You know you do not want to take all of your old stuff to your new place. Chances are, you are planning to host a sale. Garage sale, yard sale, estate sale, rummage sale … no matter what you call it, here are some things to remember to make your sale a success.
Have a game plan
The success of your sale depends on the amount of advanced planning you put in. Know beforehand what you want to sell, when you need to have it gone and what you will do with the things that do not sell.
Know what to sell
Big-ticket items might sell better on craigslist or another classified site, but if you do decide to sell them at your moving sale, determine in advance the lowest price you will accept. Have heirlooms and items you think might have higher value appraised and perhaps offer them to collectors or dealers through eBay or other auction venues. When people come to a garage sale, they expect to get a great deal. Selling for the same or similar price as discount chains will leave you with as much as you began.
Know when to sell
Many municipalities only allow yard sales on specific weekends throughout the year. That means your sale is competing with the entire city for customers. It also means, however, that your city may be drawing customers from the surrounding area to your sale, and may provide much of the advertising for you. Check with your city clerk’s office before planning your sale to make sure you do not need a permit, and to make sure the day or weekend you have chosen is allowable.
Know your customers
For some of us, a garage or yard sale is a casual pastime if we happen across one on a free Saturday morning. For others, it is their go-to place children’s clothing, summer outdoor toys, and other inexpensive family items. Still others are professional garage-salers.
Professionals include collectors, buyers for auction and antique houses, Amazon or eBay sellers, and flea market space owners. When advertising, be sure to list the important categories so your buyers know to come to you first. Expect professionals to come early (or late to scoop up what’s left), know the price they will pay and be in and out quickly.
Casual buyers browse and may ask many questions. If you have small (or large) appliances for sale, be sure to have an electrical outlet or extension cord available so they can test them.
Note: Some power tools and appliances, such as some air compressors, are designed not to work on extension cords and require direct access to an outlet.
Your neighbors and friends may come for moral support or to get a glimpse of what you have for sale with no thought of purchase in mind. If you can, get them to help you out by holding the fort while you take a restroom break.
Know your prices
Set prices ahead of time. Consult online pricing guides like this one from Garage Sales Tracker. Mark every item. Many browsers will pick up an item of interest only to set it down if they do not see a price.
Know your setup
Arrange your area so that exiting traffic flows past you. This helps you handle sales while keeping a watchful eye on potential thieves. Make sure there is plenty of room between tables so shoppers can continue to move toward the items drawing their interest. Hang adult clothing if possible and group by gender and size. Determine in advance if you will allow shoppers to try on clothing and set up a makeshift dressing room. Do not invite strangers into your home to try on clothing.
Know what you need in advance
Have plenty of cash on hand to make change. Many an impulse sale is lost due to lack of change for a large bill. Have a bag or cashbox to keep money out of site and assign someone to keep an eye on it at all times. Consider having snacks available (inexpensive cookies and ice water or powdered lemonade is fine) to encourage visitors to stick around for a few minutes.
Have a free pile
Items you intend to give away or take to a charity might just be the draw you need to get a customer to stop by, so place a large sign in front of the free stuff and set it out toward the front of your driveway or sale area. These items may also keep children occupied while their parents shop.
Plan the cleanup
Just like the home makeover shows do, have a designated charity scheduled to pickup the leftovers when the sale is over, or have a friend or family member with a pickup ready to take them to the donation center. When the sale is done you will not have to store those items, you can move on to packing your boxes and planning your move.