Spring Cleaning and Garage Sales: How Your Junk Can Earn You Cash

Spring Cleaning and Garage Sales: How Your Junk Can Earn You Cash
Posted By :Elena Difiore
Posted At : Monday, Feb 28, 2011

The Get Your Money On Blog focuses on issues and topics pertaining to your everyday financial wellness. It can be a quick resource for everything from inexpensive party planning ideas to how to start an emergency fund. Read on for the latest advice and insight from the Unlock Your Wealth staff.
Spring Cleaning and Garage Sales: How Your Junk Can Earn You Cash Elena Difiore

This week’s Midweek Update focuses on two things that go hand-in-hand to help save you money: spring cleaning and garage sales! Before you groan at the thought of going through all your belongings and spending your free time bartering with strangers, take a few minutes to think about the positives. You’d be surprised how much money you could save and how much clutter you could get rid of by simply dedicating a few hours to rummaging through your stuff. Read on for some great tips and tricks on spring cleaning and garage sales…

Get Organized

Many of us have far more clothes in our closets than we ever actually wear. That being said, it’s time to dust off the old frocks and put them to work! Start off by going through your entire closet as well as your dressers and drawers and sorting your clothes into three separate piles: one for Keeping, one for Selling, and one for Reusing. The “Reuse” pile should contain old, worn-out clothing items that may be tattered or torn, or simply are not fit to be sold. How do you “reuse” old clothes, you ask? Simple…items such as old shirts and socks make great dust cloths and cleaning rags, so think twice before you toss out that stained alma mater t-shirt.

Next, gather up all the miscellaneous items around the house that you never use anymore, or simply don’t want, and organize them according to their function. Small electronics should be grouped together as well as furniture, literature, shoes, or wall decorations. Organizing items into similar categories makes the browsing process that much quicker and easier for your garage sale customers. They’re much more likely to buy an item if they can actually locate it, instead of searching through heaping piles of random junk, which will most likely only leave them frustrated and annoyed.

Be Reasonable

Sure that old souvenir coffee mug from your historic trip to the grand canyon may seem priceless in your eyes but your customers probably won’t agree on the $10 price sticker you’ve plastered on it. When pricing your sale items it’s important to be fair yet realistic. Just because you spent “x” amount of dollars on a certain item and you barely got any use out of it doesn’t mean you can charge the same amount you paid originally. Items must be modestly priced because that’s what your prime garage sale shopper is looking for. Garage sales are meant to be a frugal alternative to in-store shopping as well as a deviation from the typical items your local store offers. That being said, be open to bartering. By no means should you give important things away for free but you also have to be flexible on your price point otherwise you’ll find yourself having a hard time moving any of your items at all. You may end up parting with a few items for less than you were expecting but think about it this way: no matter what, the money you made on the item is more than the money the item was earning you collecting dust in the back of your closet (which was absolutely nothing).

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

If you’re going to throw a garage sale, it’s best to go full-force. That being said, don’t expect to roll out of bed around 10:00am and sell out your inventory by noon and call it a wrap. Experts say the best time for throwing garage sales is between 6:00am-8:00am. That means going to bed early the night before and waking up even earlier the next morning to put up signs and posters. We suggest getting started at least an hour before your sale opens. To increase the promotion of your sale you should put up a few signs around your neighborhood and major cross streets as early in the morning as possible so that people can plan their day accordingly. You don’t want your garage sale turning into a “no-show” simply because no one knew it was going on!

Try Your Best, Donate the Rest

Anyone who’s ever hosted a garage sale before knows how difficult, if not impossible, it is to sell every single item. Don’t be discouraged when you still have a few piles of clothes and some miscellaneous cooking pans or books leftover at the end of the day. Be thankful and proud of the money you made off the items you were able to sell and then gather up the rest of the items and make a trip to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. It’s important to always remember that although we may be struggling financially, there’s always someone worse off than ourselves. What’s the point in holding onto unnecessary items when there’s someone out there that can get much better use out of them?

At the end of the day, the success of your garage sale depends wholly on the amount of effort and time you invest in it. Take our advice: get organized, be reasonable, and promote your sale, and you’ll be surprised how much money you can bring in from simply cleaning out your house.

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