Hope me rid myself of “stuff.”
April 29, 2006 1:10 PM   Subscribe

In about a week, We’ll be having a rather large moving sale/yard sale. I’d like to beseech the hive-mind for tips and tricks for eliminating a large amount of now unnecessary items quickly.

There’s a pretty wide variety of fairly nifty items on the block, and we don’t really have the time to ebay any of it. Our household is occupied by two (now hopefully reformed packrats) and we’re trying to unload a few dozen manual typewriters, loads of suits and vintage clothing, furniture, house wares, electronics, and a bunch of your garden variety garage sale bric-a-brac. I found this thread and have taken some of the advice there to heart, but I’m more specifically concerned with “getting rid of stuff” than making a metric ton of money.
posted by ktrey to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How much do you really care about the money? Because, believe me, you put all that crap out with a big "FREE" sign and it'll be gone before you can even get it to the curb.

Something that costs 50 cents won't sell, but the same thing given for free will disappear instantly.
posted by tristeza at 2:07 PM on April 29, 2006

Put things in bundles. CDs? 1 is $2, 2 are $3, 3 are $4, etc, etc.

I sold a ton of comics at my last yard sale by doing the "put twenty books together, stick $2 sticker on, wait" strategy.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2006

Response by poster: As the day progresses, we'll probably be marking stuff down to FREE just to save on gas to haul it off and donate it.
posted by ktrey at 2:31 PM on April 29, 2006

For anything that doesn't sell, try freecycle. You won't make any money, but it's likely you'll find people who are interested in coming and picking up your leftovers.
posted by annaramma at 2:31 PM on April 29, 2006

I would highly recommend, if you have any leftovers, just packing them up and taking them to the local thrift store (Salvation Army, Goodwill, or whatever). There's something extremely satisfying about taking lots of junk out of your house and not carrying it back in after the sale.
posted by MegoSteve at 3:09 PM on April 29, 2006

When we have had large moving sales in the past we put out a sign saying that anything left after noon was free and also included this in the newspaper advertisement. (Be sure to do a newspaper advertisement.) We put this sign out in the morning and many people came back after noon to check out was was left. We had a few items that we wanted to make money off of, so they went inside before the deadline.

Where we used to live the paper would let people advertise free items for free. This worked very well. You can also call in advance and see if any of the thrift shops will pick up your stuff for you. Some will, and some will pick and chose. If you drop it off yourself, you can pretty much assure that you don't have to deal with it again.

Wife of 445supermag
posted by 445supermag at 4:45 PM on April 29, 2006

Buy sheets of multicolored dot stickers from the office supply store. Choose an amount for each color dot. Don't deal in anything smaller than quarters. Throw the dots on all the stuff, with the exception of the bigger stuff. Don't worry about writing on each dot. Make large signs on posterboard to serve as legends and post them in very noticable locations. (There will still be people who ask how much things are but that just goes with the territory.) When the opening rush dies down, slash your prices in half. (If something's a quarter, don't make it $0.125 just say it's 2 for $0.25). Mark the bigger items down at your discretion. When the crowd gets even thinner, cut in half again. I've worked several church garage sales on this system with great success.

Also, be willing to make package deals. Instead of counting every little thing in someone's hands, make it a nice round price that's a little less than they would have paid had you counted it all out. It gets people through faster, keeps them happy, and simplifies life for you.

Don't count on your clothes selling, whatever the price. Donate it and take the good stuff to a consignment shop. If you try to sell them, you will be hauling them off at the end of the day. Save yourself the trouble and haul them off beforehand.
posted by wallaby at 6:04 PM on April 29, 2006 [2 favorites]

Tristeza, I've had the opposite experience... mark something as free and people often treat it with disdain and wonder what's wrong with it. Ask a few bucks with it and they feel like they're getting a huge bargain. My grandad taught me this regarding yardsales, and it always does us good!
posted by hermitosis at 10:04 PM on April 29, 2006

Best answer: It's Marketing. Advertise well; in the paper, on Craigslist, at the grocery store, etc. Day or 2 before the sale - photocopy a ton of bright posters: "Big Yard, Cool Stuff, Cheap," with the date and time really clearly marked. Don't say Saturday, say Saturday, May 6, so you won't get visitors on the 13th. Day of sale, add a "TODAY 9 - 3 lots of great stuff" sign to the existing signs near your house, and some larger signs. You can use the copier to make 11 x 17 signs to mount on posterboard. I prefer yard sales with spiffy signs as opposed to crudely hand-lettered on a budweiser carton. YMMV.

