Arguably, the best advice you can ever get when moving house is to get rid of all unnecessary items before the move by organizing a moving sale. This moving tip alone will reduce the transportation costs and will put cash in your pocket at the same time.
How to organize a successful moving sale / garage sale / yard sale?
Here are the best 10 tips for managing a moving sale – not just any sale but one that proves to be wildly successful, very profitable and even kind of fun.
#1. Team up with friends and neighbors
Organizing a successful moving sale all by yourself is hard work and things may soon become overwhelming for you to handle all the details of the planned garage sale. This is why, before anything else, it’s a great idea to ask neighbors and friends if they’re also planning a yard sale so that you can team up and combine together a few garage sales.
Strength in numbers!
The bonus of hosting a bigger yard sale before moving out is that cooperative efforts will be joined to organize, network and resource a large-scale sale event that will attract more people (understand potential buyers) and will become more profitable as a result.
To eliminate mistakes during a shared moving sale, have the corresponding sellers’ initials on the price stickers to keep track of which seller sold what.
#2. Advertise your moving sale
To organize a successful yard sale before moving, you must think about the best way to advertise your moving sale as part of the preparation stage. Regrettably, you can’t do without proper advertising – people just won’t know you’re hosting a garage sale, and so nobody will come. It’s that simple, really.
- Online advertising is usually free, so get down to it. Use social networks to promote your upcoming moving sale – creating a Facebook event can be especially useful in spreading the word among your friends. Also, use specialized websites such as com / Craigslist / Yardies.com / Weekend treasure to advertise the event.
- Advertising in the local newspaper is also a good option but it will cost you money.
Whichever option you choose to promote your moving sale, make sure you place plenty of pictures in the ads – photos of the most attractive items you plan to get rid of before the move.
#3. Put up thoughtful and attractive signs
Putting up signs and posters in the neighborhood is an essential part of holding a successful garage sale. Even if you don’t have enough time to place an ad in the local newspaper or promote your pre-move garage sale online, you’re still going to need to place signs around the area because they will not only inform passers-by of the yard sale, but they will also point them to your doorstep with the help of arrows.
Be extra careful where you place the sale signs – check with the local authorities to avoid a possible fine.
- Use BIG BLACK LETTERS on a bright background (bright yellow, for example) to make your signs or posters stand out. Be consistent with the design of your signs and posters – use one color and the same handwriting and style of letters.
- Write the dates and starting times of the garage sale. What’s the best time to hold a garage sale? Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are the usual days to have garage sales. Also, 8 am is a good time to open your sale, usually until around 4 pm.
- Don’t just write the address of your home because most people won’t bother looking for it. Instead, place arrowed signs on every corner so that potential customers can easily follow the route from the main road to your driveway and your home.
#4. Sort, group and arrange all items like inside a store
There are several steps to organizing a profitable moving sale, and one of them is to organize your items as if they were displayed inside a department store. Make sure each and every item is properly grouped, categorized, arranged, labeled, and priced. The worst thing you could do is just dump the stuff for sale on the ground and force people to dig through piles of disorganized junk to find something worthy. It just won’t work.
- Probably one of the best garage sale tips and tricks at all times is to use plenty of tables to arrange your items. That’s right – borrow as many tables you can from friends and neighbors to make the items both more accessible and presentable.
- Sort out and group similar items together – books, CDs, baby stuff, children toys, shoes, clothing, kitchen items, electric items, power tools, etc. Remember that the arrangement of your moving sale should make sense to people. If your sale looks total random and disorganized, people will not stay for very long, and thus you’ll lose potential buyers. On the other hand, if everything is organized and clean and clear and tidy, then whoever’s come to your garage sale will stick around and buy more stuff.
- Hang whatever pieces of clothing you have for sale, don’t just pile them in large boxes and expect people to dig them out. Use as many hangers as you can spare to have the clothes displayed nicely as if they were inside a clothes store.
#5. Price your things correctly
Our tips for hosting a successful garage sale before moving to another home continue with the crucial topic of pricing your merchandise so that it actually sells.
Don’t price the items for sale too high because, well, they just won’t sell. It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t possibly get back the money you had spent to purchase those items.
- The main goal of having a garage sale is to get rid of the items prior to the move so price those items wisely – 30% of the retail price is a good way to start but there are many factors that can influence the price.
- Price each item for sale. That’s right – each and every one. Yes, individual pricing will take time but that way you’ll make it easier for your customers to buy things. Most people find it rather annoying to have to constantly ask the price, and some of them won’t bother at all. Use stickers or price tags that display the prices in a visible way, so that all the prices can be seen right away.
- Keep the prices simple, use increment steps of $1 and $0.50.
- Make sure you have tons of change. Prepare a starting amount of money of at least $100 in small bills so that you can break large bills and give change.
#6. Create a welcoming atmosphere to relax your customers
To minimize stress and maximize profit, you will need to create the right kind of garage sale atmosphere that will predispose people to hang around for longer and purchase more items.
