Just over a year ago we sold our house and moved from one state to another. As part of this process, we held a huge and rather successful moving sale. What follows is a list of tips that contributed to the success of our sale. The main caveat here is that we generally run our sales with the intention of clearing stuff out, as opposed to maximizing profit.
(1) Separate out anything that’s easily eBay-able. While you can often make quite a bit more money on eBay as compared to selling things at a garage sale, I really like the speed and ease of selling stuff at a garage sale as opposed to using eBay… No pictures to be taken, no description to be written, and no shipping after the item is sold. Not to mention that you don’t have to wait seven (or whatever) days for the auction to end. That being said, there are certain items that are definitely worth separating out for sale on eBay. For example, you can make a killing on eBay with certain types of small electronics.
(2) Advertise, advertise, advertise. We used a combination of a two day newspaper ad and a series of signs that led people off the main street in our area back to our cul de sac. I’m not sure which was more effective, but I’d recommend doing both… We had great traffic, especially considering it was an unseasonably cold day.
(3) Make sure you have plenty of change on hand. There are plenty of people out there who will want to buy a $0.25 trinket with a $20 bill.
(4) Price your stuff to sell. Remember, you’re moving, and there’s a reason that all this stuff wound up in your ‘sell pile.’ No sense in holding out for every last penny when the real goal is to clear stuff out. After all, you’re gonna end up hauling all this stuff away when the sale ends.
(5) As much as possible, price things by category. If you’ve got a ton of shoes to sell, consider pricing them all the same, and then group them all together with a sign indicating the price.
(6) Build in bulk discounts. If you’re already pricing things to sell, and pricing them by category, then why not throw in a bulk discount? If you’re selling kids shoes for a dollar a pair, offer six pairs for five dollars. You’d be amazed at how much more quickly your stuff will sell if you put together package deals.
(7) Check any and all pockets before putting an item out for sale. One of the things that we noticed during our sale was that people had a tendency to pick up purses, backpacks, etc. and seemingly check them for hidden treasures. After rifling through them and not finding anything of value, they promptly set them back down. Don’t mistakenly sell a wad of cash, jewelry, or anything else because you simply didn’t know it was there.
(8) Be prepared to negotiate. People love to get a deal, and often times they’ll claim that paying seven cents on the dollar just isn’t cheap enough… They want it for six cents on the dollar. Obviously, dealing down on your prices has it’s limits, but don’t forget that you want to get rid of this stuff.
(9) Get your kids involved. If it’s a hot day, get a cooler full of cold drinks and let your kids sell ’em for profit. I had grand plans for this but, as noted above, it ended up being an unseasonably cold day, and nobody was interested in a cold drink.
(10) Donate whatever doesn’t sell. While we sold a ton of stuff, we also made a killing by dontaing all the stuff that didn’t sell and taking a tax deduction. In fact, if you’re in a high enough tax bracket, and assuming that you itemize your deductions, you might do just as well (or at least close enough) by donating everything instead of selling it. Just be sure to keep a detailed inventory of what you donate. Then again, having a sale will help you get rid of stuff that would otherwise be hard to haul to a donation center.
Got any ideas of your own? Please feel free to add them in the comments, below.