Perfecting the Art of the Moving Sale

The humble yard sale: In recent years, it has fallen out of fashion due to the rise in popularity of online sales platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist. But sometimes, simplicity is key, and the classics are a classic for a reason. A moving sale (a.k.a. a yard or garage sale) can be a way to get rid of your odds and ends in bulk—all in one go—not to mention making you a little extra cash. Plus, it can be a fun event that brings people together, the perfect way to create lasting memories among your friends and neighbors as a final goodbye before you leave for your new home.

But it can also be overwhelming, especially if you’re used to just clicking a pic and posting your for-sale goods online. So if you’re at a loss for where to start, or just want to make sure you’re not missing anything, here are a few tips to ensure your moving sale is the most effective, most profitable, and the most fun it can be.


1.   Set day and time

Before you start on the what, the first thing to figure out is the when. The date and time can make a huge difference, especially because a yard sale hinges so much on people happening upon your set-up. A weekend works best, especially Saturdays since that is the day most people are the most free. As for time of day, mid-morning to mid-afternoon is the sweet spot: still early enough to give you a lot of time, but late enough that people are done with their morning routines and families may find themselves out for a walk, strolling past your sale.

There are some days, however, that you’ll want to avoid. These include holidays or days on which other things are likely to distract from your event. Keep an eye on local happenings like concerts, sports games, and school events to ensure you don’t clash with any other goings-on.

And of course, the elephant in the room, make sure you’re prepared for the weather. Check forecasts as much as you can beforehand, and dress accordingly. If there are heavy winds, make sure you’re set up in a way that will keep lightweight items from flying away—unless the wind is willing to pay up, it can’t take anything!

Keeping a collection of tarps nearby may also be a good idea if there’s even the slightest chance of rain. And remember, weather predictions are not always reliable, so it’s always good to be prepared even if the weatherman is calling for clear skies all day.


2.   Check with the local authorities

More than likely, you’re not going to make the FBI’s most wanted list for hosting an unauthorized garage sale, but it never hurts to check and see if there are certain restrictions or permits you should have. A quick call to city hall or to the local authorities is an easy way to ensure that you’re doing everything above board, and the fastest way to start the process of getting the right permits and permissions if it turns out that’s something you need.

Do this as early as possible so that you have time to sort everything out on the off chance there is something you need to do.


3.   Do a Thorough Search

One of the best things about a yard sale is that it’s one big event. It’s a blowout. A way to get rid of a lot of stuff quickly. So you want to make sure you put everything you got out there. So go beyond the garage, cabinets, and closets. Clean out storage spaces, desk drawers, under bed storage–anywhere you think there might be something you can get rid of. Of course, focus on things that you think someone else would want. Sometimes one man’s trash is, well, everyone else’s trash too. There’s a place for that, and it’s still great to clear out unwanted items, but make sure you’re intentional about what’s going out for sale and what’s going to the dump. A yard sale crowded with junk might turn off potential buyers.


4.   Get Organized

In order to sell, you gotta know what you’re selling. Especially with a moving sale where there are so many items, it’s easy to get lost in the fray, and your front yard may start looking like an episode of Extreme Hoarders. To combat this, start by making an inventory. There’s a reason all real businesses do it—it will help you both in setting up and keeping track of your progress, and when you’re all sold out and counting out your spoils, you’ll be able to locate exactly where that profit came from to ensure everything is in order.

When setting up, organize your items into categories like “kitchen,” “outdoor equipment,” “children’s toys,” etc. This will make it easier for your buyers to find what they’re looking for. Plus, if they have a sense of where things are, they may be more likely to roam around and pick up an impulse buy or two.  Also ensure that it’s clear what’s for sale. Set up your yard, garage, or basement so that all “For Sale” items are clearly separated. You don’t want any confused customer trying to buy something that’s not even for sale.

Lastly, setting up a cashier’s desk with a cash box and change makes for a fast, smooth sale process and no stress when it comes to where to put the money. Having an easy, recognizable set-up just like a real retailer will put potential buyers at ease and ensure they don’t just get frustrated by the chaos and walk out.


5.   Get the prices right

Of course, you want to make money, but there’s a balance between a giveaway, a good sale, and swindling your neighbors out of their cash. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your items and their condition honestly. Make sure there’s no significant damage, that each item is functional—especially if it’s electronic or has moving parts—and, most importantly, make sure that it’s safe Then price accordingly. Think about how much you’d pay for it if you saw it in a secondhand shop. If you can’t remember how much you bought something for, or you don’t know what it’s worth now, look online for similar items from secondhand dealers to ballpark it.

Then, when you have all your prices set, record them on a tag or sticker and place them on the item in an easy-to-see location. From there, it’s all up to you—and there are a lot of ways you can handle pricing or add a little flare to your sale.


Color Coding

For the people who had a specific color pen for every class in high school, you can elevate your sale the same way.  Use different colored stickers or identification codes to signify different price ranges, discounts, categories, etc.


Offer Bulk Deals

Pricing deals will help you move more items, and may encourage someone to buy who may otherwise not have. Offer buy-one-get-one-half-off deals on things like books or toys that are easy to pick up a few of, or offer discounts if someone buys over a certain dollar amount.


Mystery Bags

Surprise grab-bags can be a fun add-on to your sale. These are little  bags of miscellany–think birthday party goodie bags—where the buyer purchases them at a set price and then finds out what’s in them afterwards. It’s a great way to get rid of odds and ends, especially if you have lots of small tchotchkes or children’s’ toys—and the surprise aspect makes them enticing. Of course, it only works if you fill them with items that are worth something. You may have a customer uprising on your hands if you’re selling bags of old batteries and loose lug nuts.


Be Open to Haggling

People love to argue; embrace it! Ideally, people will just pay you the price that you set, but people who love a good deal also tend to enjoy getting an even better one if they can. If you’ve found an interested buyer for an item, but they don’t want to pay full price, consider dropping it down. Especially because moving sales are just as much about getting rid of stuff as they are about making money, this is a great strategy to push someone over the edge of making a purchase.


6.   Get creative with your advertising

Just because you’re having a classic yard sale, doesn’t mean you have to stick to simple picket signs and flyers. Make the most of the modern age and update your marketing strategy. Create clean, digital ads and post on social media to reach a wider audience, or hang posters on bulletin boards and around in local businesses. You can even use neighborhood news sources like local newspapers or neighborhood online forums to get the word out.


7.   Make it an event

Yard sales are community events, and if you create a fun atmosphere, it’s likely others will want to join in. So make it more than a yard sale—get snacks, drinks, games! Even do a combo yard sale/lemonade stand if you have kids. It’s a great way to get your whole family and the whole neighborhood involved. And on a hot summer day, a cold drink will be a welcome relief to shoppers. You can even ask neighbors to help or host garage sales at the same time as you to create a bigger event and more camaraderie. This may be one of the last big memories you’ll have of your old neighborhood, so make the most of it.


But Not Every Part of Moving Should Be a Big Event

And just like a garage sale, the moving process itself is easier if there’s someone there to help with the—pardon the pun—heavy lifting. That’s why Elite Moving and Storage is dedicated to helping you with an easy, organized relocation.

We’ve been serving thousands of families through the continental United States for over 10 years with a 99% success rate. Whether your move is local or cross-country, Elite Moving & Storage will get you there with confidence. So call us today or go to our website for a free estimate!