Saturday, June 28, 2008

Clear Some Clutter and Stash Some Cash

Garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, rummage sales; whatever you call it in your corner of the globe, like it or not, it can be a great way to unload some clutter. The thing about these types of sales is that it's a toss up. You can sit out there all morning and make a whopping dollar-fifty, or worse yet, not even recoup your advertising costs. You never really know if the weather's going to be a factor or if the traffic will bring the just-right customers through who are looking for what you're selling. As a whole, I find donating items throughout the year is the best route to go, but sometimes a sale is in order (like if you have a large amount to get rid of all at once).

But, if the time has come for you to unload some of your treasures on unsuspecting neighbors, there's definitely a right and wrong way to make the most of your sale. Keep these things in mind:
  • Be willing to negotiate on price. Some people just like to "haggle". If you think you have something of considerable value, check out the going price on ebay or amazon so you know what you're dealing with.
  • Don't be offended if someone offers you less than your tag price. Keep in mind that for some people, it's the "thrill" of the bargain. Some people will just always try to talk you down, even on the 50 cent shirt you only wore once.
  • Organize your goods by sections, like a store; toys, clothing, electronics, kitchen items, etc. Your customers will enjoy looking longer and more looking = more money!
  • Have plenty of change and bills on hand as well as bags, newspapers for wrapping fragile items, a notebook, pen and calculator.
  • If multiple people are selling things, use a different color price sticker for each person. You'll know immediately who to credit for the sale.
  • See if your neighbors want to have a community sale. You're more likely to attract a larger crowd of customers and you can split the advertising costs.
  • Check local codes, regulations and neighborhood covenants. Some areas require permits to hold a sale. It's also a good idea to post a "not responsible for accidents" sign, just in case.
  • Don't stash things away for more than 6 months in preparation of a sale. My mom would hold on to things for years just for her next sale. These were usually the thing that didn't sell from the time before. Sorry, Mom--had to go there.
  • This brings us to our final tip: Immediately pack up leftovers and drop off at a local charity or arrange for them to pick up. If you were willing to part with them before, you should be fine with letting them go to a good cause. Your "compensation"? Creating a more organized living space. If you still have an item or two that is very valuable, consider taking it to a consignment, resale or pawn shop or listing it on the internet.

Having a sale can be a lot of work, but you can make some of your money back from past purchases and it sometimes makes parting with things a little easier. Use your profits to treat yourself to a day at the spa, dinner and a movie, a weekend away or something you've been wanting to buy. You deserve it!

Do you have more great garage sale tips you've found helpful?

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Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

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Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.