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Whether you are planning to move across town or across the country, the worst thing about packing up your belongings is realizing just how much stuff you have. The solution for a lot of people facing a big move is to either 1) donate all the things they no longer need or 2) sell those items to help pay for the move. Holding a moving sale is a great option if you’re in the second group.

Physical or Virtual Sale?

garage sale signsYou need to decide fairly early if you plan to have a moving sale, as it will affect many parts of the moving process. The first decision you face is whether to have a physical sale, in your garage, front yard, car port, etc., or if you want to have a virtual moving sale.

A virtual sale is conducted using Craigslist or other online classified sites. This type of sale allows you to list high price items and groups of items individually or in one big listing.

A physical yard or garage sale is the traditional way of getting rid of stuff before a move.

Nowadays many people choose a hybrid of these two sales. They list some items on specialty sites or put up an ad for the moving sale itself that lists the bigger items to call attention to them. After the physical sale, they may list a few big ticket things online and dispose of the rest through Freecycle or donating to a charity thrift store.

Planning Your Sale

Set a date for your sale (whether physical or virtual) as early in your moving process as possible. Start working on the marketing (ads, fliers, email or social media announcements) as soon as that date is set. You want to get people interested and make sure they have your sale on their calendar.

The next step is to designate where you will store you sale items. Set aside a corner of your garage, spare bedroom, etc., and make it clear to everyone in the family that this is where they put things to sell.

Now it’s time to start sorting. This is an important part of any move, whether you’re having a sale or not. You need to go through all your belongings and decide what is moving with you and what is being left behind. Have boxes ready for packing, selling, donating, and bags for trash. Every object should be immediately designated as one of those categories and dealt with appropriately.

Remember: the more you shed, the less it costs — either in moving fees or in your personal time and energy. So, set a limit as to how many boxes you can afford to move and the rest of your stuff goes.

As you start to build your stock for your sale, try to organize it into the categories you will use during the sale: clothing, kitchenware, books, sports equipment, tools, etc. You should take time at the end of each day’s sorting to dust, clean, and polish items for the sale, otherwise you’ll be staying up the night before trying to make everything pretty. It is also a good idea to think about how you are going to price everything.

Holding Your Moving Sale

yard saleA virtual sale will be slightly different than a physical sale, so adapt the steps below as needed.

In the week leading up to your yard sale you’ll need to do a few more tasks to ensure it is a success:

  1. Get your family excited about helping out with the sale — perhaps setting a goal that any money made over a certain threshold will earn them a meal at a special restaurant (since no one will want to cook anyway).
  2. Procure enough tables and cases to display all your items
  3. Make/buy and put up signs
  4. Push the online advertising/announcements. Consider posting pictures of items on social media to picque the interest of friends, family, and co-workers.
  5. Make sure all the items have tags with the price clearly marked.
  6. Have cash on hand to make change for buyers
  7. Gather bags and boxes for sold items
  8. Have a plan for what you will do with the things that don’t sell.

If you have a definite plan, follow thru on your sorting and organizing, and advertise, advertise, advertise, you will likely have a profitable moving sale — and a lot fewer items to worry about unpacking at your new place.

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