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Cutting Through the Clutter: Your best garage sale yet

Beth RandallMay 21, 2019

By Beth Randall

This past weekend, I held a garage sale. If you have been following my column, you might have read last month I have been making a lot of decluttering decisions after we redecorated the first floor of our house. Which led to the question: What do we do with all this excess stuff?

After going through it all and already having it in one location, it was a no-brainer to have a garage sale.

I have some great tips on having a very successful garage sale. I have had many myself and have assisted a whole bunch of clients with their garage sales. The first thing you need to do is determine if having a garage sale is worth it to you.

In other words, what is your time worth? I sat down and made a list of the Top 5 items I was selling at the highest price. That totaled about $150. Then, I thought to myself, is all the time I spend prepping for the garage sale and actually working the garage sale worth $150 and more?

To me, the answer was easy. Not only would I pocket $150-plus, I would be getting rid of all this stuff in my basement I no longer needed, used nor loved.

I chose the first weekend in May because people are anxious to go garage sale-hunting after the very long winter. I also like the first weekend of any month because it’s usually right after people collect their paycheck. However, you must keep in mind the weather might not cooperate, so you will need a back-up plan.

For us, the weather was beautiful, and the crowds came swarming.

The best way to sell the most stuff is to ensure people know about your garage sale. I posted our sale on four different websites. You could find it on Craig’s List, plainfield.bookoo.com, Gsalr.com and garagesalefinder.com.

I also had some fantastic signs — eight of them. Guiding people from every major intersection within 3 miles of my house all the way to my street corner. As people showed up at the sale, I took a poll to find out how they learned about my sale.

Everyone said they followed the signs, and some said they also read about it online. I would recommend you do both. I also posted it a couple times on my Facebook page.

Once you have the customers at the sale, the next most important thing is to have all your merchandise as clean as you can get it. Dirty, smelly, broken or stained items are not going to sell. No doubt about it.

The cleaner, nicer, prettier you can make your items, the more likely they will sell. However, if they are not priced, then it does not matter how attractive they are — the object most likely will not sell. You must price all items.

A price will give your customers a starting point. With a price, nine times out of 10, the customers will not ask you to lower it. Of course, that is if you have everything priced fairly. As you are pricing your merchandise, do not dwell on what you paid for it, but rather, what will someone else pay for it knowing it is a used item?

Also keep in mind, the goal of the garage sale is to get rid of stuff. Making some money is secondary.

At the end of the sale, make a list of everything you have left, write down the value of it, box it up and take it to your local charity and save the receipt for tax purposes.

If you follow these guidelines, I believe you will have your best garage sale yet.

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