When you are preparing for a move, a garage sale or yard sale is one of the best ways to clear away the clutter of old, unwanted stuff.
Wading through your accumulated items may be a bit overwhelming, but it's not as bad as moving to your new home with a bunch of boxes filled with things you don't need. And, if you plan properly, you could end up with a sweet wad of cash in your pocket.
Where to begin? Follow these tips for a great sale:
- Advertise your upcoming sale like crazy. Put an ad on your local Craigslist and detail what you'll be selling. If you want your ad to stand out, be creative! Try headlines with a bit of humor or hype to increase interest.
- If you like haggling and don't mind answering questions every time someone picks up or points at an item, don't bother with pricing every piece. However, if you'd rather give shoppers a heads-up while you kick back in the shade, get some ready-made pricing stickers to put on the items.
- Be realistic with your price points. Very few buyers at garage sales are expecting to spend big bucks. If you have time before your sale, visit a couple of other neighborhood sales to gauge prices.
- The day before the sale, make a run to the bank to get small bills and change.
- Put up signs on busy streets and around your neighborhood that will lead shoppers to your place. On the signs, use black ink on a bright background, and keep your message simple and easy to read.
- Greet your customers and let them know you're there to answer any questions. A little friendliness goes a long way in encouraging sales.
- Merchandising your items is key. Think about how stores pull in shoppers. A well-organized display of your wares will pique the interest of buyers and result in more sales. Take your stuff out of boxes and group items in a visually appealing way.
- Put big-ticket items such as furniture, electronics or eye-catching pieces of art closest to the street or in a prominent spot for maximum visibility.
- Put together a catch-all box of junk and make a bright "Free Stuff" sign. Place this free box on the curb. Most shoppers driving by a garage sale can't resist the allure of the lowest possible price point.
- Create pathways through your merchandise. Shoppers who feel comfortable that they won't knock something over or trip over a box will spend more time browsing and buying.
- Divorce yourself from any emotional attachment to your stuff. Buyers probably don't care to hear about the history behind your possessions, they're just looking for bargains.
- Keep in mind that you're trying to get rid of stuff and that low-ball offers are a part of the game. If you have truly valuable items, try selling them individually through eBay or Craigslist.
- Get flexible with your pricing as the day goes by. Knock a dollar or two off a listed price. Offer package deals to folks buying multiple items. Encourage customers to grab anything remotely interesting. You want to end the day with minimal leftovers -- so don't take a hard line on items you never have to see again.
- Arrange to donate the leftover items at the end of the day. Make sure to get a receipt for your donation for a tax write-off.