Monday, 25 May 2015

Garage Sale Season

The warmer weather means garage sale season - spring cleaning, opening cottages, the end of the school year, the spring real estate rush of families moving in and out - this is the time of year when people feel the urge to purge.

Every weekend neighbourhood lamp posts and mailboxes are plastered with hand drawn posters advertising yard sales, garage sales, street sales, moving sales. Saturday mornings see families across the city and suburbs lugging furniture and kitchenware, boxes of books and toys and board games, baby gear and odds and ends of miscellaneous household everything out of the basement and onto the driveway.

Here are a few tips if you're hoping to clear some clutter and maybe make a few dollars this garage sale season:

Purge Ruthlessly
If you're really trying to get rid of stuff, you might as well do a good job of it. Go through the entire house systematically - room by room, closet by closet, drawer by drawer, box by box. Ask yourself, "Do I need this? Do I love it? Have I used it recently? Why do I have it?" Everything that's just taking up space, serving no purpose and providing no pleasure might as well go. Maybe someone else can get some use out of it - and you'll feel lighter living in a cleaner, less cluttered space.

Let it Go
If it made it's way out to the driveway, you're ready to be rid of it - promise yourself that it won't be permitted back in the house. Whatever doesn't get sold can get donated to charity or placed at the curb for a neighbour to take for free; don't bring anything back in the house that you planned to sell, even if it doesn't sell. And on that note...

Price to Sell
It's a garage sale, not a boutique. It doesn't matter how much an item cost you when you bought it new; it's not new any more. It doesn't matter how much you think an item is worth; it's not worth any more than someone is willing to pay for it. If you don't want or need it any more, let it go. It's better to have ten dollars you can use than an item you can't that you think is worth twenty.

Partner Up
Get as many people involved in your sale as you can - friends, family, neighbours - if you can advertise as a multi-family sale, if you can fill more than one driveway or even get the whole street involved you'll bring a lot more traffic to your sale and hopefully sell a lot more items.

Having a garage sale isn't going to make you rich or bring in enough to take the family on vacation. But it's a great way to purge some of the stuff cluttering up your space and it's far better for the environment to let your used stuff have a second life as someone else's than throwing it away. And who knows - maybe the few dollars you do bring in will add up to enough to cover the trip to the nursery for this weekend's spring gardening or a little treat on a patio this sunny spring afternoon.

Do you have any tips for how to hold a successful garage sale?

Originally published as "Garage Sale Season" on my weekly column at

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