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Declutter for Profit

If Spring has launched you fully into ‘clean and declutter’ mode and your decluttering harvest is no longer welcome in your home, you may be looking for ways to divest yourself of stuff. Consider a garage sale, then. Read on and follow these simple yet important strategies to successfully turn your harvest into Saturday night’s pizza and next month’s pedicure.

Plan/Prepare: Set a sale date and start your sorting, organizing and pricing preparations two weeks or more in advance of your sale so that you are not caught in a panicked rush on the morning of. Plan your sale to capitalize on the garage sale frenzy periods. Most keen garage-salers plan their “tour”, hitting several sales in a morning, usually a Saturday, and usually starting at 8:00 a.m., A 1:00 p.m. end time is reasonable as you’ll have had enough and all the good traffic will have slowed to a crawl.

Consider asking a friend or two to a) help out during the rush periods and b) add some energy to the sale environment, which is not only good optics but much more enjoyable for you. Prepare a cash float to make change for the early morning customers – about $30 in $5’s and plenty of change.

Create Awareness for Your Event: Advertise your sale in your local paper and supplement with ads in free on-line sites such as Kijiji. In the ad, state your sale date, address with nearest intersection, start/finish time of the sale and note key sale items. Adding photos of important and unique sale items to the free site will draw more customers so do take the time to do this.

Develop terrific signs that include a title (i.e. GARAGE SALE), your sale location, arrows indicating driving direction, and start/finish time. Use vibrant colours and ensure each sign is large enough to be seen and read from the road. On the evening prior to your event (weather permitting), place in key and busy intersections near your location, visualizing/orienting from a driver’s point of view. The better signage you have, the more customers you will attract.

Price to Sell: Price your items with the objective of selling everything. You will make a little cash and best yet, your harvest will be gone…your objective, yes? Consider the alternative…hauling the bulk of your sale items back inside to deal with later, prolonging your decluttering mission. Consider marking your items at ½ price half way through the sale period and noting this at your sale location with signage, i.e. “Come back at 10:30 for the ½ price sale!”

Heighten the Appeal: You are competing with other advertised garage sales, so you will want to make your sale as appealing as possible to maximize your customer draw. Multiple sales in a single area often draw more customers than a lone sale. Ask your neighbours if they are interested in joining you by holding a sale on/at the same date and time. This way, you can share the cost of the advertising and the work of some of the signage. It’s also an agreeable way to reconnect with neighbours after the winter hibernation.

Do your best to make your garage sale “set” appear attractive - your effort to merchandise well will pay off. Use tables to display your items, borrowing a few if necessary. Avoid the temptation of laying items out on tarps and cluttering up your sale area with filled boxes of items for your customers to sort through. Minimize the somewhat humiliating drive-bys by inviting garage-salers to stop: use highly visible helium-filled balloons and place your more interesting items, such as large furniture pieces, at the front of your sale area to be easily viewed from the street.Follow these strategies for a successful sale and look forward to your pizza and foot rub :)

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