Have a Garage Sale…If You Must

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-garage-sale-sign-image19727236Love ’em or hate ’em, garage sales (yard sales, tag sales, whatever you call them) are here to stay.

Here’s why I hate ’em:

Buying:  I have enough stuff. I don’t need more stuff. Where would I put more stuff? Also, I don’t personally find it thrilling to sort through a bunch of trash looking for treasures. But many people do!

Selling: They’re a lot of work for relatively little return. And you’re usually stuck with a lot of unsold stuff at the end of the day.

Organizing:  Most of my clients who are saving stuff “for the garage sale” have been dreaming of this mythical garage sale for years without actually planning it. Meanwhile, they live with a garage (or house) cluttered with “garage sale” stuff.

During an organizing session, when we are sorting the client’s belongings and purging unwanted items, if they say, “Let’s put that in the garage sale,” I ask them the following questions:

1)      Have you ever actually had a garage sale?

2)      If so, did you enjoy it?

3)      Did you make any money?

4)      What did you do with the items you didn’t sell?

5)      When, exactly, do you plan to have the garage sale?

6)      Do you agree to gather all garage sale items into one spot between now and then, and to make the necessary preparations for it to actually happen and be successful?

7)      Do you promise that whatever does not sell, will be taken directly to charity that same day?

Usually they have one of two reactions:

  1. They indeed have had, and do enjoy, garage sales. They promise to schedule this one on the calendar and make the necessary preparations. They swear to load up the (good condition) leftovers and take them to their favorite charity. And sometimes they really do!
  2. Or, they realize what a lot of work a garage sale is, and for relatively little gain, and decide to skip the sale, go directly to donate, and get a charitable tax deduction instead.

 What about you? Love ‘em or hate ‘em? And if you love ‘em, what is your best garage sale tip?

Copyright 2013 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Janet Barclay on June 4, 2013 at 4:36 am

    My parents had a very successful garage sale when they were moving to a smaller house and had lots of furniture, appliances, and household items in good condition to offer.

    My tip: if you’re selling anything electrical, set them up with an outlet nearby so people can try them out. They’ll be more willing to pay a good price if they know for sure that toaster is going to work when they get it home.

  2. Linda Samuels on June 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

    If the circumstances are right, I love them. Right includes having the time, energy, organizational skills, and desire to hold the sale, and then donate the rest (immediately) of the items that don’t sell.

    We’ve had several very successful tag sales that were a lot of fun to do. It takes time and effort, but we were happy with both the financial and more space return on our investment.

    It’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons. Liked the questions you posed. Very helpful.

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