- Lure passers-by into your moving sale by placing a variety of attractive items at the bottom of your driveway and near the main street – high-dollar items, like electronic devices or furniture pieces. Engage people, don’t just sit in your garage waiting for them to go to you.
- Make customers feel welcome by playing relaxing background music, especially in the beginning of the moving sale to set the tone and make it more relaxed and informal. Remember that silence can be awkward.
- Add charm and charisma to your sale area – place pretty flowers here and there, tie up some colorful balloons, or think of other creative ways to make your sale more inviting.
- Get a cooler out and offer – not for free, of course – cold bottled water or other refreshing beverages if the day of the yard sale is too hot.
- Consider placing several air fresheners to fight potential bad odors or the musty smell from cardboard boxes or some older items. This extra step can sometimes make a difference.
#7. Create a safe environment at your moving sale
Declutter your home before moving with a moving sale while maintaining a high level of safety throughout the event. It’s important to sell as many items as you can but it’s even more important to avoid any accidents or mishaps during the garage sale.
Here are a few tips to guarantee safety when organizing a successful garage sale:
Small kids and even pets will probably be running around your sale area at one time so make sure any dangers such as pointy objects sticking off the ground have been eliminated.
- Keep valuable items close to your home so that you can keep an eye on them all the time. If you do happen to have really valuable items, then do consider selling them online instead of at your yard sale where the majority of people will be looking for bargains.
- Remove any items that are not for sale, especially if you’re hosting the moving sale inside your garage instead of on the yard outside. Alternatively, use pieces of rope to seal off those areas or items and place NOT FOR SALE signs or stickers.
- Lock your home. Under no circumstances should you let any strangers inside the house.
- Use a fanny pack to keep the money – avoid using a cash box because it can be rather tempting for thieves. Sadly, not all people who visit garage sales have the best of intentions.
- Take cash only. Don’t take checks because bad checks are much harder to track.
- Keep the money in sight until you can give the change. This will help you avoid confusion if somebody claims they’ve given you $20 when they actually handed you a 10-dollar bill.
- Take inside the house large amounts of cash to keep the money in your fanny pack to a minimum.
#8. Be ready to bargain over the prices
Speaking of moving sale tips, one thing you should be ready to do at your own moving sale is to bargain over the prices of your merchandise. Most people will expect to haggle, and that’s normal – it’s part of the game. After all, no price is set in stone so some clever negotiating tactics from you will go a long way.
- Determine the minimum price you’re willing to get from your nicer items and then add from 10% to 20% to have a good base for negotiating.
- Be polite at all times – don’t get insulted by people asking you to bring down the price as most of them are have come for real bargains and long-forgotten treasures. Be ready to lower some prices but stand your ground for things you know are worth the displayed price.
- Add “FIRM” tags to items that you won’t be willing to sell for less. Expect some people to still ask you to lower the cost – it’s okay, it’s your chance to convince them of the worth of those no-negotiation articles.
- Offer special bundle pricing to get rid of many items at once and avoid unnecessary haggling.
#9. Start the moving sale with the right mindset
It’s the way you approach your own moving sale that will determine how successful and profitable it turns out to be. The tips for the best garage sale ever cannot possibly exclude advice on how you should view the pre-move event and what your proper mindset should be.
Keep repeating to yourself the reason you’ve organized the moving sale in the first place – to get rid of all unnecessary items so that you can cut the moving costs considerably. You’re not trying to make a fortune out of those unwanted items, so that should reflect in the prices as well.
- Liberate yourself from any emotional attachment to certain items. If you’re not really ready to sell something, then don’t sell it. Ideally, you shouldn’t be sorry to see your items go – remember that those are the same items you have selected, one by one, for sale. Besides, keeping them will only make things worse regarding the upcoming move.
- Be nice to the people who have come to your moving sale – most of them will be honest garage-sale shoppers who are willing to help you earn some cash from the items you no longer need. Don’t be disrespectful to your customers – they’re not thieves who have come to steal away your possessions.
#10. Master the moving sale details!
It’s the details that will make your moving sale wildly successful.
- Whenever possible, greet moving-sale shoppers as they arrive at your yard sale so that they know who’s in charge.
- Prepare an extension cord so that people can test out electrical items or power tools. This is important because most people don’t know you so that they don’t know whether to trust your items or not. Most of the time, they’ll want to see that any electronic devices they are buying actually work fine.
- Have a mirror ready for the people who are buying clothes and accessories.
- Have a few sets of batteries for testing any small appliances or children toys.
- Prepare plastic bags to give to the people who have purchased multiple items. This way, they won’t have to juggle with several items until they reach their cars. It’s a good idea is to save your plastic bags every time you shop at a store.
- Prepare a few stacks of packing paper to wrap any fragile items for your customers.
- Have a calculator so that you can easily add up the total without any calculation errors.
- Prepare some pens and writing paper in case somebody wants to write something down.
- Consider preparing a box filled with FREE goodies to spike up the interest in your moving sale.
- Open your moving sale on time to show consideration towards your potential buyers.
- Have fun!
See also: How to get rid of stuff when moving