How to organize a garage sale before moving

How to organize a garage sale when moving More about Ethan Greenfieldby Ethan Greenfieldon Oct 19, 2022.

Reducing the overall number of your possessions before moving to another home is an essential prerequisite for a quicker, smoother, and much more affordable move. This is true because of 3 major reasons:

  • The moving cost is based on the total weight of your belongings and logic dictates that the more things you have for moving, the more money you will end up paying because your entire shipment will be heavier.
  • Having more items to pack, transport, and unpack after the move will surely eat up a huge chunk of your valuable time. Professional packers can pack up your things much faster than you could ever do it but you’ll have to pay extra for the add-on service of professional packing.
  • Desperately looking for adequate storage space in the new home is never fun either. Think about it: does it make any sense to pay to move any things that you won’t ever use? Hauling unwanted or useless items between two homes only to place them in indefinite storage after the move is far from an ideal relocation scenario for you.

The bottom line is that your smart decision to declutter your home before packing and moving out will certainly make you a multiple winner. But what are you supposed to do with all the items that you’ve decided not to move with you?

One of the best ways to get rid of no longer wanted or needed belongings is to sell them at a moving sale.

So, provided that you have enough time prior to your move-out date, you should definitely consider organizing a successful garage sale in order to feed two birds with one scone: 1) discard the things you’re leaving behind, and 2) earn some much-needed cash to help out your moving budget.

Read on to learn how to have a garage sale before moving out. We’ve divided the whole process into 3 stages: PREPARATION stage, ORGANIZATION stage, and EXECUTION stage.

Stage 1: Prepare well the garage sale items

The secret to having a successful garage sale lies in good preparation. You need to know how to best prepare for a garage sale, so take advantage of the following garage sale checklist:

  • DO a complete inventory of your belongings in order to get a better idea of which items you will definitely not take to your new home.
  • SORT OUT the items carefully and classify them diligently according to their current condition and type.
  • SET ASIDE anything that is broken beyond repair or worn out beyond recognition for proper disposal. After all, your goal should be to sell the things you get to display at the yard sale.
  • SET ASIDE any items that are still in good condition that you think a friend of yours or a family member will eventually put to good use. Also, think about a stranger in need – offering still usable items to charity is such a gratifying act of noble selflessness!
  • INSPECT carefully the garage sale items you’re left with for any visual damage and make sure they are presentable (understand clean).
  • CLASSIFY your garage sale items according to their type and condition so that they are displayed in a highly logical and saleable manner. This way, potential buyers will know where to focus their attention and won’t lose time rummaging mindlessly through your stuff.
  • PRICE your moving sale items correctly. In fact, how you price your merchandise at the sale will either make or break the deal. Therefore, you just have to take a minute and think about the best way to price your garage sale items.

How to price garage sale items? This is an excellent question with no straightforward or unified answer. Garage sale pricing is a strictly individual and delicate process. Why?

If you overprice your items for sale, then you run the risk of having a rather poor sale. On the other hand, if you underprice your possessions, you guarantee yourself many completed transactions but the overall profit from the entire garage sale operation may be worth neither the efforts invested nor the time wasted.

As a rule of thumb, 1/4 or 1/5 of what you paid originally for an item can be viewed as a general guideline to help you price your garage items the right way.

See also: How to price items for a moving sale

Stage 2: Organize a successful garage sale

Our garage sale checklist continues with some organizational tips for a successful garage sale:

  • DECIDE on a good date for your moving sale. What’s the best time to have a garage sale? If possible, you should set your garage sale during the first weekend of any given month, preferably on a Saturday. However, if you live near a busy street, you will be better off scheduling your yard sale for a weekday in order to take advantage of the increased road traffic.
  • TEAM UP with neighbors or friends who also plan to have a garage sale even if they’re not moving away like you are. It’s definitely a bonus to host a larger yard sale – combined efforts will pay off dividends in the end and you’ll be able to divide the various organizational tasks between yourselves.
  • MAKE SURE you check with your local authorities about any special rules, restrictions, or maybe even fees to have a garage sale before moving. You may need a special permit for your moving sale so you’d better play it safe to avoid potential trouble.
  • KEEP an eye on the weather forecast and try to be as flexible as possible. It’s much better to reschedule your moving sale than to host it in the rain.
  • AIM for an early start of your moving sale – 8 am or 9 am is usually an excellent opening time since you’ll have the entire day for trying to sell your unwanted items.
  • ADVERTISE your moving sale heavily to get more people to come and look at the stuff you’re selling. Doing some form of advertising is a must-do step in organizing a profitable garage sale before moving away, so find more information below.

The truth is that some good advertising can do a world of good for your yard sale. Consider spreading the word in your local media (newspaper, radio, special bulletins), create an event in your favorite social networks, invite your circle of friends and ask them to relay the information on to their social friends.

Also, you may want to consider building up and erecting some advertising signs or posters, and then placing them in strategically selected spots around the neighborhood. Again, you should check the local regulations to avoid getting fined in the end.

Read also: How to advertise a garage sale before moving

Stage 3. Have a profitable garage sale

Our garage sale checklist will end with the does and don’ts when holding a yard sale before moving to another home.

  • GUARANTEE your safety and the safety of your family and your potential buyers. How? Inspect the immediate area of your future sale and eliminate any dangers that could spoil the good mood. Keep in mind that young kids and pets will be running around trying to escape boredom.
  • KEEP your more valuable items close to your home and close to where you are so that you can keep an eye on them at all times. If you happen to be selling any things that are quite pricey, consider selling those online instead of at the moving sale.
  • KEEP your house locked and don’t let any strangers inside it no matter what.
  • MAKE your sale area attractive and create a welcoming atmosphere for your customers. Look for various ways to bring genuine charm to the event too – place flowers, tie up balloons, and play some relaxing music in the background – the sky’s the limit.
  • PREPARE a cooler and offer your customers cold bottled water or other refreshing beverages if the day of your moving sale happens to be too hot. As a rule, you shouldn’t try to make a profit by selling these refreshments – the idea is to make it more comfortable for anyone who’s decided to visit your garage sale.
  • GROUP your garage sale items logically and arrange them in a pleasantly inviting manner. Use many tables to arrange the various items for sale – if necessary, borrow some tables from your good neighbors.
  • HANG your pieces of clothing on hangers instead of stuffing them inside boxes and forcing people to dig them out one by one.
  • PRICE each item that is for sale. Doing so will take time but it will make things easier for customers and for yourself as well. Use stickers or price tags to display the price of each and every item you’re selling at your garage sale.
  • HAVE plenty of change and get a reliable fanny pack to keep the money inside. Avoid using a cash box, if possible.
  • PREPARE appropriate packing supplies and recyclable paper bags for your buyers.
  • BE ready to haggle with dedicated treasure hunters but stand your ground for items that you know are worth the price.
  • REMEMBER to keep smiling and have as much fun as possible.

Have a safe and profitable garage sale!


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