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Just this weekend, I had a two-day garage sale and earned a little bit over $300. Even though I didn’t make as much as I had hoped, I still think my efforts were worth it. For starters, I got rid of eight totes of kid’s clothes, coats, and accessories that had been cluttering up my garage since last winter. Second, I truly believe that having a garage sale is a fun and easy way to teach my kids about money. My oldest daughter even had a lemonade stand and made $22 of her own!
Even though I love having garage sales, part of me always wonders if I’m wasting my time. After all, my schedule is already packed to the point where I probably need time management classes as it is. The last thing any sane person would normally want to do is sit in a humid garage and sling toddler clothes for 50 cents a pop. Am I right?
5 Garage Sale Tips When You’re Short On Time
But here’s the thing: Unlike previous years when I spent countless hours preparing for my sale, I only spent an hour or two this go-round. That’s because, after all these years, I have finally mastered the art of having a successful garage sale when you’re short on time. Here are some of my best garage sale tips:
Group same-priced items together – The biggest garage sale time-suck by far is taking the time to price every item. I avoid pricing most things completely by grouping same-priced items together on tables. Most of the stuff I sold in this sale was clothing, so I made everything 50 cents. I may not be getting rich at that price point, but I didn’t have to spend 5 hours pricing each item. I did have one table of priced clothing, but that was only the nicest stuff.
Piggyback off a neighbor’s sale so you don’t have to do signs – I employed this strategy at my old house all the time. Whenever anyone on my street was having sale, I would try to get my stuff ready and have one the same day. One of the most annoying and time-consuming parts of having a sale is putting up signs, but when you piggy-back off of someone else, you may not have to! This year, I timed my garage sale on the same weekend as our huge neighborhood sale. Score!
Place free ads on the internet – The internet has made the entire garage sale process so much easier. Even though I may not take the time to put up signs all over the neighborhood, I always take the time to place some free ads online. This year, a free ad on craigslist and our neighborhood Facebook page brought oodles of people to my door – and all with little effort on my part.
Prepare all year- Part of the reason I put my garage sale together so quickly this year is because I had been preparing for it all year. My strategy is simple – I keep a tote of garage sale stuff in the garage all year so I can add to it any time I come across something I don’t want. I also keep totes in my kid’s closets so I can immediately store pieces of clothing they outgrow. While my oldest child’s stuff goes straight into the garage for my youngest, my youngest daughter’s clothing is ready for the next garage sale.
Set out a box for free stuff – Some items aren’t nice enough – or worth enough – to bother pricing them. If you want to get rid of them, however, you can always set them out for free. I like to keep a “free box” for little toys and knick-knacks. I don’t mind giving a few things away for free; I just don’t want to spend time messing with it.
As usual, the best part of my garage sale this year was the very end. Why? Because I managed to get rid of all the “extras” in one fell swoop. Just like previous years, I put an ad on Craigslist and someone came and picked it all up. That meant that my garage sale clean-up only involved putting our folding tables up and sweeping the garage. Score.
Are you having a garage sale this year? What are your best garage sale tips for saving time?