The joy of garage sales

Claudia Aalderink considers what garage sales are all about, and offers some tips.

Every weekend you can see the signs going up all over the region. People ready for some serious de-cluttering and prepared to part with items they once loved and cherished.

That brand new bike for that 7th birthday now stands proud on the driveway, waiting for a new owner. Or those beautiful coffee mugs that held so many cups of comfort for those moments of need. Books, old chairs, ‘special’ supermarket collector cards, fishing rods, electric guitars or even the family ute – all must go to make room for new treasures.

Before it comes to that day, the garage needs to be tackled. Boxes pulled from dusty places and opened to see what can go. Family meetings are held to discuss the chances of selling certain items, and what they would sell for. Sometimes memories rise to the surface and no progress is made what-so-ever resulting in more chaos and items reappearing in the family home squandering the whole purpose of de-cluttering in the first place.

And after all preparation is done, advertising in local newspaper, a large hand-painted sign on the corner of the road, items colour-coded by stickers to indicate their value – which is in no comparison to what was once paid for them, no, they have decreased to the $1, $2 or $5 table.DSCF0789 - Version 2

Home-baking is placed on a beautiful cake stand and all the family members are ready to face the hordes of eager treasure hunters, all that can be done now is wait and hope for the weather to be kind enough to help out a little too.

Useful tips to create a successful garage sale:

* Planning – take time to plan your garage sale. Two weeks should be enough to get organised. Holding your garage sale in the weekend is advisable, but try to avoid public holidays or long weekends. Mow the lawns to make your ‘shop’ look tidy and presentable. Another consideration is taking time to clean any items you are selling; this can take more time than you anticipate.

* Advertise – There are numerous ways to advertise your garage sale. The most common ways are the local newspapers, social media and handing out flyers and setting up signs around your neighbourhood. Another great way to get your information out is through Here you can advertise your garage sale and reach a larger audience. Flyers are a great way to reach your neighbours, local shoppers or your community. Posters can attract casual passers-by and placing a small ad in the local school newsletters is also a good way to reach people from the area.

* Pricing – Before you have your garage sale, try to have a price for everything. Stickers with a price make it easy for everyone especially when it gets really busy. There is no need to give things away too cheap, but keep in mind that items are not worth what you paid for them a year ago.

* Presentation – If your ‘shop’ looks organised and tidy it shows excellent planning and that is a recipe for success. Try to place items of the same group together to make it easier for customers to see what you’ve got. By adding some colourful items like flags or balloons you draw attention to your selling area and all you have to do now is have fun and sell all your bits and pieces!

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ClaudiaClaudia Aalderink produces Claudia’s Corner exclusively for N8N. A whimsical, weekly photographic column on anything that takes her fancy.

Check out her website here.

Claudia is also the featured artist of the month at the Garden Art Studio in Cambridge. More here.


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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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