Use yard sale to get rid of clutter

by | Oct 5, 2017 | Frugalista

On a recent weekend, there were two yard sales on my street.

That week, there were two and the weekend before that, I spotted at least three sales going on somewhere in my busy little neighborhood.

It is that time of year to be sure — the cooler temperatures and anticipation of the pending holiday season seems to get all of us ready to so some cleaning and purging.

I associated fall with lots of things — football, trips to the pumpkin patch, and of course, yard sale season! I don’t know what makes me happier — the inevitable decluttering that takes place after a well-implemented yard sale or the extra padding my wallet gets!

Whether you are new to the yard sale scene or a seasoned pro, I’ve amassed some good tips — mostly from those folks who rise before the sun does to stalk the best treasures on that day’s yard sale tour — for preparing for your own yard sale adventure.

Take a few minutes to arm yourself with some knowledge —then head over to those overflowing closets and garage shelves to see what purging you can do!

I promise, it takes some work but will be downright therapeutic and rewarding in the end!

I’ll admit — getting up early to fight off other early-bird bargain hunters is a daunting idea so the best way to assure a successful yard sale is to be prepared.

I keep saying to my husband that we are going to have our annual yard sale as soon as we get the garage cleaned up.

Yes, we have been saying that all summer and somehow, nothing has really changed.

Your first job is to pick a date on the calendar and hold yourself accountable to it!

You can create a free listing on some of your local social media networks or place an ad in your local paper — this will get attention for your event but also keep you accountable toward your goal!

Otherwise, December will arrive and those overflowing drawers and clutters garage shelves will still be there.

Check in with neighbors and friends who may want to coordinate the date with you or see if any of your neighboring communities are hosting one anytime soon.

Piggybacking on larger events will help with publicity and help bring more traffic to your sale.

After you have a date on the calendar, it is time to get to work. I always take three bins into the room I am working in — one for donations, one for the yard sale and another that heads straight to the recycle or trash bin.

Start with closets and drawers before moving into more intimidating spaces such as attics and garages.

If sentimentality starts to kick in, make sure you give yourself a save bin for those items that you aren’t ready to part with.

When going through items, ask yourself if you have used it within the past six months?

If you haven’t used it, chances are, you can live without it.

Does it still fit or are you waiting to lose or gain a few pounds to make it work in your wardrobe again?

I just purged outfits that I wore on my honeymoon 15 years ago because I kept saying to myself that I would lose the 10 pounds necessary to wear them again.

Never mind that these dressed were actually more like 20 pounds ago and in a fashion a decade and a half ago!

I kept one for sentimentality’s sake and, as Elsa sings so beautifully, let the rest go!

After you go through all of the closets and drawers in the house — places you use everyday — it is time to get to business.

The bigger areas where we tend to store items — attics, sheds, garages — will be more daunting.

Clear out a nice space to store your no longer needed items that you plan to offer in the sale and resist the urge to rescue any items. I have rescued more things that I think I will try to find a new use for — and then found them sitting in the same spot six months after my yard sale is over!

So, you have purged and sorted your items — now it is time to start turning your garage or spare room into your yard sale staging area.

Get some bins, boxes and tables as well as price stickers — I splurge for the sticky dots that they sell at the hardware store but you can make stickers using masking tape. Start sorting items into type — clothes, housewares and toys — and begin placing them in bins or on tables accordingly.

Larger items such as furniture can sit next to your tables while clothing should be folded neatly or hung on a temporary rack.

When pricing your item, keep this one important rule in your head — this is not a retail store. Price accordingly! Google “yard sale pricing guides” to give you an idea of what types of prices you can expect — but be prepared for the barterers who want to offer you less than your initial asking price.

I am usually willing to barter — particularly later in the day — but beware of the early birds who will try to nickel and dime you as soon as you open!

So you have purged, you have advertised, you have priced everything and are set up for shop. You are ready for sale day!

Before your sale opens, stop by your bank and get lots of change in the forms of ones and fives — I promise you, there will be shoppers with $20 and $50 dollar bills who shop your sale, spend $2 and want the rest of their change!

Have shopping bags ready to go — recycled grocery bags work just fine — and be willing to offer deals as your sale progresses such as “everything you can fit in the bag for $5.”

At the end of the sale, don’t just pack everything back into the house or shed — load it up in the car and deliver it to a local charity. If you were willing to sell it for a buck, you should be willing to donate it to a greater good!

Whether you make $50 of $500, I promise you that the work of purging your belongings will make your house run so much better.

That extra cash you made? Use it for holiday gifts, to pay off a pesky bill or to purchase something new that you now have the space for in your suddenly bigger home!

(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)