Let It Go

Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Unwanted Stuff

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By Kimberly Blaker

Are your garage, attic, and closets overflowing from the heaps of stuff you’ve been saving ‘just in case?’ If so, it may be time to put those languishing piles to good use — in someone else’s home. Follow these suggestions for a successful sale and a clutter-free home.

The Storefront

A garage is usually the best place to hold a sale, offering shelter and requiring little daily setup and tear down. Use a covered porch, patio, or yard if your garage is hard to access or contains valuables. Make sure you have tarps available to protect items from rain and for covering at the end of the day.

All in the Timing

Plan your sale when temperatures are between 60 to 90 degrees outdoors. Typically, the best days to hold sales are Thursdays thru Sundays, with Fridays and Saturdays bringing the most traffic. Mornings get the most significant flow of shoppers, so the earlier you’re ready, the better.

Displaying Your Wares

Don’t heap your merchandise on tables or leave it in boxes to be ransacked. While some are okay with digging through messy stacks, most people won’t bother. 

Use a clothesline or portable clothes racks to hang as much clothing as possible. 

Plenty of table space is also a must. Folding tables are optimal, but you can make a table by resting a sheet of plywood over sawhorses or prop spare wood planks between chairs. 

Neatly fold and stack clothing that can’t be hung on tables, and label stacks according to size. Organize good toys and complete sets where parents and grandparents will easily spot them. Organize tables by categories. Place small articles such as jewelry in divider containers or egg cartons, so they’re easy to view. 

One exception to the disorderly rule is for small toys. Stick all these little goodies in boxes on the ground where young children can dig for treasures to take home. Label boxes according to the price per item or allow kids to choose one as a prize. 

Finally, make sure batteries and electricity are available to show shoppers that items are in working condition. 

Looks are Everything

Appearance plays a big role in selling used goods and how much they can bring. Wash and dry all clothing and linens, then fold or hang immediately to prevent wrinkles. Wash dust, dirt, and grime from toys, tools, and household items. Also, repair broken merchandise when feasible. 

Priced to Sell 

Don’t overprice items, or you’ll end up packing up nearly as much as you started with. Research online ads or resale websites for average resale prices for oversized items. But remember that this pricing often differs from what people pay at a garage sale.  


Newspaper classified ads or Craigslist, as well as the more popular online garage sale locator websites, usually bring the best results. In your ad, be sure to include your address and main cross streets, dates, and time of your sale, and what you’ll be selling. List big items individually and the categories of things you’ll sell, like “tools” or “toddler clothing.” 

Also, post fliers on the grocery store or laundromat bulletin boards. If there are no regulations against doing so, posting signs on nearby corners is a must. Remember to put a bright sign in front of your house, too. Balloons tied to your mailbox, or a tree can make your sale more visible. 

Tips for Success

  • The bigger the sale, the more traffic you’ll get. Go in with family, friends, and neighbors and hold one big sale rather than several small ones.
  • Hold a street or subdivision-wide sale. This will draw people from surrounding areas.
  • Move large items such as furniture or appliances into the driveway to attract passersby.
  • Finally, have your items priced. Many people will only walk away from a sale with something when things are priced. They don’t want to make an offer that’s too low and might offend you. They also don’t want the hassle of asking the price for every little thing they might consider buying.

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