Play some music, drink coffee, chat up the neighbors who stop by. After the sale, if you have really good stuff Salv. Army might pick it up. Otherwise, donate it and get the tax refund. (in the US)You have to have extra documentation for in-kind donations over 300, so you might want to make trips to Salv. Army and Goodwill to split it up.
posted by theora55 at 9:03 AM on April 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

About a week before our garage sale last summer, I listed the main stuff we were selling on a parenting listserv that happens to be affiliated with the CDC here in Atlanta. A few people emailed to ask follow-up questions (not burdensome) and I was able to sell a bunch of crystal beforehand.

I also advertised on Craigslist and piggybacked on the other sales that happened that weekend in my neighborhood, putting up a bunch of signs in lime-green to lead folks to my house specifically. My small niece and nephews held a lemonade stand! We offered coffee and free moon-pies!

I'd advise specifying items in "garage-sale language" or whatever speech your desired buyer uses. Don't say "used clothing" if you want someone from a vintage resale shop to come looking. Be as detailed as you can in your free ads (craigslist/listserv) to get the right people coming. Be sure to run more than one ad.

I tried to sell $400, barely-worn suits from Ann Taylor for $20, with no takers. But the shoes for $2? gone in a flash.

I sold a ton of bric-a-brac, made around $500, and called a local charity to pick everything up on Monday. A great deal and far less hassle than I thought it would be.

Make sure you get plenty of change for your moneybox, and if you are selling with others, WRITE DOWN every amount as it comes through the box. We had 2 people sitting with the money and one person roving around answering questions.
posted by mdiskin at 9:11 AM on April 30, 2006

Throw the dots on all the stuff, with the exception of the bigger stuff.

Oh, for God's sake, do not do that. There simply is no need to get so anal-retentive. Dot stickers can be hard to remove, especially on books, and if you damage the cover removing the sticker, you damage the resale value of the book.

You can separate things by category and put a sign stating the standard price near them--that's all you need to do.

Don't expect to get half or even a quarter of what you paid retail. Price things by category and don't ask too much. CDs for a $1, hardback books for $1 and 50&cent for paperbacks is the average around here, for example. You make your money in volume, not in selling a handful of over priced items. Sell it for garage sale prices if you want things to move.

If you are honest, you will not sell anything broken. If it needs to be fixed, fix it or get rid of it--but don't sell it broken.
posted by y2karl at 2:46 PM on April 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Definitely put an ad in the paper, but make it stand out from the others. A few years ago, a bunch of my neighbors got together to throw a yard sale and I wrote the ad. It said something like "Trinkets, Treasure and Trash. Multi-family garbage sale...," etc. We had a huge crowd and really cashed in. Once in college, my neighbors and I got a keg of beer and offered a "gift with purchase" of a cup of beer when we sold something. It was kinda funny hanging in the backyard drinking beer with old ladies.
posted by theperfectcrime at 4:42 PM on April 30, 2006

Best answer: We had a garage sale a few months ago (I'm moving overseas soon and am in Purge Mode) and one thing that worked was creating a throwaway mini-blog for the sale beforehand. I listed some items I knew would be of interest to friends, and emailed the URL, along with the sale announcement, to everyone I knew. Most of my big sales came from the blog; friends forwarded to their friends, and I'd sold half the stuff before the big day even rolled along.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:40 AM on May 1, 2006

« Older Photographic effect   |   Is there only one site like the Internet Archive? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.