One of the quickest ways to make some extra cash and clear your house of unwanted clutter is to hold a yard or garage sale. While the basic steps are easy (put unwanted stuff out and advertise), the event can quickly turn stressful if you don’t take some time to strategize before you begin. Whether you’re planning a massive junk purge or small clean-out, here are a few tips to help you organize a successful garage sale.
1. Plan Ahead
Before you begin to advertise or select items you want to get rid of, take the time to create a plan. Do you want to include family members? Extra help can take some of the burden off you, and children can be persuaded to help for part of the profits (you can also use the event to teach them about the relationship between work and money). When are the best times and dates to hold your garage sale? People who are serious about garage sale shopping often get up early to check out sales, so consider starting around 6 a.m. Will you need babysitting? Will you hold the sale by yourself, or do you want to go in with a neighbor? Ask yourself these questions before you start, and your plan will start to take shape.
2. Advertise Effectively
Once you know when you’ll hold your garage sale, how large it will be, and who will be involved, you can carry design an advertising strategy. You don’t need to spend much money on this step. While you can place a paid advertisement in the newspaper, online forums like Craigslist will let you advertise for free. You can also place signs around your neighborhood (as long as your community has no rules against this). Instead of spending money on yard sale signs, grab some cardboard and (neatly) make your own. Don’t forget to place flyers at your local supermarket or coffee shop. Advertise at least a week in advance, since serious shoppers often plan their garage sale routes.
3. Choose and Price Your Items
Getting rid of old junk might sound easy, but it’s often hard to part with items that you “might” use again in the future. Give yourself a rule to go by: If you haven’t used it in six months or a year, get rid of it. Tidy up items as you go; wipe off any dust, place manuals and cords with their items, and discard anything that is badly broken — plug in and test electronic items before offering them for sale. If you have large or expensive items you’d like to move, make a list so that you remember what you have. You can then tick the items off as you sell them. After you’ve gathered everything you’re going to sell, put price tags on each (masking tape works well for this). This will save you having to answer pricing questions during the sale, and it’s also a good time to decide whether you’ll accept lower offers.
3. Organize Items
Organize your items before you begin your sale. If you don’t have tables to place them on, borrow from neighbors or coworkers. Place your items in a logical way, e.g. kitchen tools on one table, DVDs and CDs on another, and include signs that let shoppers know what you’re offering. As you arrange your items, try to do so in a way that lets each be seen. While it might be easier to throw everything in boxes, shoppers might become frustrated at having to dig. You should also consider having an area with small, free items to entice buyers — place a large, visible sign to draw them in.
4. Stay Organized
You’ve place your items in your garage or planned how you’ll lay them out in your yard, and it’s the day of the sale. Stop your stress by staying organized as the sale goes on. Open at the advertised time, and use a cash box to keep all of your money safe in one place. Assign jobs to those who are helping you. For example, one person can answer questions, one can direct parking, and another can collect money. If you’ll do everything yourself, make sure you have snacks and drinks available, and leave a sign if you need to take a break.
No matter how you decide to organize your sale, remember one final, important tip: Have fun and be safe. Play some music, invite your neighbors, but don’t let any strangers in your house. As long as you’ve taken the time to plan your sale, you should not only make a little cash, but also have a good time.
Do you have any tips for organizing a garage sale? Let us know in the comments below!