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February 17, 2012
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March 6, 2012

Garage, Yard and Moving Sale Tips

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Garage, Yard and Moving sales can all be a great way to clean out that extra clutter you have before you move. You know, that old stuff that grandma gave you. It was great for the dorm days, but now that you’re moving upwards and onwards it’s time to consolidate your belongings into something manageable. Here are a few tips on how to have a successful sale at your current residence.

1. Timing
Sales do best during the morning hours on Saturday and Sundays. Most people have the day off and are out and about running errands or taking kids to and from sports events. Make sure you start your sale early to catch all the die-hards, and make it last until at least noon, giving people time to get up and have a cup of coffee before they start hunting down bargains. Check to make sure the weekend you’re planning on having a sale doesn’t conflict with a local event, parade, or holiday (such as Thanksgiving) in order to attract a bigger crowd. Some holiday weekends can bring out larger crowds, like president’s day or labor day. If you’re planning ahead, try to aim for a sale in the fall, as spring is traditionally the time when most people sell their old things (spring cleaning). A fall sale can prove to have bigger turn out with less competition.

2. Advertise

You can’t sell in a well, meaning you have to get the word out that you’ll be having a sale. You can’t rely on “If you build it they will come”. Make signs that are bright, big, and sturdy. Post up signs a few days prior to your event with the date and time you’ll be selling. Remember, most people will be reading your sign from a passing car, so keep it big and simple. Advertise online through craigslist, the pennysaver,, or When doing so, make sure you include when, where, and what you’ll be selling. If you live in a rural area, use landmarks or general directions to get to your home. If you can, post large items separately and advertise your sale with it. Use brand names of items whenever you can, including clothing and accessories. You can also choose to advertise in a local paper. Many newspapers have a garage sale classifieds section that sells at a cheaper rate than normal classifieds. Remember to keep it short, as many will charge you by the word.

3. Talk to Your Neighbors
Many neighbors will be interested in stopping by your garage sale, if for no other reason than to be nosy. They may even have a few items of their own to put on consignment with you, or be inspired to have their own sale at the same time. Getting a neighborhood together to have an annual or seasonal garage sale can attract a large number of buyers.

4. Clean Up
No one wants to pay good money for dirty, beat up stuff. Before you put out your things, wipe them down, clean them up, and fix any minor things that can be repaired. Not only will this help you bring top dollar for your items, you may end up keeping some things that appeared less valuable when dirty or damaged.

5. Pricing
Everybody loves getting a good deal at a garage sale, but no one wants to give their things away for free. Generally, pricing should be around one-fifth of retail pricing for items in working and good shape. For near new or rarely used items, you could get up to one-third of the retail price. Make sure you clearly label items, and try to use general pricing signs where applicable (used books, clothes, etc). People love to get a deal, so try using the “BOGO”, or buy one get one technique. BOGOs encourage people to buy quantities of items you are trying to get rid of, and makes them feel like they are getting something free. For big items that you’ve posted separately online for sale, print out a Quick Response (QR) code on a piece of paper that will send people to your ad’s URL. This can encourage people to think about the purchase and call you when they want to come back. Towards the end of your sale, start slashing prices. You want to get rid of this stuff and not donate it, right? Before you sell anything that may be of actual value, make sure you know what it is worth. Take your items to a local pawn shop or specialty store and ask to have them priced. You may even find an interested buyer!

6. Display Everything
If you have nicer items to hang up, hang them up. Offer to sell them with the hanger. If you have books or clothing, place it on a table so people don’t have to bend down to the ground to rummage through things. A bright or… unusual… piece can be showcased center stage at your sale to bring people out of their cars. People don’t want to look through boxes of junk and trinkets. Bring out a table that isn’t for sale to place items on.

7. Be Inviting
Don’t hover over people, making them feel uncomfortable. When someone begins to haggle, do so politely with them. They aren’t buying your emotional attachment to objects, and are typically out to get the best deal. Try to play relaxing music to encourage people to browse for treasures. If you have an interesting or large-ticket item, display it – it will generate conversation and get people out of their cars. Try selling coffee or lemonade, and maybe even donuts or snacks. If they want to get their wallets out for food and drinks, customers will be more likely to start up a conversation and take something home. Make sure you have plenty of parking – move your car down the street. If you don’t have a front yard, driveway or garage, consider having a backyard sale. People are always curious to checkout someone’s home.

8. Be Safe
You are opening up your home to strangers, knowing that you will have plenty of goods and cash on hand. Be safe. Ask a friend, neighbor, spouse or young adult to be at the sale with you at all times. Make sure you keep an eye on the cash box, and an eye on your belongings. You’ll be surprised with what some people just walk away with in their hands. Also, make sure to lock up your front door or garage door if you don’t want people entering your home.

9. Freecycle
Once your sale is done and the signs are coming down, put smaller items to the curb for free. A picture of your curb under the free section of craigslist will surprise you with how fast your belongings disappear. You can also take belongings in usable condition to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other charity thrift store of your choice for a tax-deductible donation. If you do so, make sure you itemize what you donate, as your CPA will surprise you with the value you can write off on some items.

All of this seems like it can take a ton of time and effort, but being dedicated to getting a good turn out will give you more dollars in your pocket. Whether you’re moving, or just cleaning house, a sale can be the perfect way to clear up extra space and turn some of your old stuff into cash!

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