Before You Move: 10 Garage/Yard Sale Tips

Moving is a great time to get rid of clutter. Clearing out unwanted or less-used items makes packing, moving, and unpacking less stressful and less time-consuming. Holding a garage/yard sale is a great way to free yourself of these extra items and make some extra cash at the same time.

1. Decide What to Sell and What to Trash
Simply put, some of the items that are hanging around the house may not really be in sale-condition. If the item is not in working order (such as electronics), cracked, broken, stained, or torn.. then toss it. If you’re unsure if an item is fit for sale, ask yourself “Would I purchase this in this condition?”

2. Do Your Homework
Does your town or city require a permit for a garage/yard sale? What items do you need to gather to make your sale a success – tables for items, something to hang clothes on, bags for sold items, newspaper to wrap breakables in upon purchase? Where can you advertise? Would table cloths on the tables make the sale space look nicer? Find out these things in advance so you will be prepared for the big day! You may even want to visit some other sales a few weeks before you plan to have yours to get some ideas of what works and what doesn’t work for shoppers. If your house is on the market, you may want to consider having your sale at a friend or neighbor’s house to keep your space available for interested buyers to tour with your Realtor.

3. Clean Up Your Items
You wouldn’t let your Realtor take potential buyers through your home if it was dirty and messy, right? Wash any clothes, dishes, and storage containers you are planning to sell. Dust off books and furniture, wipe down mirrors, make it look nice! An unattractive item could sparkle with some simple cleaning and clean items will be more appealing to potential buyers.

4. Get Organized
Organize your items in a way that makes sense. Clothes and accessories, dishes and kitchen items, home decor, and furniture. Set your items up in these organized groups at your sale so shoppers know what their choices are for each category and where specific items they may be browsing for can be found. Make sure you rearrange items as other things are sold to keep the display enticing. Choose a date and have a rain date.

5. Price it Smart
We all find value in our belongings, but yard/garage sale shoppers are looking for a bargain! Be careful not to over-price items. The main goal of this yard/garage sale is to clear out clutter. Price low and/or be prepared to haggle. That casserole dish may have cost you $20, but at a yard sale it’s worth about $3. Make sure you clearly mark the prices on your items. You may want to consider noting “Final Price” if there are specific items you’re not willing to haggle on. Also consider giving discounts for bulk items. Here is a great price guide to help you get started. Make a list of all your items and posted prices to have with you the day of your sale for easy inventory and price questions. You may also want to consider discounting items during the last 30 minutes of your sale to help clear out the inventory.

6. Get the Word Out
Advertise! Many libraries, super markets, and other public spaces allow posting of fliers with permission. Many newspapers will also list sales in your area. There is always the trusty colorful poster board signs. Make sure to get the word out the week leading up to your sale for maximum exposure. Don’t forget to include the address, date, and start and end time of your sale.

7. Start Early
Speaking of times, most yard/garage sale pros get out there early since they know the good items will get scooped up quickly. An early sale is more likely to have true yard/garage sale shoppers attend. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to set up that morning and be ready for the early birds!

8. Get Help!
Don’t try to run the sale on your own. Customers don’t want to wait around while you assist others to buy a $2 item. Gather friends or family to help run things. Make sure they are all clear on items, prices, and what final prices you’re willing to negotiate.

9. Have Change
Your shoppers are going to be paying in cash. Plenty of change will be needed especially quarters and other coins. Head to the bank to get some cash change and make sure to keep it on you at all times.

10. Donate Leftovers
Once the sale is over, there may be a few straggling items. If they were good enough to try to sell, they should be good enough to donate. Find a local Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, or other donation center. Don’t forget to get a receipt – your donated items can be tax-deductible.

Always keep in mind the main goal of your sale: to clear out items you won’t be taking with you on your move! Enjoy yourself and try not to get too hung up on prices – remember, the cash is just an extra bonus.

What tips do you have for having a yard/garage sale? What do you find works best? What doesn’t work? Share your tips in the comment section.

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