Moving? A moving garage sale, or yard sale, is a win-win, helping you make money (and save money!) on your move. In fact, not only will you cash-in on items you don’t need or want, but you’ll also reduce moving costs by lightening your load. Another bonus? It will force you to get a leg up on the packing process and sort through your things. Here are a few rules of thumb and first-timer tips to make your moving garage sale a smooth success.
1. Sorting and Gathering
Determining what you can part with is the first step, and perhaps the most dreaded. Make the process less painless by starting early and organizing belongings into three piles: “Pack”, “Sell” and “Not Sure Yet”. It’s smart to do this at least three times, and become more critical about what you keep with each go-round. During the final cut, if it takes more than a few seconds to recall the last time you used an item in question, it’s time to part ways. High-demand items to look out for include:
- Toys and baby items, including clothing
- Small kitchen appliances
- Household items
- Sporting Equipment
- Books and CDS
- Craft supplies
2. Planning and Logistics
Pick A Day: While Saturdays are generally your best bet, it’s a good idea to check the weather and avoid Holiday weekends. You should also give yourself at least three weeks to prepare and get the word out.
Supply Up: Pricing stickers. Signage materials. Tape. Markers. All are items you’ll need to advertise your moving sale. It’s also never too early to start collecting bags and boxes to pack people’s purchases in, as well as newspaper or packing bubbles for breakables. Another must? Make sure you have plenty of tables to display the goods, and ask around to borrow a few extra card tables, if needed.
Advertise: First thing’s first, promote your yard sale as a moving sale, which could help you attract a buyer. And while signage is a no-brainer (tips for successful signage below), you can take it to the next level by placing an ad in your local newspaper. It’s recommended to run your ad on the two days prior to your sale, as well as the day of, but try to submit your ad to the publication at least a week ahead. Include any “hot items” you’re selling, in addition to the basics.
When creating effective signage, here are a few good tips:
- Print in letters big and bold enough so people can easily read from their car
- Only include the necessary info (i.e. date, hours, street address and directional arrows) and don’t forget to write on both sides and point arrows in the correct direction
- Add balloons, streamers or pinwheels to catch attention
- Place at the busiest intersection(s) closest to your house
- Think outside the neighborhood and place signs at grocery stores, strip centers and other places where people gather.
3. The Night Before/Day of Garage Sale
Knock Out the Necessities: Put out your signs the night before so you’ll have one less thing to do in the morning. Pus, don’t forget to get about $100 worth of change. Set aside with other logistical items you’ll need to run the sale, like a money box or fanny pack, a calculator, a pad of paper to put price stickers on post-sale, and so forth.
Pre-determine Pricing: Be sure to think about pricing prior to the start of the sale—1/2 to 1/3 of the retail price is usually a good rule of thumb—and clearly mark items with price stickers, or tape 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper onto larger merchandise, like furniture. Willing to barter? Opt to hang up “We Negotiate” signs rather than featuring the words, “Make Me An Offer” in lieu of dollar amounts.
Display Items Attractively: Presentation is key for selling. Be sure to neatly display and organize your items. Make sure your goods are clean and tidy. Plus, do your best to keep merchandise off the floor.
When In Doubt, Discount: During the last 1-2 hours of your sale, up the ante and help move unwanted goods by marking down your original pricing to 50% off. Not only will it further tempt and entice shoppers, but it’ll reduce the amount of junk you’ll have to box up, cart off, and ultimately get rid of anyway. Plus, any money is better than no money, right?