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 find something used that they need, 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?