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How to have a moving sale

May 9th, 2018 - 9:17 AM

Declutter with a moving sale

Getting rid of unwanted items is helpful any time, but it’s especially important before a move. There’s no reason to pay and work to move things you no longer want or need. One of the best ways to declutter is by hosting a garage sale. Not only will it get rid of unwanted belongings, but it also gives you the chance to earn some extra cash. If it seems daunting to add another task to your list, don’t fret. A moving sale may take time to organize, price and host, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Learn how to take care of the entire process from start to finish.

hosting a moving sale

Garage sale tips

We walk you through a step-by-step process below, but here are some helpful yard sale planning tips to get you started:

  • Advertise the sale. Place an ad in the paper, list the event on free classified sites or advertise on social media to help draw a crowd. 
  • Make signs easy to read. Make sure garage sale signs are easy to read from a distance. Include clear information about days, time and location so it’s easy to find. 
  • Clearly price everything. Use stickers or tags to mark every item so customers don’t have to ask how much things are. If you have groups of items, it’s OK to mark the box or hang a sign nearby, but make sure everything is clearly priced.
  • Make a plan for unsold items. Many charitable organizations will pick up leftovers and give a donation receipt. Make plans prior to the moving sale so you get on their pickup schedules. 

Work through this garage sale checklist

Whether it’s your first time hosting a moving sale or you’ve done it many times, there are several tasks to complete for the big event. Follow these steps to ensure everything is taken care of:

Before the sale

  • Start going through and separating items 3-6 weeks in advance. Also, start saving bags and newspapers so you can wrap things as they sell.
  • Check community regulations and apply for any necessary permits (don’t forget to ask where you can put signs).
  • Gather tables to display items and racks to hang clothing. Place rods between two ladders for easy DIY clothing racks. 
  • Let neighbors know about the upcoming event, so they know when visitors will be in the neighborhood.
  • Get lots of change. At minimum, get $100 in change (2 $10s, 6 $5s, 40 $1s, and a roll of quarters).
  • Gather things for the big day: chairs, drinks and snacks, and a fanny pack or lockable cash box for money.

On moving sale day

  • Set up early since eager shoppers may arrive before you’re officially open. 
  • Display items to sell: group coordinating décor pieces, separate clothing and shoes by size, keep similar things together, and make sure everything is easy to grab. Set children’s items far away from breakables so it’s easy for younger shoppers to find treasures. 
  • Place large pieces by the road to draw in customers
  • Keep track of sales in a notebook, especially if it’s a multi-family sale.

After the sale

  • Gather any items to be donated.
  • Take down signs.
  • Deposit earnings.

Garage sale pricing guide

Pricing can really make or break a sale. Most of the things sold during a moving sale are used, so remember that people want a great deal. While name brand pieces or items with tags can be priced higher, here is a general guideline for how much to charge: 
Pro tip: To get rid of multiple pieces at once, offering bundle pricing!   

  • Baby clothing: $1-3 for gently used items, $.25-.50 for well-worn items. Or sell for $5 per bag.
  • Kids clothing: $3-5 for gently used items. $1-3 for well-worn items. Sell bundles of 5 items for $10. 
  • Adult clothing: $3-5 for gently used items. $5-10 for nicer, work clothing. $20 per bag. 
  • Shoes: $3-7 per pair depending on size and condition.
  • Coats: $5-15 depending on condition and warmth.
  • Books: $1 each, or bundle them 8 for $5 if you have a lot to get rid of.
  • Jewelry: $1-3 each for costume jewelry, more for nicer pieces.
  • DVDs: $2-5 each, bundle them 3 for $5 if you have an abundance.
  • CDs and records: $1-3 each, bundle 5 for $3.
  • Electronics: No more than 1/3 of the retail value (make sure they are in good, working condition).
  • Décor, toys, games: $1-10 depending on the size and condition of the item.
  • Furniture: $10-30 for well-worn or lower quality pieces, or no more than 1/3 of the original price.

Garage sale pricing strategies:

  • Visit other sales for comparison. Before pricing, make the rounds to nearby sales to get a feel for their prices and see what customers are drawn to.
  • Set aside emotions. Remember that customers don’t have an attachment to your belongings, so price items subjectively.
  • Price in $.25 increments. Most people come with quarters, so keeping things at this price means no need for dimes, nickels and pennies for change.
  • Have a free box. For things you want gone that may not sell, place them in a free box. Someone may want them!
  • Be prepared to negotiate. People shop moving sales to find a good deal. They may want to discuss changes in the price, so be flexible. At the end of the day, would you rather have $3 (instead of the $5 you were asking) instead of the unwanted item? Think in those terms. 

Watch out for garage sale scams

Anytime you’re dealing with strangers and money, it’s a good idea to watch out for people who may try to take advantage. Keep your moving sale safe by following these guidelines:

  • Keep money on you. Instead of placing money in a bag or a lock box (which could be easily picked up), keep money on your person using a fanny pack or apron. If you do use a money box or bag, be sure to have someone guard it throughout the sale.
  • Keep money in sight until you give change. Some people may claim they gave you $20 instead of $10 — keeping the money out until you’ve given them their change will help avoid any confusion.
  • Use a counterfeit pen. Counterfeit bills probably won’t be a big problem at a moving sale, but it doesn’t hurt to keep a detection pen on hand. They’re really easy to use and will give you peace of mind.
  • Lock the home. Keep doors and windows locked, and don’t let anyone inside your home during the sale.
  • Take cash inside when possible. If you get anything larger than $20, or start to have too much cash on your person, take it inside and put it away.
  • Keep valuable items near the cashier. You can watch jewelry, electronics, video games or other high-priced items more closely.
  • Don’t take checks. It can be difficult to track down anyone who wrote a bad check.   
  • Check inside items. Before a customer leaves, make sure they haven’t stuffed anything inside the items they bought. 
  • Have people around to help. Don’t ever have a moving sale alone! Try inviting them to bring their unwanted items — a multi-family sale will be bigger and draw more customers.

What are your moving sale must-dos?

Do you have a special yard sale tip that has helped you make the event a success? Or have you been to a great sale where you saw something unique? We would love to hear about it in the comments below. 

If you’re planning a moving sale, but don’t yet know how you’re going to move, get a free moving quote from U-Pack®. You can move long-distance without having to drive, and rates are based on the space you use. Let us know if you have any questions below.