Nothing feels better than getting rid of clutter! We might not look forward to spring cleaning, but when it’s done, it feels wonderful. But what do you do with the boxes of toys and clothing that your kids have outgrown or aren’t interested in any longer?
You have several options: Have a garage sale, participate in a local rummage sale (PAMP hosts a rummage sale every year!), resell through a consignment shop, sell online through eBay or Craigslist, or simply donate the items. If you’re selling at a consignment shop, inquire about their requirements. If you’re selling your items online, eBay provides helpful tips on how to list your item, expand your selling options and provide good customer service.
If you’re preparing for a rummage or yard sale, the following tips will help you prepare, price and set up so you can sell your items without any headaches!
- Make sure toys and games are in good condition — clean, unbroken and with all parts in plastic zip-close bags. Rubber band the boxes closed.
- Sometimes, manufacturing defects cause items to be recalled. It’s illegal to sell a recalled item, so check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s list.
- When selling small, valuable items, attach them to large pieces of cardboard so they are harder to steal. Tape boxes and cases shut so items can’t be easily removed.
- Clothing shouldn’t have holes, stains or wrinkles. It should be freshly laundered, pressed and neatly folded or hung up. Most dry cleaners sell wire hangers if you don’t have any hangers to spare.
- Remember you want to get rid of these things, so price your items reasonably. A good rule of thumb is 1/2 or 1/3 of retail prices.
- To simplify things, you can set up $1, $5 or $10 tables instead of pricing each piece individually. Just color-code with stickers on each table; for example, everything on the blue table is $1, etc.
- Bundle similar items together. For example, you can price individual items 25 cents each or bundle them five for $1. People will buy more because they love getting a deal.
- If you are selling expensive or like-new items, create a flyer with information from Amazon.com, including customer reviews. This will help make buyers confident they are paying a fair price.
- Make sure everything sells by pricing it half off for the last few hours of the sale or by giving customers a bag and letting them fill it for $5. You might even want to create a “free” box.
- Advertise everywhere. Email friends, and post to mothers’ groups and Craigslist ahead of the sale. On the day of the sale, put out large, easy-to-read signs with arrows pointing the way. Add balloons or streamers to catch attention. Include the day, (Sat. April X), the time (9–4) and the location. Don’t forget to remove all the signs when the sale is over!
- Make sure it’s safe to walk around the tables. Allow enough room for two people to pass without knocking things over. If the sale is in a garage, drape a tarp over the things that aren’t for sale or otherwise clearly mark them.
- Display items attractively. People don’t like to rummage through boxes on the ground, so put things on bookshelves or tables. Rearrange items throughout the day to catch the customers’ eyes.
- Have batteries and extension cords on hand so customers can see that items really work.
- Don’t forget the change. Keep your money with you at all times, and be prepared with small bills and coins so you can make change.
- Have fun! Greet buyers with a smile, talk with those who are chatty, and share information about your products and how much joy they brought to your family.
To make all of this easier next year, keep two bins handy all year round, one for resale and one for donation. As you find you no longer need or want an item, clean it, fold it, price it (if it’s for resale) and then place it in its bin. That way it will be ready to go next year when you declutter your home again.
Carmela Guizar-Sanchez is a PAMP member and owner of Simplify Home Solutions, a lifestyle and household concierge service. She has a daughter age 8 as well as sons ages 5 and 1. You can find more of her tips at www.simplifyhomesolutions.com.