As the school year comes to an end, many families move to new homes during the summer months in order to get settled in before the new school year. One way to make moving less stressful is to get rid of unwanted household items before you start packing. It doesn’t make sense to transport unused items or clothes you never wear to your new house; not only will it save you the time you would’ve spent packing it up, it will save you money because movers often charge by the size of the load they are transporting.
One of the best ways to quickly get rid of unwanted stuff is by holding a garage sale. In one day, you can ease your packing burden and make some money. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure,” so the old end table that has been gathering dust in your basement may be just what someone else wants to put the finishing touch on their new decorating scheme.
To get started, you first want to go through your house, being sure to include the garage, attic, basement and closets. Organize things into groups: what you think might have value to someone else and would sell, what is in good condition but should be given away, and what is no longer useful to anyone and needs to be thrown away.
Next, check with city hall to see if your community requires permits for garage sales, and take the necessary steps to obtain one. Find out if you’re allowed to hang signs on telephone poles, light posts, or street signs to advertise the sale. Many communities have regulations for how far in advance you can hang signs, and when you need to take them down. If signs are allowed, make clear, readable signs with large black print that includes the dates and address of the sale, and attached them securely.
Be sure to advertise your sale in your local newspaper, either in the printed version or on the paper’s website, or both. You can also post information about your sale on www.craigslist.com, an online classifieds website where people can list items for sale for free. There may be other opportunities to promote your sale online such as community blogs or email listservs.
Start your garage sale early in the morning on the weekend. Bargain hunters hit the streets early and you’ll miss out on possible sales if you set up late. Mark prices clearly on all items and price things reasonably. Don’t get caught up in sentimentality — your object is to get rid of things and make a little money, not to score big profits. Have plenty of quarters and dollar bills on hand to make change, and it’s helpful if you have plastic bags and newspapers available to wrap purchases.
After the sale, contact local charities to donate the unsold items and other things you’ve marked to give away. Some charities will send a truck by to pick up your donations, particularly large items like furniture and appliances. Remember to get a receipt from the charity so you can deduct the donation on your income taxes.
On moving day, you’ll be grateful for the extra work you did ahead of time. And when you move into your new house, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the storage space you have. To learn more about making the process of buying a new home and moving easier, go to www.sthbra.com or www.nahb.org/forconsumers.