The ABCs of a successful garage sale»

A spring cleaning binge is a great occasion to hold a garage sale. But it takes planning! Here are a few tips so that everything goes smoothly.

First of all, inquire with your municipality about the dates, times, and places you are allowed to hold a garage sale. You might require a permit. It’s best to ask first and avoid unpleasant surprises!

The merchandise you sell must be used personal objects. The sale of new objects requires a permit from Revenue Quebec. Furthermore, all items sold must meet current safety standards, especially if they are for babies and young children. Check with Health Canada by calling 1 800 561-3350.

A few days before…

  • Advertise the sale (local paper, community centre bulletin boards, posters or signs in your neighbourhood if municipal regulations permit, etc.).
  • Tell your neighbours when you plan to hold your garage sale so that they are not unpleasantly surprised by the additional noise and traffic. Invite them to take advantage of the deals before everyone else arrives, or to join you at the event.
  • Get balloons, colourful tablecloths, and pennants that will attract people to your tables.
  • Ensure you have plenty of small bills and coins to make change.
  • Plan on a form of shelter should it start to rain!
  • Plan what you will do with any items that are not sold (charities, recycling centres, etc.).

On the day of the sale

  • Affix a price to each item; simplify things by setting prices in round figures, such as $0.50, $1 or $2, and keep in mind that most buyers like to bargain.
  • With the exception of clothing – which should be hung on a rack by order of size – arrange all items neatly on tables by category.
  • Set aside one table for the cash box, bags and wrapping paper. Most importantly, place a sign clearly visible by the cash indicating that “All sales are final.”
  • Have an extension cord at hand to show that certain devices are in working order, and whenever possible include any manuals.

Another good piece of advice : think of your needs. Have a cell phone or cordless phone on hand and arrange to have someone replace you from time to time when you need a break or a bite to eat.

Finally, remember that you will have to remove all traces of the event at the end of the day. Specifically, that means picking up any garbage (paper, bags, balloons, string, etc.) and taking down any posters.

*Information on selling second-hand products: