Right before a move is when most people realize they have a bunch of stuff that is just not worth packing up for the new house. Why haul all those outdated clothes and outgrown toys across the country when you don't have a use for them in the new house? But you can bet that someone else in the area could put your stuff to use instead. Hosting a moving sale is one of the best ways to cut down on the stuff you're moving and recoup a little moving cost at the same time.
Plus, hosting a moving sale can be a lot of fun, a great way to alleviate some of the stress of preparing for a move. If you're not sure how to get started, we can help! Today's topic is a complete guide on how to plan and throw your own moving sale in the form of eBay listings and a "garage" sale wherever works for you.
Sort Your Stuff Into Categories
The first step is The Big Sort. Good for you, this is something you're doing in the packing process anyone. But for time to plan your sale, you may want to start even earlier. Go through everything in your house, clear out the nooks and storage spaces, and sort everything. It's best if you have a few clear categories that you're ready to sort your stuff into.
Your basic sorting categories are:
- Sell Online
Anything that's moving with you, put it into the keep category. Start thinking about how you will pack it and where it goes in the new place. If it doesn't have a place, it must go in one of the other three categories.
If it's stained, broken, unbelievably dirty, or too old to be useful then toss it. Have a big trash can with a heavy-duty bag ready to receive your tossed items.
3. Sell In Person
After keeping stuff, your second biggest category should be things to sell at your moving sale. Whether or not you have a garage or yard, many items are best sold in person where people can browse and make charmed impulse purchases. For all the clothes, toys, kitchen appliances, books, knick knacks, posters, and other things that you'd buy in a yard sale.
4. Sell Online
The last category should be items that are too high value or high-tech to sell in a garage sale. If you have something that's not coming with you but is still worth a considerable amount to technicians or collectors, sell it on eBay. A good eBay auction can net you the full value of the item or greater; far more than you'll get in a yard sale barter.
Clean and Prep Your Merchandise
Chances are that your old stuff is not in top condition when you dug it out of the attic or storage closet. So your next step is to clean and polish everything that you plan to sell so that it's in tip-top condition for your customers.
1. Wash & Stain Treat Clothes
For every item of clothing you plan to sell, inspect it carefully. Make sure there are no holes or stains. If there are small flaws like little holes of frayed hems, you may be able to do some needle-and-thread mending. If there are stains, a direct stain treatment may help.
Then run everything through the wash at least once with fabric softener where appropriate.
2. Dust & Polish Everything Else
For everything else, break out the all-surface cleaner and a roll of paper towels. Clean and polish the appliances, toys, and knick-knacks. Dust off the books and shine up the jewelry. Anything that's being sold should look it's best for either online photos or your garage sale displays.
3. Set Reasonable Prices
For each thing you plan to sell, think about the right price to set. For specialty items you're selling online, ask whatever the item is worth. For everything else, set a friendly and welcoming price that will be easy to make in small bills for your moving sale customers. Selling many similar items at one price (like T-shirts for $2) will make your sale day much easier for everyone.
Set Up Specialty Sales Online
Two weeks or more before the move, set up the online listing for specialty items you plan to sell. A high-quality listing is often the key to getting your items sold and shipped before it's time to move. If you're right about the item's value, there are collectors out there interested in buying antiques, equipment, and well-preserved products.
1. Take Great Photos
Start by taking fantastically clear photos of each item from multiple angles. Use a sheet or tablecloth as a backdrop to keep the backgrounds simple or easy to cut.
2. Create eBay or Etsy Listings
Go through the guided process of making an eBay listing for anything you're ready to sell online. If it's a hand-crafted item or an antique, Etsy might also be a good place to sell.
3. Be Ready for Sales & Shipping
Don't be surprised by the follow-up when you actually make a sale. Remember that you'll need to package and ship your items once someone buys them. Fortunately, packing supplies is something you'll be surrounded by during this time.
Set Your Garage Sale Date, Time & Place
Once your online listings are up, you're ready to start planning for the in-person moving sale to sell the rest of your items. Like any event, you'll need a date, time, and place to hold the sale which you'll use to announce the event and help buyers find you when all your merchandise is delightfully laid out for perusal and purchase.
1. First Weekend of the Month
Weekends are the best time for a moving sale, and choosing your weekend can matter.
Most people get paid at the end or beginning of the month and are, therefore, more comfortable spending during the first weekend of the month. This is the best time to hold a garage sale / yard sale / non-yard moving sale. If your schedule is tighter than that, don't worry about it. But if possible, plan your moving sale for the first weekend of a month.
You also want to be prepared to reschedule one day or to the following weekend if it rains.
2. Where to Hold the Sale
Only people who are moving out of a single-family home (or duplex) will have a yard or garage to hold the traditional sale. But you don't actually need a yard or garage to hold your own moving sale. If you live in an apartment, ask your apartment to use a road-visible patch of the grounds or a section of the parking lot. If that doesn't work, you might be able to find space with your church, at work, on campus, or simply rent tables at your local swap-meet, flea market, or farmer's market.
3. All Day Event Increases Sales
As for the hours, be sure you're open for most of the day. This will give everyone a chance to swing by no matter what their weekend schedule looks like.
Advertise the Sale Through Multiple Channels
For people to find your moving sale on the big day, you'll need to get the word out. Today, that should involve a combination of online announcements, the local paper, and those brightly colored yard signs that guide relaxed weekend drivers to your sale as a fun way to spend the afternoon.
1, Your Social Media
Definitely announce your upcomming sale on your own personal social media accounts. Then pin it to the top of your page for the week(s) leading up to the event.
2. Facebook & Craigslist
Facebook is a great place to announce community events and can be opened up to everyone in your geographical areas. Announce your event on facebook and encourage your direct contacts to share the event with their friends to get the word out.
Craigslist is the unofficial way to announce local events because many people check there for a variety of local searches. Leave a posting there just in case it brings in locals looking to find some low-cost second-hand items.
3. The Paper
Older people still look for local event in the paper, so it's worth a few dollars to put in an add for your moving sale. Be sure to mention the day, place, and hours you'll be open.
4. Community Newsletters
Also, try to reach out to any local community newsletters. Your HOA might have some circulation, or your church, or any other group that can send out emails and leaflets to a large number of people in the community who might want some used clothes, furniture, or children's toys.
5. Colorful Yard Signs
Get some weather-resistant poster board and make yourself some of those brightly colored garage sale signs. Post them all around the neighborhood near where your sale will be clearly stating the day, time, and location of the sale. Remember to use helpful arrows for impulse shoppers, and ask before spiking these into anyone's yard.
Plan the Sale Setup: Gather Supplies
Before the day of the sale, you'll want to put together your display supplies. Remember, you're not just putting the items up for sale, you're displaying them at your own hosted community event. Clothing looks better and is easier to browse hanging up, and you'll need tables to lay everything out on. Even if you're not also selling the tables. So gather your supplies:
Make sure you have enough tables for your sale displays. Rented or borrowed folding tables are probably your best bet. A cloth on each table is also a great way to make your sale look nice without spending on nice setup items.
2. Clothing Racks
Clothing is much easier to browse when it's hanging from a rack. If you don't have one (most of us don't) you have two options. You can ask employees around the back of department stores for a spare rack or you can make one out of other furniture and a rod.
3. Labels & Pricetags
Don't forget very clear price labeling. You can do this by category to keep things nice and simple or you may want to invest in a pack of price tags for individual items.
One of the things that makes a yard sale great is that it's also a community event. So plan your moving sale with this in mind. Prepare to have a large drinks cooler of fresh lemonade to sell or hand out with paper cups in addition to selling your used stuff.
Seats are another great option to keep happy shopper browsing for longer than they might otherwise. A few folding chairs in a friendly seating area should do the trick.
6. Trash Cans
Don't forget at least one trash can for the paper cups and any other debris that wanders in. It will help, trust us.
Arrange an Awesome Garage Sale Event
Finally, the day is here and you're ready to set out the tables and sell your stuff before the move. We have a few final pointers for your big moving sale day:
1. Payment Options
The more types of payment you accept, the better. Have a lock-box or belt pouch to handle cash and give change. Stock up on small bills and loose change to make that possible. Also, consider renting a card reader or buying a SQUARE reader that can take credit and debit cards as well. This will significantly increase your chance of sales with people who want to browse but don't carry cash. Mention you take cards on your signs.
2. Attractive Displays
Make sure your displays are attractive. Use table cloths and arrange everything in easy to understand and nice-looking displays. Stack things in layers, hang them up, and set them on box-pedestals to create a visually appealing sale.
3. Browsing Areas
One interesting way to approach the moving sale arrangement is to create browsing areas by category. If you're selling all your old DVDs, create a video browsing section. If you've got tons of clothes to sell, make it a whole area of your sale.
4. Kid's Play Area
A fantastic way to sell toys is to craft all your toys (plus an old rug) into a kid's play area where parents can park their children while they browse your knick-knacks. From here, kids can fall in love with your used toys and beg their parents to keep one before it's time to go. Plus, it's a friendly way to make kids welcome at your sale.
5. Music & Refreshments
Finally, put out some speakers and play soft enjoyable music for your shoppers. A pitcher of inexpensive lemonade and a few shopping tunes can turn your sale from a 3-minute-stop into an afternoon browsing event for the whole neighborhood. A great way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon with or without kids.
Getting rid of the stuff you don't want to move can be a lot of fun if you have the time and space to host a moving sale. With these tricks, your sale can be a hit every time, even if you don't have a garage or have never hosted a garage sale before. For more great insights on how to move or find the best new place in your next location, contact us today!