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Organize Your Most Successful Yard Sale Ever by Christy Lingo

03 Aug 2014 8:30 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

Organize Your Most Successful Yard Sale Ever

Do you ever look around your home and think “I don’t really need this stuff anymore…I know, I should have a garage sale.”  Then the thought of all that collecting and pricing and setting up and haggling for $50 bucks makes you think twice.  With a bit of planning (and organizing, of course) you can host a successful sale without stressing you or your family out.

What to Sell?

The easy answer is anything and everything that you aren’t using, have in duplicate and think is worth something.  If you’re trying to decide between a sale and just donating for a tax write off, consider what you have to sell.  Garage sale attendees snap up tools, baby/toddler toys and clothes, reasonably priced furniture and gently used kitchen items.  Items like books, adult clothing, overused kitchen items, and outdated publications rarely if ever bring in large sales.  Consider if what you have to sell is worth the effort when you account for the hours to set up and run the sale.  If you only have a few pieces of furniture or clothing that you feel may be of value, consider consigning those items and donating the rest rather than using up your summer weekend.  To make the set up of your sale easier, consider buying pre-printed price tags like these that you can slap on items as you collect them from around the house.

What to Price Items?

Once you decide to host a sale, make sure to apply for any permits required by your municipality and collect  the items that you want to sell, you need to decide how much to price your goods.   Remember, the idea of having a sale is to make money so your effort is worthwhile.  If you price items too high, you will spend  time pricing and running a sale only to end up donating the items in the end.  Don’t price items with what you paid in mind.  On items that are gently used but in good shape, ask 50-70% of original price paid and be prepared for someone to offer you less.  On items like clothing, books or toys don’t expect to get much more than about 10% of the current value.  Remember, if someone can get a T-shirt you’ve price $1 for $.25 at the thrift store, they will.  Click here for a handy garage sale pricing guide.  For larger or unique items, check E-bay or Craig’s List to see what similar items are priced. 

What to Do with What’s Left?

Alas, your sale is complete and you deem it a great success.  Now what to do with the remaining items.  After all, you already made the decision to get them out of your house.  The longer the “unsolds” stick around in your garage, the greater the chance that they’ll sneak back into your home.  Plan to load up unsold items and take them to your local thrift store immediately at the close of your sale or, even better, schedule a pick up by a local charity at the end or the following day.  If you believe what you are donating is worth more than $300 and plan on taking a tax deduction, be sure to make an inventory of what is left and its value for your tax records.   Click here for a guide to the value of donated goods.

Best of luck and happy selling in your garage sale.  Remember, if you start to feel overwhelmed in organizing your sale, return to NAPO-Ohio.com and check out a professional organizer in your area that can help you have your best sale ever.

Christy Lingo is a NAPO-Ohio member, professional organizer and owner of Simple Solutions Design serving Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding area. 

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