Once you’ve cleaned and organized your house from top to bottom, what is the best way to get rid of all your unwanted junk? If time is of the essence, donate it all to a favorite charity thrift shop. But if you’d like to recoup some of the money you spent, try a garage sale. Here’s how to clear out and cash in.
Prepwork. Before your yard sale, pull out any special items or big-ticket items that would be better sold individually through Craigslist or one of the many community-based online “buy-sell-trade” sites. Designer handbags, high-end bicycles, jewelry, nicer clothes and toys and nicer furniture are among the items that likely will sell for a higher price online.
Check with the authorities. It’s always best to check with your homeowners assocation to make sure sales are permitted in your neighborhood. Some cities also require approval, and in some cases, a permit.
Advertise. Use Craigslist, Facebook and the other online sites or social platforms to market your garage sale. They are all free to post. Use photos and be as specific as possible about the items you have for sale. Also be sure to provide clear directions to the sale and clear sale dates and hours. Signs posted on main roads near the neighborhood are essential for directing people on sale day, but check local ordinances regarding such signs. After the sale, remove signs immediately.
Pricing. Be realistic. You won’t get top dollar for your stuff at a yard sale. You will be lucky to recoup one quarter of the original price for something that is considered “like new.” The idea is to get rid of your things. Also, be sure to mark every item with a price.
Prices for children’s clothing range from $1 to $3. Adult clothes start at $1, with the most expensive items no more than $10. Shoe prices typically run from $3 to $7. CDs and DVDs sell for $1 to $3 while toys and games are usually no more than $5 and typically $1 or less.
Furniture should be offered for $5 to $100, depending on type, quality and original price. Lawn tools usually sell for $5, while motorized equipment still in working order go for about one quarter to one third of the original price.
Display. Borrow as many tables as possible to best display your items. Hang clothing on the open garage door or borrow a rolling clothes rack. Group like items together. Consider having a 25-cent table or a $1 table. A free box at the end of the driveway is always a nice touch and a great way to get rid of things like extra shoelaces, partially used cleaning products, disposable plastics and other items that aren’t worth selling but still hold some value.
Sale day. Saturdays typically are the best days for garage sales, followed by Sundays, then Fridays. Veteran garage sale shoppers will be out early so it’s best to start your sale by 7 a.m. to catch shoppers who come ready to spend. The stream of buyers will dwindle quickly after nine or ten so plan on ending your sale at noon.
What to do with leftovers? Now is the time to donate to a local charity and get a receipt for your taxes. Resist thoughts of bringing items back into your home, which would quickly defeat the purpose of your decluttering mission.