If you're planning on moving, a great way to get rid of extra stuff that you don't want to take with you is to hold a garage sale. Garage sales enable you to get a bit of extra cash to help you take care of expenses related to your move, and they can also help you get rid of clothes that you've outgrown and furniture that you intend to replace when you arrive at your new home. Additionally, garage sales allow you to get rid of items you don't want without you being responsible for transporting them to a new location.
There are several keys to having a successful garage sale, and one of the most important is proper planning. You'll need to have everything priced and arranged properly and select a date that will bring in the largest number of people. You need to have a plan for dealing with any items you don't sell, and it's important that you advertise your garage sale to ensure that it is a success.
Figure out What You Want to Sell
Along with dragging things out of the attic, basement and closets in your home, you should also go through each room in your home and look for things you never use. You may discover that you really have no desire to bring certain knickknacks or the contents of drawers with you to your new home. While you may have no use for an old phone charger or laptop power cords, other people may be more than happy to pay to take them off your hands. Bring boxes with you to each room so that you can collect and sort the contents.
If you're interested in making money as well as getting rid of what you don't want to take with you, you may want to consider selling high value or collector's items online. Certain books, toys and furniture may net you more cash when sold through sites like eBay or Craigslist because people expect to pay less for things at garage sales.
It's also a good idea to consider tax write-offs. You may find that donating furniture to charity gives you a bigger tax deduction at the end of the year than you would make selling a sofa or table at a garage sale.
Once you've decided what to sell and what to donate, go through any sale items and make sure they are clean. If there are any electronics you're getting rid of, plug them in and take them through basic functions to make sure they work. From there, it's a good idea to sort things so that they can easily be displayed during your garage sale. People are less likely to buy things if they have to paw through boxes of random items.
Picking a Date
If you're moving in the winter, you may not be able to have your garage sale in the summer, which is normally considered the best time to hold them. However, you should still pick a day when the weather is expected to be nice. It's also a good idea to pick a weekend at the beginning of the month. People normally have more disposable income at the beginning of the month.
You should also try to find out if any other people in your neighborhood intend to hold a garage sale in the near future. People are more likely to stop by if they know that several homes in a particular area will be holding sales. Try to hold your sale earlier in the day. Many garage sales start at around 6 a.m. and end at around noon. This will allow people to attend your sale without interrupting any weekend plans they have.
Preparing for a Garage Sale
There is a lot to do for a garage sale that goes smoothly, so you should start preparing a few weeks in advance if possible. Along with sorting your merchandise into different sections, you'll also need to have places to store or display items. You may need tables, boxes or a rack to hang clothing from. You may also live in an area that requires you obtain a permit to hold a garage sale, so checking in advance is a great way to save you time and effort.
As you sort and clean items, you may want to start pricing them in advance. Things at garage sales tend to sell better and faster when they are individually priced, and you can purchase stickers that already have prices on them; many pricing sticker packs have prices starting as low as $0.25. For more expensive items, you can buy blank sticker packs.
The night before the garage sale, you should make sure that you have change, which should include rolls of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies as well as ones, fives and tens. If you are selling more expensive items, you may want to have a few twenties as well. A cash box will help you to keep thing organized, and you may want to have a calculator handy.
You should make plastic bags available so that people can carry their purchases away, and if you're selling fragile items, offer newspaper or tissue paper to wrap them in. Keeping power cords and an extension cord on hand is helpful if you're selling electronics because people may want to verify that the items work.
Advertising Your Garage Sale
There is a variety of ways that you can advertise your garage sale so that you can ensure the maximum number of people show up. Free advertising options include Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist. There are local groups on Facebook that allow you to share the details of your garage sale, and individuals who shop at garage sales are likely to check these pages regularly.
You may also want to buy yard sale signs and put an ad in a newspaper or local newsletters. Some neighborhood groups and homeowners' associations have newsletters that go out on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and they often do not charge to share details about garage sales. If you decide to go with neighborhood signs advertising your garage sale, be sure that there aren't any regulations that limit where the signs go.
Keep Prices Appropriate for the Garage Sale
It's important to keep in mind that people go to garage sales looking for deals, and many individuals won't pay the same amount for something at a garage sale that they would at a thrift store. The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn't price anything higher than a third of its original price, even if it's in great condition. If you're lost on pricing, you may want to go to a few local garage sales to help you get a feel for what people expect to pay.
When pricing items, consider offering multiple item discounts. For example, you might mark paperbacks as $1 each but offer two books for $1.50. This will help you clear out items faster. You should also consider what your goal is when pricing. If you just want a way to get rid of things, you may want to price things lower; if your goal is some extra cash, mark prices slightly higher, but you should be ready to haggle on more expensive items.
Consider marking things down later in the day. The best items from your sale are likely already sold, and at this point, you may want to simply get rid of as much as possible.
Consider Offering Refreshments
If you have kids who want to participate in the sale or live in an area where the weather will be very hot or very cold during your sale, it may be a good idea to sell cold or hot drinks and snacks. People may be liable to hang around longer if they have something to munch on, and you might be able to make some extra money on food sales.
Getting Rid of Leftovers
You're likely to have a few things left over after a garage sale, even if it's a very successful one. At this point, you might want to donate any remaining items to charities. Most cities have a Habitat for Humanity Restore, Goodwill, or a Salvation Army store, and other local charities may also accept donations. A number of Salvation Army locations offer pickups for donations, so you may not even have to leave your home to donate anything that was not sold. Alternatively, many charities have drop-off boxes in shopping centers where you can leave your donations at any time. If you're in a time crunch because you're dealing with a move, these may be the best options for you.
With the right planning, your garage sale can go over successfully, and you'll be one step closer to preparing for your big move.