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Garage Sales Guide

This tutorial will help you coordinate a successful garage sale. There are many benefits to having a sale before moving, but you will need to ask yourself the following questions to be certain that this is for you.

  • Do you have time to organize a garage sale before your move?
  • Do you have items worth selling and is there a market for what you have to offer?
  • Is your home's location conducive to a successful garage sale?
  • Will you have help on the day of the garage sale?
A garage sale can make you money and help you save money by reducing the cost of moving and shipping your household items to your new location.

First steps

  • Find out if your homeowners association has rules about conducting a moving sale. Some communities may not allow sales of any type.
  • Get in contact with your local village hall or municipal center and inquire if there are permit requirements.
  • Find out if your homeowner's insurance covers liability for injuries a consumer might sustain while on your property.
  • Consider a block sale. See if any neighbors are interested in joining a sale. This will help keep you motivated, make it more fun and may increase the general turnout.
  • See if your community has a web site where you can post information about the moving sale.
  • Before hanging signs, make sure your city or town allows you to do so.
  • Try to round up some help for the day of the sale. It is tough to conduct a sale by yourself.
  • Start saving shopping bags, plastic grocery bags and boxes.

Get organized

Let's begin the organization process by figuring out what you will sell.
  • If you have not used an item within the last five years, you can probably live without it. Go ahead and sell it!
  • Make a list of all the items you'd like to sell.
  • Consider that it could be more expensive to move and ship certain, larger items than it is to just sell them for a minimal amount, particularly if you won't need the item at your new residence.
  • Items such as snow blowers are not necessary in some parts of the country, you may consider getting rid of them now.
  • If you are planning on moving and shipping items such as snow blowers (and lawn mowers), you must follow standard moving guidelines, such as purging fuel from the machine. The gas can you have used to refill the machine cannot be transported, either. Is it really worth all of the trouble moving your snow blower? Could you sell it, make some money and buy yourself a comfy chair to use at the beach because it does not snow at your new locale?

What to sell

We have listed some items which seem to sell quite well in moving sales. Remember, what is junk to one could be treasure to another. Use common sense. If the item is in good shape and possibly useful although somewhat unusual, give it a shot. You may want to put a fairly low price tag on it to assist in selling it.
  • Audio, visual and photography equipment
  • Books
  • Appliances, large and small
  • Bottles and jars
  • Baby furniture, equipment and toys. Be certain your baby items are in proper working order. If there is any question about the integrity of the item, it is better to discard than to take the chance of causing injury to an infant.
  • All kitchen items
  • Furniture
  • Records, CDs and videos
  • Garden tools
  • Games, bikes and toys
  • Canoeing and fishing equipment
  • Lamps, mirrors and pictures
  • Sports and exercise equipment
  • Lawn and patio furniture
  • Plants: Note: Most professional moving companies will not take your plants as part of the shipment.
  • Musical instruments
  • Rugs and carpets

Set the price

Make sure you price items according to their worth, not their worth to you. An excellent way to do this is by having a friend or family member (outside your immediate family) assist you in pricing items for the moving sale. Someone who is not emotionally attached to the item is likely to set a more realistic price.
  • Charge about 20 percent of the original price, if the item is in good working order or excellent condition.
  • Leave some room for bargaining when pricing your items
  • Used books and clothing usually bring in a lower price.
  • Make sure you inform the buyer of the items you are selling if they do not work. Let them know it is an "as is" price.
  • Secure a tag to each item and record prices on a sheet. This will assist you in keeping track of what you have sold and finding the price if the price tag should fall off.
  • A way to make sure those undesirable items will sell before your move is to bundle them. Put one or two good items in with one or two lesser items and sell them as a lot.

Bring in the buyers

Treat your moving sale like a retail business. Merchandise your items in an appealing way. Think about the times you have gone into a store and were attracted to a particular article of clothing because of how it looked on the mannequin or accessories on a piece of furniture. Presentation matters, so put some thought into it.

  • Put like items together on the table or shelf
  • Use signs to draw potential customers to certain sections of the sale.
  • Wash, iron and neatly fold or hang all clothing.
  • Polish silver or brass.
  • If you are having a joint sale, mark your items with your own color tag, but keep similar items together.
  • Clean all glass and mirrors.
  • By making your items look appealing, they should sell.
Advertise cleverly and aggressively.
  • Run ads in the neighborhood paper
  • Distribute announcements
  • Use a map on your street signs to help customers find your home.