How to make the most of your garage sale

  |     |   Helpful Tips

As the end of summer is here, you may look around your apartment or townhome and realize…you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff you don’t necessarily need. Do you really want to be tripping over extra furniture or household items once winter comes and you’re stuck inside for longer stretches of time? If not, a garage sale may be in your future, giving you the double win of fewer belongings as well as some unexpected additional cash.

That said, where do you begin? Whether you decide to do a solo sale or team up with several other renters or even local homeowners in your neighborhood, these tips can help ensure your garage sale will be a success.

1. Plan for the win (create your categories now)

Once you make the commitment to host a garage sale, start with a small, but critical task—sorting your belongings into categories. There are three key categories as you begin your sorting project (and only three): Sell, Donate, Discard. Any items you come across that don’t fall into one of these three categories should be something that has either a strong personal meaning for you, or you use it on a regular basis, OR you know as an iron-clad fact that it will have an honored place in your next home. As Marie Kondo would tell us, if it doesn’t spark joy…out it goes.

Bonus tip: stock up on supplies in advance, including boxes, bins, tape, labels, markers, price tags, trash bags for your discard or donation items. Gathering supplies up front will save you both time and stress down the line.

2. Find a buddy

Garage sales can be daunting, and so can the idea of launching one alone. Check local listings for neighborhood garage sales or talk to some of your friends or neighbors to see if you can team up. This tip is particularly helpful if you don’t have a garage, or if your apartment community isn’t keen on you staging a sale on their property. Join forces with a friend or family member who has an easy-access location, and you could see your sales increase dramatically. Plus, teaming up with friends will help keep you accountable for actually getting the work done.

3. Set a date (and tell people about it)

Speaking of accountability, setting a date is one of the most critical steps to making sure the garage sale happens. Bonus points for making up flyers/signs to post at local hangouts, getting listed in your church bulletin, or posting your sale on sites like Next Door, Facebook, etc. The more people who know the garage sale is coming up, the more likely you are to stick to your plans.

NOTE: choose a date that’s soon but not too soon. Make sure you give yourself enough time to pull together as many items as you can without adding unnecessary stress to your life!

3. Don’t just clean…deep clean

It’s one thing to set aside that extra shelf unit you simply don’t use anymore, or the exercise bike that mostly (okay, only) serves as a clothing rack. But if you’re going to take the time to host a garage sale, don’t stop there. Target every closet in your place, and pull out all the extra boxes that you haven’t looked at since you moved in.

Do you really need fourteen crates of Christmas decorations? Do you seriously want to wear clothing that fit three years ago and went out of style two years before that? What about those shoes you used to wear during your “clubbing” years back before you cared about not having sore ankles? This is your chance to get real about the person you’ve become, and to make room for him/her in your life.

4. Price for success

Try to be as rational as possible in setting your prices. Remember, your primary goal is to get rid of unwanted items, not to make a killing with your extra stuff. Fortunately, there are many online sites that helpfully provide a good rule of thumb for pricing the most common items in a garage sale. Just do a search on “how should I price my garage sale items?” and you’ll come up with roughly 163 million Google answers (ask me how I know). Also, don’t think you should price high and expect people to haggle you down. Many shoppers don’t have the time or the temperament for that, and it’s not worth losing the sale.

5. Get ready to shine on Garage Sale Day

It’s the big day! How do you stage your items for success? Here are some quick, last minute tips:

  • Bundle similar items together. Maybe you won’t be able to unload 15 books for thirty cents each, but a bundle of 15 for $5? Now you’re talking!
  • Present higher ticket items attractively, with plenty of space for people to see them from a distance.
  • Draw people into your garage sale with items you know will go quickly (like children’s toys) in a highly visible position.
  • Make your prices easy-to-find and easy-to-read.
  • Have plenty of change on hand.
  • Have a truck rented (or borrowed) and at the ready to take what’s left over to a donation or discard site. (You *will* have stuff left over!)

6. Celebrate!

Congratulations! You’ve cleared some unwanted items from your apartment or townhome and possibly earned some sweet cash in the process. Now, it’s time for you and your friends to celebrate. Here’s to a successful Garage Sale!

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