If there’s one thing that’s always true about moving, it’s that it is the perfect opportunity to get rid of things you no longer want or need. And while you could easily trash, recycle or donate those items (and if you do want to donate, here’s where to do it), hosting a pre-move garage sale is an excellent way to both get rid of things and make a couple extra bucks to cover those moving expenses. Follow these 11 Tips for Holding a Successful Pre-Move Garage Sale
There are even more benefits to a pre-move garage sale than just making some easy money. The less stuff you have to load on the moving truck, the lighter the truckload and the cheaper your move will be. Plus, you’ll spend a lot less time packing and unpacking items that you don’t have much use for anyway. And if you have a sentimental tie to the items, it may feel better to see them going to a new owner than just getting them out of sight.
Hosting a successful pre-move garage sale takes a bit more work than simply arranging your things on your front lawn and sticking up a sign. If you want to get rid of the most items possible and for the best price possible, follow these 11 tips for holding a successful pre-move garage sale.
Set a date and time
Be smart about the date and time you choose. A weekend day is best, preferably a Saturday. Spring is usually the ideal time for hosting a garage sale, since the weather is finally turning and people are eager to be outside. Avoid hosting a pre-move garage sale on a holiday or a day when something big is going on in your town, like a major sporting event. Timing wise, aim to start in the morning and go through the afternoon. And be prepared for early birds who may show up a little bit before the set start time.
Check with the local authorities
You’re probably not going to encounter any trouble hosting a garage sale, but just to be safe, call your local city hall and inquire about whether you need a special permit or if there are any rules or regulations you need to be aware of. Do this about three or four weeks out, so that if you do have to get a permit or make other preparations you have time to get it all figured out.
Make an inventory
Just like a real store, you’ll want to keep an inventory of the items you’re offering. It will help you stay organized both in the set up and when things get rolling. To start, go around your home noting the items you’d like to sell. Be judicious in your choices – if something doesn’t serve a purpose in your life but may in someone else’s, there’s no reason to hold onto it. If you want, you can start organizing the items in one place so they’re ready for you when it’s time to set up. The inventory will help you see exactly what’s going to go, and will also come in handy on garage sale day itself, when you may get a question about whether you’re offering a certain thing.
The more (good) items, the better
Don’t just search the obvious spots for garage sale items, like closets and cabinets. Also check out your basement, attic, shed, and garage, which have likely accrued many items you haven’t looked at or needed in years. We all know the saying that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. If an item is useful and in good condition, it’s worth putting out. That being said, if an item is broken, dirty, or in otherwise poor condition, you’re probably better off just getting rid of it. Focus on items that generally do well at garage sales, like tools and vintage glassware.
Get creative with your advertising
A sign on the side of the road is the most common way to advertise a garage sale, but it’s not necessarily the most effective. Expand your marketing efforts on to social media, where you’ll have a bigger reach. You may also want to consider printing off flyers and asking local businesses if they wouldn’t mind posting them in their windows. The more you can get the word out, the more likely you are to draw a decent crowd. Be sure to list a few details about what kinds of thing you’ll be selling so that people know what to expect.
Ask your neighbors if they’re interested in joining in
Bigger garage sales will garner more attention. If you don’t have a ton of items to sell (or, if you just want to make the sale as big as possible), ask one or more neighbors if they’d like to host garage sales at the same time as you and then all agree on a date and time together. Doing this will enable you to advertise to more people, and it will probably also make the day itself more enjoyable.
Set fair prices
One of the main objectives of a pre-move sale is to make money, but if you set your prices too high, you’re going to have less buyers. People go to garage sales expecting a good deal, so you likely won’t be able to get away with charging the true value of an item, or even the price that a secondhand store may charge for it. If you think an item is worth more than you can sell it for at your garage sale, bring it to a consignment shop instead.
Check out a couple garage sales in your neighborhood that are taking place before yours so you can see what kind of prices are being set. If that’s not possible, just err on the side of pricing things where they’re most likely to sell – $1 for a book or record, $2 for clothes, $3 for kitchenware, etc. Write your prices clearly with a marker on a neon sticker and affix it to the item. This will make it easy for shoppers to read them.
Offer bulk deals
Pricing deals will help you move more items, and may encourage someone to buy who may otherwise not have. If you’re offering books at $1 for example, offer two for $1.50, or three for $2. It will make your buyers feel like they’re getting more for their money. You can even offer surprise grab-bags, where the buyer purchases them at a set price and then finds out what’s in them afterwards. It’s a great way to get rid of odds and ends, and the surprise aspect makes them enticing. If you do that, just be sure not to fill them with complete junk – there should be things of some value in there.
Be open to haggling
Ideally, people will just pay you the price that you set for an item, but people who love a good deal also tend to enjoy getting an even better one if they can. If you’ve found an interested buyer for an item but they don’t want to pay full price, consider dropping it down. It doesn’t have to be the price they’re offering (though if it’s fair, take it), but reducing the price just a little may make them more likely to purchase. If there are items that you know you won’t be willing to adjust pricing on, write “firm” on the sticker.
Your garage sale doesn’t have to look like a professional sale, but it should have some degree of organization to it. Keep like items together, and rearrange items as things sell to keep everything looking nice. Display items in a way that makes them easier to sift through, such as records in a cardboard box, clothes hanging on a rack, and jewelry laid out on a felt mat, and try to spread items out so there’s room for people to walk around and browse.
Even the tiniest of extra touches can bring more people in. You can sell drinks, snacks, and/or baked goods along with your items, or offer a cooler of something refreshing for free drinks on a hot day (even ice water is a nice touch). It’s a little bit more work on your part, but it may be worth it at the end of the day.
A pre-move garage sale is a fun way to get rid of things and earn some extra dough, but don’t take it too seriously or let it stress you out. Have a good time with it, and take it for a fun and interesting experience. And when it’s over, donate the items that haven’t sold instead of packing them – after all, you’ve already decided you can live without them. Follow these 11 tips for holding a successful pre-move garage sale