Garage Sale Kaua’i Style

Happy sellers, happy customers – every piece of Japanese tableware we had for sell was purchased

Having a garage sale in Kaua’i is not the same as having one back on the mainland.

Having held too many sales back on the mainland to count, the basic steps for holding a successful garage/yard sale there are:

  1. Assemble the items you want to sell
  2. Price the items
  3. Advertise the sale on Craigslist, etc.
  4. Set out your items the morning of the sale
  5. Sell your items – be prepared to haggle with some customers
  6. Take what’s left over to the thrift store

We found out this past week though that it’s done a bit differently over here on Kaua’i:

  1. Assemble the items you’re selling, preferably in your garage or on the lanai. There’s no need to organize everything.
  2. Post larger or higher-priced items on the Kaua’i Buy & Sell Facebook page a week or so ahead of when you plan to hold your sale. People will message you about items they want to buy and arrange to pick them up the same or next day.
  3. When people come by, let them look around at the other stuff you’re selling. It doesn’t need to be priced. They will probably buy some more stuff.
  4. Talk story for at least 20-30 minutes with everyone that comes. You’ll make new friends, get hugs, and they’re thrilled to pick up stuff ahead of time
  5. In fact, these early customers may buy so much of your stuff ahead of time that you don’t need to bother holding an actual sale.
  6. Take anything that’s left over to the thrift store.

Our Kaua’i garage sale was the easiest and most fun I’ve ever had selling our stuff. Everyone who contacted us through the Buy & Sell page showed up when they said they would. One woman came to pick up the item she reserved and left with an additional $100 worth of items. She messaged me a couple of days later to ask if a couple of other items were still available. Another woman came back twice! Not one person quibbled about the prices, or tried to haggle – hopefully that’s because we asked right amount the first time. A few times we just gave people things because they bought so much from us. The best part of all was getting to talk with everyone while they “shopped” and have a real conversation with them. It was win-win for everyone.

We had planned to hold a three-day sale beginning tomorrow, but by the end of yesterday we had sold just about everything to customers stopping by to pick up their pre-arranged items. I have one more round of things to go up on Buy & Sell later today, but whatever doesn’t get sold will go to the thrift store. We also made half again what we thought we might make from the sale, so besides the whole experience being easy and fun, our Kaua’i garage sale was a big success!

16 thoughts on “Garage Sale Kaua’i Style

  1. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    That sounds like a fun time for everyone involved! Before I found your blog, I read another one from a couple who had moved to Hawaii – but I can’t remember which island. They used garage sales almost exclusively to furnish their house! I’ll keep that in mind if I ever decide to make the move.

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    • Laura says:

      If it had just been Brett and I moving over here we would have gone the garage sale route for our furnishings, but because we were moving the girls we wanted to keep things as familiar as possible for them. We brought enough with us, but the whole time we’ve been here we’ve been thinking we could have brought even less.

      This was the best garage sale experience ever. Almost every was sold – we have just one small box of stuff to take to the thrift store next week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marji Peterson says:

    What a fun experience for your garage sale. Those are beautiful Japanese pieces. I can see how they went fast. I’d have difficulty releasing them, especially since you probably have memories of how you acquired each piece. I have to remind myself (as I need to downsize) that they are just things. You have planned these last weeks so well — and the vacation on Kauai sounds lovely. So many people would have been working until the last moment.

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    • Laura says:

      We’ve met so many wonderful people these past couple of weeks – it’s truly been the best and most fun garage sale we’ve ever held. Everything went to people who were thrilled to get the items, which in turn makes us very happy.

      We collected a lot of dishes when we lived in Japan, but the ones we sold were those we rarely used any more – it was time to let them go. We are thinking though that we could pick up some more dishes when we’re in Japan next year – we’ll see. They are still affordable there.

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    • Laura says:

      Kristi – meeting you and your boys was my favorite part of the experience. I’m so happy we connected, and that we can stay connected through the blog.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Laura says:

      This was a fun experience from start to finish, especially getting to spend time with everyone that came by and have a real conversation with them. We met so many wonderful people, and almost everything was sold too! I wish every garage/yard sale could have been this easy and pleasant.

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  3. Laurel Hill says:

    That sounds like a great experience and fun to chat with so many people. And, given my previous garage sale experiences, a relief not to have to go through the 2 or 3 day sale. How nice to get almost everything sold ahead of time.

    I can see why the stuff sold quickly…you have some beautiful pieces in that pic!

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    • Laura says:

      It was the best experience, and win-win for everyone. I was actually dreading the sale, but here we are and it’s done! We have a couple more things to advertise, but we need them right up until we move out (microwave oven, vacuum, ladder, and tools), but I think they will go quickly when we advertise them.

      Dishes were probably my favorite thing to buy in Japan because of the variety and because they were so affordable. The ones we put out at the sale though were the ones we rarely used any more, so it was time for them to go. We may buy more when we’re in Japan next year, especially since we’re planning to go to Mashiko (famous pottery village) for a day. I’m pretty sure we’ll find something there we can’t resist.

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  4. Bob Lowry/Satisfying Retirement says:

    We went to a few garage sales whenever we visited Maui or the Big Island, and you are so right: it is more a community gathering than a typical garage sale mainland-style. It took us a while to understand the difference, but then we enjoyed the experiences. Much like Farmers Markets, Hawaii is all about connections.

    BTW, we plan on being on Kauai in the fall of 2019…just in case you are back! After all, we must visit the radio station!

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    • Laura says:

      We had never been to a sale here, so had no idea it would go like this. We’re all going to leave some of our hearts here, and experiences like this are the reason why. Community and connections are everything here, and what have made our time here so special.

      We have no idea what we’ll be doing in Fall 2019 – we’re in Portland until the end of the summer (we needed a place for YaYu to come home for the summer and have time to work), but after that . . . who knows. We thought we had it figured out, but now we’re not sure about what we want to do. So, stay tuned. Coming back here for a visit could be a real possibility.

      We listen to your station whenever we’re in the car!

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  5. Natalie says:

    Congratulations on your successful and fun garage sale! You’ve been so organized about this move. The condo amenities will be so nice to have in the summer and help you rest a bit before your Big Adventure. Well done!

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    • Laura says:

      It was fun! We have about five more things to sell (microwave oven, ladder, etc.), but need them right up until we leave the house – we will advertise a couple of days before we move out. I cannot begin to tell you at this point how eager we are to move out of here and into the condo. Right now my stomach is in knots most of the time over getting this place cleaned out and cleaned.

      Things are moving along well – next step is to get the car sold. Fingers are crossed that sale is an easy one.

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  6. Silver Willow says:

    new to your blog; hi! I’m just amazed by what you are undertaking, and can’t wait to read all about it (hopefully) here as it unfolds!

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks for reading! We will be blogging as we go, although I’m not sure how frequently that will be. I almost can’t believe we’re as close as we are to beginning our adventure – less than two months to go!

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