How To Have Your Own Estate Or Moving Sale

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Sorting Through Your Items


  • Determine What You and Your Family Would Like To Keep
        1. The first step is always to determine what you would like to keep and marking it with painters tape or sticky notes. It is ideal to get the items you would like to keep out of the home to avoid getting them mixed up. This way, you can focus on the sale. Be sure that the destination location actually has space for what you are keeping.
  • Find the Highest Value Items
      1. It is important to find the highest value items first so you can focus on pricing and showcasing them. Your pin collection could be well-priced and look great, but pricing your nice speaker set correctly will have a better impact on your profit.
      2. Your highest value items are likely your vehicles, electronics, jewelry, firearms, industrial equipment, collector’s items, and tools. Unfortunately, your china probably has more value to you than what another person would pay for it. Your clothing has probably not held its value, nor have your dvd’s.
      3. Set your high value items aside or mark them clearly. Painters tape works well for this - color code for high value or low value. When you get to your sale, it is a good idea to have your high value items all in one spot, in your sight, near your register. Be sure everyone staffing the sale understands which are the high value items so that no one accidentally accepts a low offer from a sneaky shopper.



  • Furniture
      1. Furniture is difficult to sell. If it is in-style (mostly mid-century modern currently), or brand new, consider researching it and focusing on selling local, each piece individually.
      2. If it is not new nor in-style, it is likely you will need to sell it at whatever price buyers are willing to pay. A good way to determine this is to price them high the first day of the sale, and slowly drop your price day by day. If you have time for two weekends, a low price second weekend to get rid of the furniture you didn’t sell at your hopeful price will be helpful.
      3. You really do not want to get stuck with unwanted furniture left over. It can be more expensive to move it than what it is worth. Luckily, our “clean-up” step tells you how to get rid of all the leftovers for free.
















    Pricing Your Items


  • Start with the most valuable types of items, mentioned in “Sorting Your Items”
        1. Focus on vehicles, jewelry, electronics, firearms, tools, industrial equipment, and collector’s items. Keep original boxes, they raise the value.
  • The Internet is Your Friend!
      1. Do your research. Often you will be able to find great information on your items with a simple Google search.
      2. A good starting price for a garage sale is 20-25% of the new price.
      3. Sometimes you will find a record of the same item, used, sold online recently. A good garage sale price would be 50% of that. You are trying to liquidate, not be a store. Many people that spend money at garage sales are there to resell your items.
    1. Only after you have successfully priced all of the categories of high value items listed above should you move on to other low value items.
      1. This is to avoid running out of time before the sale and making up prices on the fly. This is why people love garage sales- they expect you to be unprepared!
      2. The entire process of preparing for a sale will likely take double the time that you expect it to. People make this mistake all the time. Adjust for this and plan accordingly.
      3. If you have many of the same category of items, you can price a few of them, then price all the others at the same price. For example: Shirts, DVD’s, VHS, books.
      4. It is ok to wait for offers on the low-value items.


    The Setup


  • Try to begin setup at least the morning before your big sale starts. Get cash for change a couple days before.
  • What part of your property will host the sale?
        1. An indoor sale will make it much easier to sell furniture, but your carpets could get dirty, and you may have to block off areas of the house that you don’t want customers to visit. People will go anywhere in your home unless you tell them not to.
        2. A yard sale has the most space to spread out a large amount of items, but you and your customers may be exposed to unfavorable weather.
        3. A garage is a great place to keep people out of your house and out of the cold/heat/rain, but may lack space.
  • Determine a good place for a cash register/cashier table.
        1. Have one dedicated cashier- their job is to either hold the money in a fanny pack or never take their eyes off the cash box.
        2. Determine a spot that has a good view of the high value items, and one that people will have to walk by when they leave. The point is to discourage theft as much as possible.
  • Determine a good place for the high value items.
        1. This may include a jewelry table, an electronics table, etc.
        2. This should be easy for your staffers to see and hard to swipe from - the back of the garage for example.
  • Set up all the other items.
      1. If you don’t have enough tables, the ground is fine for the low value stuff.
      2. Try to spread out items so customers can see them all.

    Advertising Your Sale


  • Determine the right days for your sale
        1. Fridays and Saturdays in good weather are the best.
  • Make a craigslist ad
        1. This is by far the most important thing to do to get enough people to your sale.
        2. It is ok if you don’t want to post your address, but make sure your signs give great directions to your sale.
  • Make a Facebook post
        1. “Hey all, I’m having a sale, message me for the address!”
        2. Also, post into your local community garage sale group.
  • Text your friends
        1. It’s fun to have friends stop by, or even spread the word and bring others.
  • Make an add on EstateSales.net
        1. Estatesales.net charges $50 for one ad post if you choose to do this yourself.
  • Set out signs
      1. Signs should be a bright neon color, with clearly written, dark, thick arrows and letters. Signs are hard to read from a car.
      2. Set up signs to guide people to your home from the closest major streets. Be sure to have a sign at every turn.
      3. Have your sign on the side of the road that they are turning toward.



    The Actual Sale


  • Be ready an hour before your start time.
        1. This is so you can deal with last minute problems.
        2. People will show up as much as an hour early to try to get first dibs on your items. It’s up to you how you deal with them. A good policy is to be strict with your start time.
  • Barter effectively.
        1. Often people would gladly pay your asking price, and are testing to see if they can get it for less. If you get an offer that is unfairly low, simply say sorry you won’t sell it for that.
        2. Drop in price slowly.
        3. If you aren’t getting interest in your furniture at full price, this is the type of item that you should compromise the most on. In the end, a quarter of what you expect is better than organizing a removal service.
  • Move everything into a safe location when you close up for the next day.
        1. Back into your garage will work fine.
  • You may need to get more cash in between sale days.
  • If you have a lot left when you get to the last few hours of your sale weekend, you can decide whether you’d like to start taking all offers, or if you’d like to give it another try next weekend.
      1. If this is all the time you have for your sale, try to get as much money as possible out of it before you have to donate it.



    Donating The Rest


      1. Goodwill will allow you to schedule a pickup for furniture and BOXED items.
        1. They will only take exactly what you ask them to when you schedule the pickup, so be sure to be thorough to include each furniture piece and the number of boxes you have.
  • Throw away your actual garbage.
      1. Goodwill probably doesn’t want that.


    Shred and Destroy Important Files


  • Private files shred by hand, machine, or call a shredding company
  • Computers, hard drives, and memory cards wipe all information off them

  • We hope you got a lot of useful information out of this packet!


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