Today in the Summer Moving Series we’ll attack another crucial part of summer moving: planning a garage sale. If you’ve started the packing and sorting process, you’ve surely realized you have a lot of stuff you no longer want or need. Moving gives you a great opportunity to gather it all together and have a garage sale for some extra cash.
Getting a garage sale permit
Once you know you’re going to have a garage sale, you should investigate the local regulations for it. These can vary in each location. Make sure you call your local city offices and ask if there are any special rules for garage sales such as special permits for advertising, or restrictions on what items you can or cannot sell.
Choosing the dates
When choosing a good date to have your garage sale, try to avoid holiday or long weekends. Many people will be travelling or celebrating, and won’t be in the garage sale “mood”. Instead try to schedule it as close as possible after the 1st or the 15th of the month, which is when people have been recently paid and will have a bit more disposable income. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can try and coordinate with other neighbors to have a garage sale block sale. A large sale will attract larger crowds and help everyone be more profitable.
Make sure that you choose a firm starting time. Yard sales attract early birds, and no one wants angry customers at their door at 6 AM.
Selecting your items for sale
Furniture, clothes, and children’s toys in good condition usually sell well. However, when you’re choosing what you’re going to sell and what you’re not, make sure that you don’t trash anything that could be sold. Even if you see a flaw in the item, you never know what people are looking for. You can always trash or donate something you don’t sell afterwards. The only things you shouldn’t put up for sale are things that broken beyond repair, illegal, or dangerous. If you do end up donating items, be sure to get a donation receipt so that you can get a tax-credit.
As often as you can, try to set up prices for things before the day of the sale. If you’re not sure what something is worth, check auction sites like eBay or classifieds like Craigslist for similar items. Keep pricing simple increments of 25 cents work well. You don’t have to price every item individually. If you have a set of items that go together, have a price for the whole set or leave them open for bargaining. Remember that most people will try to bargain down the price you list, so leave yourself a bit of leeway for that when pricing your more valuable items.
Advertising your garage sale
There are a lot of free options for advertising your garage sale. A simple sign that gives your address, dates and times, and highlights a few key items you will have for sale can generate a lot of traffic. Take advantage of free advertising space on community boards, churches, local businesses and coffee shops. Placing an ad in the local paper is usually worth the money, but don’t forget to also list it online on sites like craigslist. A few days before your sale, make sure to put up signs around busy intersections near your neighborhood announcing your sale (just make sure you have permission to do so).
A few extra tips
• When setting up for your garage sale, try to make your bigger items such as furniture or appliances visible from the street, as well as a sign announcing your sale, and big tags to make it obvious they’re being sold.
• If you’re selling electronics, make sure you have an extension cord where people can try them and make sure they work.
• Always have more than one person working at the sale. Not only will this keep you safe, but it will help when you’re answering people’s questions.
• Any clothes that you are selling should be freshly cleaned. No one will buy dirty clothes!
• Post “All Sales Final” and “As Is” signs.
You should be well on your way towards having a great garage sale and getting rid of unwanted items while making a little cash. For more tips on preparing for a big move, check out our articles on household moving.