Organizing a garage sale becomes much less stressful with a little preparation.
Getting prepared to move is a stressful affair, and organizing a garage sale on top of that can seem a monumental task. Finding new schools, the possibility of a new job, and forwarding your mail, bills, and utilities are all things that can overwhelm your already full schedule. Then, there is the packing. How do you begin to pack up your whole life for the big move overseas? Do you really need to take along that old chair you’ve had since college?
The longer you have lived somewhere, the more stuff you are likely to have accumulated. It can be daunting to look through your rooms and imagine packing everything up for the trip to your new home. With some initial de-cluttering, some sorting, and a garage sale, you’ll not only have made the move easier on yourself, you’ll have some extra cash on hand as well.
1. Make a plan
Set a date and permit: One day is great, but the whole weekend is even better. Give yourself plenty of time leading up to the sale to start organizing your items. Get information from your local authorities, ask permit for the sale if required.
What’s important, what’s not: As you begin looking through your belongings, think about those items that are important to have quick access to throughout the moving process, and set those aside somewhere safe so they don’t get lost in the shuffle. Important documents, small electronics, very special pieces of jewelry; these can stay with you so you’ll have access as needed.
De-cluttering and Inventory: Now it is time to start the de-cluttering process. It’s smart to move room by room, looking at both the large and small items, and making an inventory of what you want to part with. Grab anything small that may be cluttering your space and put it in a sorting pile. If you even have an inkling that you may be ready to part with it, put it in the pile. You don’t have to decide immediately. Once you have a rough idea of what you want to get rid of, it’s time to get some supplies.
Supplies: Your local discount store should have tags and signs you’ll need for pricing and advertising your upcoming sale. Find yourself a safe box, with a lock, for your money storage on the day of the sale, and make some change. You will need to break down about $100 into small bills, and be sure that some of that are quarters as well. Start saving up plastic grocery bags before the big day to help people pack their items, and save sturdy, small boxes too.
Don’t forget: Prepare to have your snacks and lunch ready for the days of your sale so you can grab and eat without leaving your items unattended. A cooler full of drinks, a couple of lawn chairs, and some music will all go a long way to making the long day more pleasant for you. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
2. The little stuff: knickknacks, décor, clothing and more
Now that you have a solid plan, it’s time to tackle that sorting pile. Ask yourself two questions as you go through everything:
- Do I love it? Items that are special to you in some way, or hold sentimental value, can be taken back inside for inclusion in your move.
- Do I use it often (or will I soon)? Try to keep it within three months; if you haven’t used or worn it since then (with the exception of holiday items) you probably won’t anytime soon.
Once you have your final “to sell” pile ready, separate it into categories: décor, small appliances, books, clothing, accessories, etc.
3. The big stuff: appliances and furniture
Especially important when making a move overseas is really looking through your large furniture and appliances and deciding if you can part with it, or if you need to bring it. Perhaps your large, sectional couch can be sold, but you really do love that chair from college and want to keep it. Keep a running list of yes and no items as you inventory all of your big stuff; that way you will easily know which to haul outside on sale day.
As you are looking at your appliances, factor in that they may not work in your new home country, as some electrical outlets differ. This will help make your decisions of what to keep and what to sell easier.
4. Organize your sale items and price them
Display: Even though this is a garage sale, proper item grouping and organization goes a long way when it comes to getting your things sold. You can rent large table to group similar items into displays, and you can even take the “Ikea approach” with your large items, and group the furniture, rugs, and lamps in such a way that people can see what they would look like in a living space.
Tag and Price: When it comes to pricing, it’s smart to tag everything, even if it is time consuming. This will pay off later, when people don’t keep having to ask how much items are, or argue with you when you give them a price. Do be open to haggling, however, and know ahead of time which items you are going to hold firm on, pricewise.
5. Advertise, advertise, advertise!
Advertising is really the key to a successful sale. Place an ad in your local newspaper or circular a few weeks running up to the sale. Make signs and hang them around your neighborhood the week before, and ask if you can place fliers up in local shops. And never underestimate the power of the internet for getting customers to your sale! Post your ad on sites like Craigslist, and look on Facebook for local “for sale” groups, as many will let you post ads and pics of what you have got to generate interest.
Once you have de-cluttered your life and are ready to tackle packing and storage, it’s time to call a moving company that specializes in storage options as well as other moving services such as packing, transportation, and international shipping. Whether you choose to store your items, or have them shipped right to your new home, the assistance of a good moving company will free you up to concentrate on the rest of the details of your move: Like where you’re going to put that chair in the new house.
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.