Tips for Running a Successful New Zealand Garage Sale

Tips for a Successful New Zealand Garage Sale

Prime garage sale season is here!

So much fun and you get rid of all that stuff you don’t need, with heaps of cash coming into your pocket, right? Well, that is the goal and though it’s definitely attainable, it also takes a good deal of work to do it. We have researched the facts and here is what we suggest.


This can be a drag but time spent at the start is well worth it. Sort things into three piles—sell, donate, and trash/recycle. There will be some things that end up in your sell pile that aren’t a great fit to sell at a garage sale—expensive jewellery, designer clothing etc. Take the time to list those things online. Clean up the rest and sort into categories. Sports gear in one area, household items in another, linens together, etc. Why not price them now? (See below for why).


To get the best customer response, you’ll need an easily accessible residential area with plenty of traffic - if not your place, maybe a friend or relative has a suitable garage or yard that you could borrow?


Advertising on multiple channels is a good idea. If you advertise in the local paper, neighbourhood websites etc, list some of your key items and be prepared that people may want to come early to beat the crowds.

Great Signage: the #1 Marketing Strategy!

Make plenty of highly visible signs and put them out everywhere in the vicinity of your garage sale! It is worth spending a little money here. Print your signs on coloured paper and give them firm backing. For hand painted signs, get out the fluoro paint and make the date, time and address easily visible. People don’t want to stop their cars to come and read fine print.

Make it simple: GARAGE SALE : TIME : ADDRESS should be easily legible from the road. PLEASE collect your signs after the sale!

To Price or not to Price

Most people will not want to ask the price of something, so if it’s not clearly listed, they might walk away. In order to make sure that you earn the most money possible, be sure to put a price tag on every item. It also means that someone else can sell the item for you and you get what you actually want for that item.

If you have a lot of smaller pieces, you can put them all in one box with a clearly marked label. “All Books $1” or “All clothing items $5 each.” This saves you time and lets the buyer know what you are expecting.

Don’t price too high - leave haggle-room on those items you want a little more for, but people are coming to your sale for a bargain. Better to give them one than to have too much left over - chances are, you’ll be donating it somewhere later on.

Partner up with someone

If you can, grouping with another family for your garage sale will mean:

More stuff for people to buy

Someone to share the load of setup, signage and advertising costs

More eyes and helpers at the sale to make sure all customers are attended to

Don’t overdo it

This might sound silly, but too much gear can be overwhelming for people to look through. If people haven’t got a lot of time, they might see your avalanche of junk and think “Nah, that’s a bunch of junk”. With your well-organised, clean and collated offerings, people will be more drawn to come and trawl through. As things sell, add more to the tables.

Neatly hung racks of clothing are much easier to look at than large piles and will also give the impression of better quality garments. Five nice outfits sold for a decent price might be worth your efforts rather than 30 old t-shirts for 10c a pop. Donate the t-shirts.

Children’s clothes should be sorted by age and don’t include torn, stained and overstretched garments that will just put people off sorting through.

Prove they work!

Include a power source and a multi plug for people to test anything electrical. If they can’t see it working, they probably won’t buy it. If you have a lamp, plug it in for the duration, folks can see you have a power source for testing.


Plants can sell surprisingly well. If you are a gardener, pot up a few plants to add to the mix.

Baking/Lemonade stall

Here’s a way to involve the kids - your kids as well as the ones the customers bring! If you can cope with the extra work to prepare for it, involving the children with selling these items will be good for their maths skills and their pockets!

Don’t expect too much from books

Books are hard to sell. Sure, have a few good reads for people to look through but the rest might as well go in the donate pile. Save your energy for the things people really want to buy.

Have fun!

We hope you sell loads and meet a few neighbours you didn’t know before!


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