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5 Strategies for Preparing for a Great Garage Sale

Written by contributor Emily McClements of Live Renewed.

A great way to work toward simplifying our lives and our stuff is by getting rid of our stuff, and selling it to others who may have a need and use for things that we don”t.  When we sell our stuff, we give others the opportunity to , instead of having to go out and buy that item new.  We save resources, we help others save money, and we can even make a little money in return!

It”s garage sale season, and I love to go to sales and find treasures for our family.  But, I also love to get rid of my own stuff by selling it at a garage sale. Here are a few tips for preparing for a successful garage sale.

1. Declutter, declutter, declutter!

Obviously, to have a successful garage sale you have to have stuff to sell.  I like to keep an ongoing box/pile in my basement of garage sale stuff. Whenever I come across something that I realize I don”t use or want any more, I can easily add it to the pile of stuff to sell, get it out of my living space and have it set aside when the time comes to organize a sale.

But, it”s also a good idea to do a thorough decluttering before having a garage sale, making sure you”ve gone through all the areas of your home and gotten rid of stuff you are not using that is just taking up space.  This spring, I worked on Simple Mom”s Project Simplify hot spots, and that really helped me to start my decluttering.

Then, I committed to a declutter challenge of getting rid of 100 items in the month of April, going through different areas around my house and adding even more to my garage sale pile.

If you weren”t able to go through Project Simplify at the time, you could still go back and do the hot spot challenges to declutter around your home and find stuff to put in your sale.

2. Try to plan your sale with family or friends.

Larger sales draw more customers and usually sell more stuff. People like to have a large selection of stuff to choose from at a sale, not just a scant table or two of random stuff.  We have had a sale every year for the past three years, and even though we still somehow have a fair amount of stuff to sell, it”s not enough to have a good sale on our own.

So, if you know of someone else who also has stuff to sell, go in together for your sale.

It may take a little more work for one family to transport their stuff to another house, and to keep track of the money during the sale, but I think the extra money you”ll make from having a multi-family sale would make the extra work worth it.

Photo by EvelynGiggles

3. Sort like items together and price them together

Having an organized sale is important for making your stuff appealing for people to buy.   Sort like items together – kitchen stuff, decorations, books, DVDs, kids stuff, clothes and shoes by size, etc.  Label items that people may not know exactly what it is, or what it does, or to describe an item. For example, a sticker that says, “Ice cream maker, works well and all parts and instruction manual included” will help buyers to feel confident about purchasing your items.

Then price similar items together by using easy to read signs to save yourself the work of pricing items individually. Place like items in easy to sort through boxes or bins, with the price on the front.  I think that people are more likely to buy things when they know up front what the price is and don”t have to come to you and ask the price of something.

4. Be prepared to let stuff go.

While it”s good to make prices easy to read and clear, it”s also important to be able to let your stuff go.  Lots of buyers at garage sales are looking for good deals and will try to negotiate a price with you.  I know I often do this if there is something I want but I think the price is too high.

While some sellers are annoyed by this, I figure that an item is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If you put something out in the sale, be willing to sell it, even if it”s for a little less than what you think it should be.  After all, it”s worth nothing if it doesn”t sell at all!

5. Donate everything after the sale is over.

If the point of having a garage sale was to clear out your clutter and simplify your life, then commit to not letting the stuff back into your house once it”s been set out for the sale.  Once your sale is over, pack your car with the leftover stuff and take it directly to a thrift store”s donation center. Don”t let the stuff back in your home!

Garage sales are good for the planet because they keep things out of the landfills, help people to buy used, instead of buying new, which keeps raw materials and resources from being used.

If you are needing some motivation to declutter and simplify around your house, plan to have a garage sale, and then prepare to have the most successful garage sale that you can!

Do you like to shop at garage sales? What are your best tips or tricks for holding a successful garage sale?

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  1. Tiffany

    We just moved into a house quite a bit smaller than our last so it’s forced me to go through EVERYTHING and decide what’s worth keeping. I feel like I’ve lost 10 pounds just getting all the stuff we don’t love/need out of our house! We’ll be having a huge garage sale at the end of the month. Now I am looking forward to an empty garage and some extra cash!

  2. Sarah

    We held a garage sale last fall before we moved, and it was a doozey! The amazing thing was that at the end of the morning, a man came and offered $200 for everythings left, which mostly included knick-nacks and other junk. He was taking it to an auction on a nearby island. We were so excited not to have to haul the leftover stuff off to Goodwill! The only tips I have are: start pricing things as you weed them out of your house, have an extra friend around for security, advertise on craigslist and your local paper, and with local signs. Our local paper even has a garage sale map each weekend on its website, and listing was free!

  3. Living the Balanced Life

    I have done yard sales in the past and I think they can be good depending on your location and what you are trying to sell. The last one I had didn’t go so well, and I ended up listing the appliances and a piano on craigslist that Saturday morning during the sale. I only made about $75 on the smaller stuff from people coming by, but was able to sell the big stuff via craiglsist in the same weekend.

    • Emily @ Live Renewed

      Craigslist is definitely a great option for selling larger items and getting a better price for them than you probably would at a garage sale. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Amanda

    Thank you! I’m planning a yard sale for next weekend…great tips! I like the idea about grouping like with like and even putting up the little “shoes” sign. It’s my experience that the more professional the sale is, the more people are willing to spend. Not as good for them, ha, but good for you!

  5. Ginny

    Thanks so much for the great information! We’re planning a garage sale soon as part of our “get out of debt” master plan, so this was so helpful.

    • margret

      This is our plan also to pay off the winter credit card debt by garage sale.I am going to use these tips and it should be more organized. Thank you 😉

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