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Make the most of your spring-cleaning yard sale

Spring cleaning isn’t just about deep cleaning bathrooms and organizing hall closets, it’s about decluttering and getting rid of junk you no longer need. There’s no better way to rid your house (and mind) of all that excess than by having a yard sale!

Garage sale sign

Garage sales are not for the faint of heart. They require immense organization, weeks of planning and the ability to part with and sell your once most-treasured items. This year, instead of stressing out and adding “garage sale” to your never-ending to-do list, let’s make it fun! Garage sales don’t have to be all work and no play — we’ll show you exactly how you can make the most of this year’s spring-cleaning garage sale.

Decide what to sell

As you tackle your spring cleaning to-do list, start setting aside items you no longer want, use or need. Include everything — from shower curtains and bath mats to silverware, art work and clothing. We suggest having a designated spot in your house for the stuff, such as on a few tables in the garage or in a spare bedroom.

Tips for hosting a successful garage sale >>

Organize your items

Don’t spend days organizing your items or stressing over this — remember, it’s supposed to be fun! Simply group similar items together. Place clothing on one table, art work and trinkets on another, and kitchen and bathroom goodies on another. Larger items, such as furniture, yard tools, televisions and baby equipment, can go on in the driveway or on the lawn. Price items accordingly, and know that it’s better to overprice something than underprice it. You can always negotiate.


Tip: Don’t choose a holiday weekend, because people may be out of town.

First, make sure your neighborhood allows for garage sales any weekend of the year (some neighborhoods have community sales). If so, choose a weekend that works best for you, and start advertising! Tell your friends, post an ad on Craigslist and hang flyers in nearby supermarkets and coffee shops. The day of the sale, make sure you have plenty of signs and balloons within a 1 to 2 mile radius of your house. Most people who go to garage sales simply drive around looking for signs.

The day of the sale

Ahh, the day is finally here, and it’s go time! Wake up an hour to two beforehand and go grab yourself some coffee and doughnuts. Trust us, you’ll need it (plus, coffee and doughnuts make any event more fun). Get all your items arranged how you’d like, and sit back and relax. When potential customers start arriving, feel free to introduce yourself, but make sure to give them their space, too. If someone’s interested in an item, always be willing to negotiate price. Remind yourself that you no longer want or need any of these items and that you priced them slightly higher than you intended on selling them for.

Donate any items that don’t sell

Hopefully, your garage sale will be a success and you can take a much-needed mini-vacation or finally purchase that new rug you’ve had your eye on for months. For any items that don’t sell, donate them to charity or Goodwill. Do not bring them back inside and store them. Remember, the whole point of your spring-cleaning garage sale is to get rid of excess clutter!

Spring-cleaning garage sale checklist

  • As you clean, place unneeded or unwanted items in a spare bedroom or garage for the sale
  • Group similar items (kitchen and bathroom, clothing, home goods and art work, etc.)
  • Price the items — remember, it’s better to overprice than underprice
  • Choose a weekend that works best for you, avoiding holiday weekends
  • Advertise online and by posting flyers at your local grocery store and coffeehouse
  • Make signs to post the morning of or night before within 1 to 2 miles of your home
  • Always be willing to negotiate price
  • Make sure you have plenty of change available ($60 to $80 in tens, fives and ones, plus one roll of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies)
  • Consider selling ice-cold sodas and bottles of water if it’s hot out
  • Place larger items — like furniture and tools — on the lawn to bring people in
  • Donate any items that don’t sell
  • Take down all signs once the sale is over
  • Reward yourself with a mini-vacation, a new household item or even just a pedicure, depending on how successful your garage sale is

More spring cleaning tips

Spring cleaning tips for the whole family
Spring cleaning: How to handle unused credit cards
Spring cleaning made simple

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