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Blog: The Simplified Home
Garage Sales 101 Get the most out of selling your unwanted stuff

I've been wanting to do this series all summer on planning a successful Garage Sale, but I've been so busy this summer helping clients to take control of their homes and offices and rid their lives of unwanted stuff.

No worries the end of summer is still a great time for a garage sale. Over the next week I'll be posting the steps that I recommend for planning and organizing a successful garage sale.

The steps I'll be discussing are:
  • Step 1: Determine the cost benefit of having a garage sale
  • Step 2: Pre-sale planning
  • Step 3: Attracting buyers
  • Step 4: Preparing the goods
  • Step 5: Money issues
  • Step 6: The day of the sale
  • Step 7: What to do with the leftovers
First in the series,(covered in this post) are conducting a cost benefit analysis of even having a garage sale and Pre-planning.

Step 1: Determine Cost/Benefit of Having a Garage Sale
In other words, when you consider the stuff you have to sell and the value of your time, is it worth it to spend your time on this activity vs. other ways to spend your time. Let's delve into this more.

OK your house is overflowing with "stuff." Its good stuff and it meant so much at one time. But it just doesn't meet your current needs. Still, it's too good to throw away and it would be nice to receive some financial benefit. A garage or yard sale MAY be the perfect solution, but it may not.

Before you decide, remember there will be a significant time commitment to this effort: gathering items, cleaning up items that are dusty and dirty, grouping and organizing and then the 20 hours of personal time you will spend waiting on your customers during a two-day sale. In addition, you may need to clean up the garage or yard to make it workable site for the sale. (But what a great excuse to clean out the garage you're killing 2 birds with 1 stone here getting rid of unwanted stuff and cleaning out the garage at the same time!)

What is the cost of your time versus the financial gain? One way to find out is to do some research on eBay or Craig's List to see what similar items are currently selling for. Then consider the fact that garage sale items typically sell for less than on eBay.

If you have a few items you believe have significant value, you may want to consider selling them through a newspaper ad or an internet service like Craig's List or eBay instead of a garage sale or consignment.

If you truly believe you can reap a financial benefit to compensate for your time and effort, then full speed ahead. If you can join in on a neighborhood or community sale, you may reduce your time commitment for site preparation, and you are not burdened with finding enough items to justify your own sale.

Before you put out your goods for a garage sale, make sure you take the steps necessary to make it successful.

Step 2: Pre-sale Planning
  • Check zoning laws and neighborhood covenants. Some governing boards may have good reasons for not allowing a consumer sale in your neighborhood.
  • Pick a date that works for the population you are trying to attract. Joining in on a date chosen by the neighborhood for residents to have their own sales is preferred. Usually, the more sales there are in a general area, the more people it will draw. Likewise, the neighborhood association may pay to promote the event, reducing your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Begin going through your home and pulling items that you have deemed to be no longer useful, loved or outdated. Be ruthless, this is your chance to clean out and make some money for your efforts. For strategies on how to tackle this, check out this post 5 Boxes, a Bag and a List. There is also a list of more related posts at the end of this one.
  • Prepare your garage or yard carefully. If you have it in the garage, isolate or cover the items not for sale. Any valuable items should be kept out of sight or moved into the house, if possible.
Next up is how to attract buyers, how to prepare your stuff for the best presentation and pricing

posted on: 8/29/2010 3:11:39 PM by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie
category: Homes

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The Simplified Home

by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie

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About Janet:

Janet Nusbaum creates calm out of chaos, and loves bringing serenity and order to overwhelmed households, cluttered offices, frazzled parents, and transitioning seniors and families. Janet, President of Simplified Spaces & The Simplified Home, is an Organizing Consultant, Senior Move Manager, Author and Speaker.

She is the author of "Mom, Can I Help Around the House?" A Simple, Step-by-Step System for Teaching Your Children Life-Long Skills for Pitching-In & Picking-up".

She is a proud member: National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) & National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD)

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