Yesterday wrapped up 11 weeks of MAJOR downsizing at our house. We are clearing out the house – selling everything we can – trying our best to get fair value for everything in our house. I’ve done a ton of selling through local Facebook groups (has worked great for me), selling used books on Amazon and this past weekend was our EPIC garage sale. It was the biggest garage sale we’ve ever had – and it was a LOT of work – but I think it ended up being worth it – we earned $3,280.88
If you missed it earlier, here is why we are downsizing:
- We have plans to move this summer and instead of upgrading to a bigger, better house, we plan to dramatically reduce our square footage. We aren’t being forced to do this – it’s a choice. We want to spend less on our next “home” so that we can focus more on things we love and value – like travel. We are selling nearly EVERYTHING to do this.
- I want to own my stuff and not have it own me. Ultimately I only want to keep the items that a.) serve a purpose and b.) that bring me joy.
2015 Downsizing progress to date –
Week 1 update here – earned $548.16
Week 2 update here – earned $1,283.47
Week 3 update here – earned $432.40
Week 4 update here – earned $300
Week 5 update here – earned $395
Week 6 update here – earned $160
Week 7 update here – earned zilch, nada, nothing!
Week 8 update here – earned $645!!
Week 9 and 10 update – earned $715
Week 11 update – earned $3,280.88!!
Year-to-date – $7759.91
So let’s talk about the garage sale. It was THREE days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I took out an ad in the paper ($41, deducted from profits) and I made some awesome signage (complete with helium balloons from Dollar Store).
I’ve been doing garage sales for as long as I can remember and I am a bit neurotic about them – everything has to be organized, everything has to be priced (fairly) and everything needs to be clean and in working condition. I believe the more work you put in ahead of the sale, the more lucrative it is – and if I’m going to be sitting out there for three-days straight, I want to make some serious cash. We made a whopping $3,280 from our garage sale this weekend – not too shabby considering the MOST expensive item I sold was $60.
My goal was $2,000 – I wanted to make that much to justify all the work and time we put into the sale. We blew that out of the water. And I’m so glad we did.
I have a lot of thoughts about what makes a successful garage sale – so many that I plan to write a post about how to have a successful garage sale. But for now, I’ll give you some basic tips.
- Advertise! I recommend an ad in your paper, post on Craigslist, post in Facebook buy/sell groups and make a TON of easy to read signs with big arrows. Helium balloons from the Dollar Store are a plus! Make it easy for people to find you.
- Pick a good location. If your house is down a long dirt road in the country – it’s probably not going to get high traffic. Collaborate with a friend in town and combine your efforts for a shared sale – at their house. Location is key to getting good traffic!
- Organize – Place all the “like” items together. Kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff, toys with toys and near the kids books.
- Price fairly but don’t give it away – If you’re going to put a quarter on everything you might as well take it to the Goodwill and instead get a tax deductible receipt for the resell value of the item. I price nice brands more than cheap brands. I figure a little less than a thrift shop, but people who garage sale often can always spot a good deal – even if it’s priced higher.
- Price everything. If it doesn’t have a price, chances of someone asking for the price are slim. Make it easy for folks – price everything! Don’t price anything less than a quarter. You don’t need to be doing math with nickels and dimes. If it’s not worth a quarter – consider grouping it with other items and selling it together!
- Have plenty of change on hand. I always start the sale with about $150 worth of change in the cash box. $75 in one dollar bills, a bunch of $5 and a roll of quarters will get you started.
- Have half-price Happy Hour at the end. Consider offering items at 1/2 price toward the end of the sale. Wouldn’t you rather get something for it instead of loading it up and taking it to the thrift shop?
I’ll have more tips in an upcoming post about garage sales. Hopefully I can get that post written this week – I still feel like I need to recover from the sale. 🙂 I promise you – if your location is right, your stuff organized and priced right, you can have a successful garage sale, too!
So the next steps for downsizing – our house is looking pretty empty. 🙂 Closets are cleaned out. Dresser drawers are starting to be empty. Shelves that previously stored STUFF were sold at the garage sale. And our backyard is clutter-free. But we still have more to sell before we can get to where we’re headed. I know it seems crazy – but literally, we have big plans for this summer – and those plans can’t happen if we’re weighed down by stuff. So we’re motivated to keep downsizing. I hope to sell some bigger priced items online this week through Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups.
Stay tuned. 🙂 I’ll give you another downsizing update next Sunday!
If you’re joining me for Project Downsize – I’d love to hear what you got rid of this week! Pick a goal for this week and share it here, please!