Clutter accumulates quickly in homes of all sizes, but that doesn't mean you should have to live with it. Whether you're selling your house or you just want more space, the warmer months are a great opportunity to clear it up once and for all with a garage (or yard) sale. Here are a few simple steps to help you get started.
- Gather everything you no longer use.
Before you organize the yard sale, you have to decide what to sell. Designate a space to collect your potential inventory, and spend several days going through each room in your home. If you have multiple family members, turn this into a challenge (for example, the heaviest load wins a prize). Throughout this process, stick to a simple rule: have you used it in the last year? Outdated and ill-fitting clothes shouldn't take up space in your closet, and your kids don't need toys they've long outgrown.
- Ask friends & neighbors if they want to participate.
The bigger the yard sale, the better. If you want to attract a good crowd, invite neighbors, friends, and family members to clear their own clutter and join forces with your yard sale. You can keep your stuff separate for payment purposes, or offer a certain percentage of your profits to people who chip in piles of valuable stuff. If your driveway and front yard are not big enough — or your home isn't in a location that gets a lot of traffic — you might even offer to organize the sale on someone else's property.
- Make signs and advertise online.
Without good marketing, it doesn't matter how much high-quality stuff you have. You need to make sure people actually know about your yard sale, especially the hobbyists who spend every weekend scouring tables for hidden gems. Craigslist, Facebook, your local newspaper, Next Door, and even designated yard sale websites and apps are all great places to start. Of course, you'll need physical advertisements, too, so stock up on brightly colored poster boards or pre-made picket signs. After you mark each sign with your address and big, bold arrows, map out nearby intersections and neighborhood entrances that get a lot of traffic. This will be your route the morning of the yard sale.
- Separate your stuff into categories & start pricing.
Before you start sticking price tags on everything, spend a few days organizing your unwanted stuff into categories and bundles. For example, all the books belong together, but you might have a stack of romance novels that can be bundled and sold as a set. Make sure your clothes are on hangers, your electronics have half-full batteries or working plugs, and everything is clean, dust-free, and unbroken. Then use brightly colored stickers to mark every single item (or set of items) with a reasonable price. Keep your prices very low, because people expect bargains at yard sales.
- Create a miniature "store" with aisles, departments & special offers.
When it's finally Yard Sale Day, you should be ready at least an hour early, with racks and tables arranged just like a miniature department store. If that means setting up the night before, so be it. The best option is long, narrow tables with wide aisles between them. The idea is to make it easy for bargain hunters to go straight to the categories they want to browse, like dishware or children's clothes. When your items are priced and on display, you're ready to make money!
With these tips, you'll have a successful garage sale and a happier and cleaner home.