Junk or treasure?

Whether you’re moving to a new home or just clearing out the junk cluttering up the basement, garage sales are a lot more fun than a trip to the dump – and people actually pay you to cart those unwanted belongings away.

But like most worthwhile projects, a successful garage sale requires planning. Start by inspecting the house room by room, top to bottom, listing likely candidates – items you no longer use or which may need replacing. And don’t be too choosey: what may be worthless to you could be put to use by someone else. The entire family should be encouraged to participate, producing a complete list of what’s available.

Next, visit a few garage sales to see how the competition handles things. Don’t hesitate to ask for tips: What sold? What didn’t? When was the busiest time? Were people generally happy to haggle? What went wrong?

When to sell
Choosing the right time of year to hold your garage sale is vital: Too early in the spring or late in the fall, and the weather may keep the hordes away. And, in case of rain, keep a tarpaulin handy to cover your wares in the event of a downpour. An even better alternative is an empty garage in ca you have to beat a hasty retreat. Choose a date, time and location that’s most likely to draw the crowds – long weekends aren’t a good idea, as many folks go away. Saturdays are popular, although some people feel inspired and energetic enough to extend their sale over the entire weekend: This is for diehards only, or those with an incredible array of stuff to sell.

If you plan on asking friends, relatives or neighbours to participate – sharing the burden of advertising and showcasing more goods to attract serious bargain hunters are two benefits – be sure to agree on a date and starting time. Keep the coffee and soft drinks flowing for these volunteers.

The medium is the message
Creating interest in your garage sale shouldn’t be a problem, particularly if you post plenty of signs and notices. This certainly attracts the attention of your neighbourhood, and it’s free. Variety or grocery stores with a notice board are also a good source of publicity.

Other ways to get free advertising: Tell your friends and neighbours; and approach public service radio or television stations to see if they have any avenues worth pursuing.

However, to attract the seasoned bargain hunters – those who plan their outings in advance – advertise in the local press. Classified ads can be cost effective (particularly if sharing the expense amongst a group) and will ensure the pros include you on their routes.

The final part of your strategy should involve the placing of a number of eye-catching signs in high-traffic areas the day of the sale. Include general information (as in the ads) and directions. Contact a local realty office, as many offer free signage as a form of publicity. If you have large quantities of specific and perhaps valuable items – such as early-edition books, designer clothing or antiques – you might want to notify local dealers before going public. Be prepared to be descended upon (two hours before start time) by professional secondhand dealers. Decide beforehand whether you want to sell a bulk of your goods in one shot to them, or wait for the public to arrive.