Planning a Moving Sale

Author: Alecia Pirulis


You’ve been packing boxes ahead of your move, and the pile of items on your “do not want” list has swelled to overwhelming. It’s time to have a moving sale! Clear away the clutter, put a little extra cash in your moving fund, and have some fun while you’re at it.

Before you have a moving sale, check and make sure you don’t need a permit. If you have a neighborhood association, check to see if they have rules regarding yard sales. Once you’re sure you are free to have a moving sale, here are the steps to help make it a success:

Step One: Advertise. You want people to know about your sale, so get the word out: a notice on Craigslist, an ad in the local newspaper (online and print, if available), and plenty of big, bold signs (if your city/neighborhood doesn’t have a policy against them). Speaking of those signs — many people make the mistake of not considering the distance and speed with which people will be driving past garage sale signs. If “MOVING SALE” and the address aren’t prominent, nobody will be able to find you. Consider adding an arrow pointing in the right direction. Also, consider the weather – don’t use a flimsy sheet of poster board that will fold over or curl up in the rain. You want a sturdy sign with big, bold, easy-to-read lettering.

After the sale, go out and collect your signs! Not only is this important to keep the landscape clean and pretty, but also it is considerate to those unsuspecting motorists out looking for yard sales who don’t want to be led on a wild goose chase.

Step Two: Decide what you will sell. During the packing process, you’ve probably set aside quite a few items. Go through your home again and see if there are items you may have overlooked. If you have an especially large item or something valuable that you’ll want a considerable amount of money for, consider using eBay or other auction site rather than selling them at your moving sale.

Step Three: Price your items. Many times sellers at yard/garage/moving sales don’t bother labeling items, but it is worth taking the time to do so. Even if you have a “$2 table” and a “$5 table,” at least give your visitors a base price. If you aren’t sure what to price something, take some time now to do a little research – compare prices at other garage sales, look up similar items online, etc. You don’t want to have someone approach you the day of the garage sale and ask, “How much for this?” and you, put on the spot in the middle of your yard, have no idea what to tell them. Also, remember – your ultimate goal is to get rid of things prior to your move – not to experience some huge financial gain. It doesn’t matter what you paid when you bought an item, it only matters what you can get for it now.

Step Four: The week before your sale, call around to charities that are willing to pick up. If you find one that can come out the day of your sale, schedule a late-afternoon pick-up time (about 4pm). If you can’t find anyone to pick up, pack the leftovers into your car and drop it off at a thrift store donation site. About two hours before the end of the sale, consider drastically dropping your prices (or even giving things away). That will cut down on the amount of stuff you’ll have to deal with after the sale ends.

Step Five: Gather plenty of change. People will try to hand you a $10 bill for an item that cost $1 or even 50 cents. Make sure you have plenty of one- and five- dollar bills, as well as plenty of quarters and other change.

Step Six: Gather plenty of bags, newspapers, and boxes. You’ll want to wrap breakables in paper and bag items for customers. Large or bulky items should be put in a box for easy transport.

Step Seven: The night before your sale, set everything up. You’ll need tables, tarps, and perhaps even ropes and clothespins. Arrange everything attractively – you want people to stop and browse, so make it look inviting or they may just drive on by. Keep big-ticket items such as furniture out in front to draw people in. Also, organize things in groups – if you have an old video game console, several games, and controllers for sale, keep them together and you may be able to sell everything to the same buyer. Don’t wait to set up the morning of! People will arrive very early to your sale, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared, trying to set up tables and price items.

Step Eight: Enlist help. Ask a friend or family member to give you a hand – you’ll need someone to help carry bulky items, go on a lunch run, and help you keep an eye on things. A buddy can step in and sell for you when you need to dash inside the house for a moment, and they can assist others when you are busy with someone. They may have a few items of their own they want to sell – be sure to add their initials to the price tag. Yes, they know their stuff, but it can be easy to confuse things, especially toward the end of a long day.

Finally: Have fun! Don’t just sit in a lawn chair and wish the day were over – get up, mingle, discuss the weather – whatever. The day will go much faster and you’ll enjoy the experience (and you’ll sell more!) when you engage the people in your driveway. Think of them as guests – they are, after all, on your property, so put on your best hostess (or host) face and make them feel welcome!

Apartment Finder, the go-to site for apartment hunters, wishes you the very best at your upcoming moving sale!