Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Spring Cleaning and Garage Sales
Spring is the time we open all the windows and clear out the winter accumulation of musty air and sweep out the dust and debris of our winter "hibernation." It is also a good time to have a garage sale, before the weather gets too hot (today not withstanding) and before the pools and beach clubs open for the season. Are you the kind of person that keeps a box or two of items at all times that you intend to sell one day at a garage sale? Or do you choose a date and start to advertise and then scramble getting stuff "ready" to sell. Either way, keep some things in mind. Price the items as you box them so that pricing is not another overwhelming task on the day of the sale. And pricing is the best way to prepare for a sale, particularly if you are the kind of person that is prone to clutter. Being overwhelmed by clutter might indicate that making snap decisions is not one of your strong suits, so having to decide on the price of something with a yard full of eager customers (hopefully) would be highly stress producing. You can buy pre-printed price tags in bright colors in the label section of your local warehouse stationers. These labels are easily removable so you will not be damaging your "valuables." Sort item with like items, particularly like in storage and display needs. Put smaller, breakable items together and make sure you have a sturdy table on which to display these items. Put all clothing together and try to borrow a coat/garment rack from someone if you don't have one. Put all items for children together since that is often a category that people shop for at garage sales. It is also a good idea to have smaller, more expensive items, on a single table near where the cash box will be kept so that there will always be someone nearby to keep an eye on these items. You may want to consider having a "sale" hour toward the end of the day and allow people to take whatever they can fit into a bag for a dollar or two - make sure you have a quantity of standard sized bags on hand and mark the bag as "sold" with a marker when it has been paid for. I have seen people go to their car, empty the bag and then bring the bag back and fill it again. No one should be putting anything into a bag that is marked sold or paid. Know ahead of time what you plan to do with the items that don't sell. Have an organization like Vietnam Vets or Good Will on stand-by to come the same day or the next day at the very latest. Don't move the stuff back into the house. Find out from the pick-up organization if they have any restrictions on the kinds of items they will take. Have a few large garbage cans/bags available to dispose of the things that are not taken. I will say again, don't move any of it back into the house. If you commit to a sale and an item is left over at the end, consider that it is unwanted and get rid of it. Consider going in on the sale with a neighbor or two. The pre-printed labels come in an assortment of different colors. Have your neighbor(s) use a different color label if you want to keep track of the sales or just decide that you will split the profit no matter whose stuff is sold. Having a crew that can spell you when you need to take a break is worth it in the long run. Happy selling (and happy de-cluttering)!