventory of your possessions. This can be especially helpful in case anything gets lost or damaged during the move or you need to update your contents insurance.

Decrease Moving Costs

By decluttering and hosting a garage sale you can reduce the volume and weight of items you need to transport or store. Moving costs may be charged based on these factors, so cutting down on volume can lead to considerable savings. Plus, the extra cash you earn from selling items at your garage sale can offset some of your moving expenses.

As your sort, consider whether certain items are worth the cost of transportation and potential storage services. It might be more advantageous to replace some items when you get to your destination.

young couple sorting through belongings for garage sale

Organising Your Garage Sale

Setting a Date and Time

Choose a date and time for your garage sale that maximises potential foot traffic. Weekends are generally the best option, with Saturday mornings being the most popular (though Friday afternoon garage sales are now increasing in popularity). It’s best to avoid holidays or local events that might interfere with attendance. It’s best to start early, say around 7 or 8 a.m., and wrap up by mid-afternoon.

Categorising Items

Organise the items you’re selling into categories, such as clothing, books, kitchenware, and electronics. This will make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for and help you keep track of your inventory. Within each category, further subdivide items by size, type, or theme. For example:

  • Clothing: separate by gender, age, and size
  • Books: group by genre, author, or age-appropriate section
  • Kitchenware: divide into small appliances, utensils, and cookware

Pricing Strategy

Develop a pricing strategy that encourages sales while still earning a profit. Consider using a tiered pricing system, with items at different price points ($0.50, $1, $5). Use coloured stickers or tags to indicate each price tier.

For higher-priced items, research their value and price them accordingly, but still lower than retail value. Be prepared to negotiate with buyers. Some tips for pricing include:

  • Bundle items to encourage bulk purchases (e.g. 5 books for $10)
  • Offer discounts for multiple items in the same category
  • Remain flexible and willing to negotiate to ensure an item is sold

If an item has a valuable feature or comes with certain accessories make sure you include this as a comment on the pricing so people can see the bargain they are getting.

Advertising Your Garage Sale

Local Channels

Start by advertising your garage sale in your local neighbourhood. Consider flyers for neighbours, local businesses and community bulletin boards that include the date, time, and address of your sale, as well as a brief description of the items you’ll be selling.

While traditional, your local newspaper’s classified section is still a great place to list your sale. Be concise but include some feature items to entice the right readers to come along.
Some local radio stations offer community announcement slots as well.

Also remember the tried and true cardboard sign with balloons on the closest major road to your house, as this will attract the opportunistic buyers who happen to be driving past at the right time.

Online Platforms

Online buy-and-sell groups are a great way to reach a big audience for free. Websites like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and local “Buy, Swap, Sell” pages can be powerful tools to reach a wider audience.

For these to work you need to post the date – so readers know it’s current – and add high-quality photos of the main items you’re selling along with some prices and a more detailed list of items in the comments section. You may get offers to buy then and there so you’ll need to decide if you want to have people come over beforehand (including early callers on the day) or if you just want to limit it to the set garage sale times.

young woman buying jewellery at garage sale

Staging and Presentation Tips

Arrange Items Attractively

A good garage sale will present items in an appealing way. Group similar items together, such as clothing, kitchenware, and toys. Hang clothes on racks or fold them neatly on tables. Group your smaller items in baskets or bins. Additionally, don’t forget to clean, dust, and polish your sale items, so they look their best.

Safety and Accessibility

Take time to make sure your layout is safe and accessible. Keep the walking paths clear and wide enough for people to navigate comfortably, even if they have a pusher or walking aid. Place items on sturdy tables or shelves, with heavier items on lower levels. Avoid placing trip hazards or breakable items within easy reach of children. This might mean you need to save some items to bring out later on, or perhaps even the following day.

Handling Transactions

Payment Options

Multiple payment options for your customers offer more flexibility and means you can accept more sales.

  • Cash: Keep a cash box with enough small notes and coins for change.
  • Mobile payment apps: PayPal and Wise are great ways to accommodate tech-savvy buyers. Be set up and practised with these before the day.
  • Card payments: A card reader like Square will be able to accept credit and debit card payments to increase sales from those who don’t have cash on hand.

Negotiation Tactics

Negotiations can feel uncomfortable but they are an integral part of garage sales. The top tip is to make sure you make a profit. Here are some strategies to help you navigate negotiations:

  1. Set a firm minimum price: Before your sale, determine the lowest price you’re willing to accept for each item. That way, you’ll know when to stand your ground during negotiations.
  2. Offer bulk discounts: Offer discounts for multiple items. This not only helps clear out your clutter but also provides an incentive for buyers.
  3. Highlight item value: When necessary, remind buyers of the original price or the quality.
  4. Be courteous but assertive: Be friendly, but don’t be afraid to confidently stand by your prices if a buyer’s offer is too low.

woman donating unwanted items to charity store

Post-Garage Sale Strategies

Donating Unsold Items

You might still have some unsold items after your garage sale is over. Donating these to a local charity, thrift store or nonprofit organisation is a great way to give back to your community. Research organisations in your area that accept donations and check their guidelines for the types of items they accept.

Repurposing Leftovers

If you have items left unsold that you don’t want to donate or throw away, repurposing them can give them new life and reduce waste. Here are a few ideas:

  • Furniture: Try a fresh coat of paint or new upholstery.
  • Clothes: Transform into cleaning rags, tote bags or even cushions, quilts and pictures.
  • Decorative items: Use them as materials for a DIY project.

Remember, the goal is to declutter and prepare for your upcoming move. Consider your options carefully and think outside the box to find solutions.

How to Host a Profitable Garage Sale Before Moving – Key Takeaways

Hosting a profitable garage sale before moving will help you declutter your home and make some extra cash. By following a few simple steps, such as organising your sale items, pricing them appropriately and advertising effectively, you can maximise your profits.

Remember, presentation matters. Arrange your items in a visually appealing way, grouping similar items together. This will make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for and encourage them to browse longer.

Knowing the item value and considering how much you’re willing to compromise on price helps you prepare for negotiations. To make transactions run smoothly, have a cash box with change at the ready and consider accepting mobile payments.

Lastly, don’t forget to promote your garage sale through various channels such as social media, local newspapers and by placing signs in your neighbourhood. By following these tips and strategies, you will have a successful and profitable garage sale before moving.

After the garage sale is over, make sure you contact Southside Removals for a smooth, stress-free move.

Good luck!