Plan A Garage Sale

The key to a successful garage sale is planning the sale well in advance.

This ONE-STOP guide shows how to organise and plan a garage sale.

Before planning can start, a resident with drive and enthusiasm has to decide whether they will just organise one sale or a street sale.  Sure, you can hold just your own sale, but consider inviting your neighbours to also hold a sale on the same date.  More sales means more interest, meaning more potential customers.

Try contacting a few neighbours to see what sort of reaction the idea receives. If the reaction is favourable, follow the guidelines below:

Garage Sale Plan

Step 1 – Get Organised

Start by deciding on a day and date at least 30 days in advance. Weekends are best for obvious reasons, but avoid public holidays or long weekends as people go away. Check that no other community events conflict with your date.

Step 2 – Contact Council

Obtain permission [if required] to run the garage sale on the required date. Every local council has by-laws covering this type of event and they will advise any relevant criteria.

Step 3 – Residents Invitation

Prepare an invitation to announce details of the sale for your neighbours in case they want to join in.  Remember it’s a numbers game, the more the merrier.

Deliver the invites to each residence in the street. Consider any non-English residents by translating the invitation into alternative languages. Your local council or library will be able to assist.

Step 4 – Promotion

The success will largely depend on how many people know about your sale.

  • Distribute flyers – Local shops, council, library, shopping centre, community and sporting groups.
  • Advertise [free] – Local newspapers and magazines [events].
  • Online guides and directories.
  • Advertise [paid] – The return will be worth sharing the cost between a few residents.

On the day – Display SALE signs at street ends.

Back streets should have direction signs leading from all main roads.

Don’t forget to take them down at the end of the sale.

Here we have answered frequently asked questions about garage sales.

Garage Sale Checklist

Start planning your garage sale well in advance.

  • Clean up the house, attic, shed, garage, car and put all the items for sale in one place, because on the day it’s a relatively easy job to bring it out and not forget anything.
  • It’s a good idea to have an approximate selling price for each item at least in your head.  You don’t have to show the price on every item, keeping in mind on the more expensive things you will be able to engage in conversation and a little bit of haggling.
  • Give the sales area a spruce-up and consider how you will display the items for sale.  Will they be on the ground [consider a drop sheet or blanket], tables, bookshelves, steps, clothes racks, fences.


  • Let the world know when and where your garage sale is on.
  • The internet is a great start and many web sites [like Gazza’s] advertise your sale!
  • An advert in the local paper is good promotion and often well worth the small cost.
  • Posters on community noticeboards, shop windows and stations.
  • Put up posters and balloons at each end of the street and busy intersections nearby on the morning of the sale..

On the day – [sellers]

  • Make sure all items are clean and well displayed.
  • Hang clothes where possible.
  • Group items together: electrical, books, clothes, tools etc.
  • A couple of balloons on the front fence or gate helps direct people to your sale.

Early Birds – [buyers]

  • Expect early buyers.  They are often professionals that know exactly what they are looking for.  Don’t be surprised when some knock on your door before you are ready, but stand your ground and do not get flustered which is quite often their aim.  Be sound and resolute of your selling price as professionals know what items are worth and will attempt to make you drop your price.

Top Tips

  • Make sure you have enough change [coins and notes].
  • Make arrangements for pets during the sale.
  • Keep your house locked and the keys with you.
  • Keep rearranging goods throughout the sale.
  • Be a friendly seller but let buyers have their own space.
  • Put on your alarm clock the night before.

Pricing – [sellers]

Remember to be practical when pricing items. Forget the original cost and evaluate what the item is worth today. Do your homework before pricing valuable items.  eBay is always a good place to find like-for-like items and give you a good indication of what your item is worth.

Be ready to negotiate.


G.S.T implications?

G.S.T stands for Goods and services tax. GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia.

Providing you are not an “enterprise” [defined in the legislation] you do not need to register for GST.

The ATO has advised Australians that “private sales by registered or unregistered people, such as at a garage sale, are not subject to GST”.

Contact the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) or a taxation advisor for information on the GST. The Australian Tax Office can be contacted at the following address:

After The Sale

Very few guides mention what happens AFTER the sale

  • Close the sale at the pre-planned time
  • Pack up unsold items*
  • Take down and collect all signage / balloons / streamers from your property and area**.
  • Dinner – you will be tired (if not exhausted) and unlikely to feel like cooking.
  • Total Up – count the money and see how much you have made for the day.
  • Clean up – place unwanted items and rubbish in the bin.

* Unsold items – if all you do is pack the unsold items into boxes, then they will be there the same time next year.  Make a decision prior to sale what will happen to unsold items and it will often be the difference between a good sale and a great sale.

Firstly, if you decide on a price for an item and it doesn’t sell, what next?  If you also have a plan B price for the more expensive items, then you can invite interested customers to return later in the day just in case the item doesn’t sell.

Alternately, you could choose to donate unsold items to a charity.

** Signage – people have been fined for not removing signs from poles.

We happily accept suggestions and comments, so please contact us if you can contribute.