Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Successful Moving Sale
Paul Williamson – October 14, 2019
Paul Williamson – October 14, 2019
Downsizing can be good for the soul. We may not notice it, but the stuff that clutters our closets and junk drawers often clutters our minds as well. Moving house, especially when downsizing to a more efficient space, is the perfect opportunity to wipe the slate clean…or at least dump unused junk on a table in the garage and see if someone will trade a handful of crumpled dollar bills for it.
Holding a moving sale can put money in your pocket in two ways.
Best of all, seeing items with sentimental value live on in the hands of a new owner, rather than ending up in a landfill or recycling center, is good for morale.
Read on for True Legacy Homes’ Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Successful Moving Sale.
When you hold your moving sale matters as much as—if not more than—what you sell. Be strategic about the date and time you select.
Moving sales ideally happen on a weekend. Saturday is better than Sunday, as some shoppers may have church or other social obligations on Sunday.
If at all possible, host your moving sale in the spring. The weather is likely to be pleasant, but not oppressively hot.
Avoid holding your sale on the same day as a major holiday or local event. Check local online calendars of events, as well as your own calendar.
Start your sale in the morning and continue through the afternoon. 8am to 4pm is an ideal window. If you advertise an 8am start time, have your sale up and running by 7:45! Otherwise, early-birds will loiter on your lawn, checking their watches as if you work for them.
Most cities and counties have no problem with moving sales, yard sales, or other home-based informal sales.
Still, with the clock ticking on your move, you don’t want the sheriff to show up and shut you down.
Check and see if any local ordinances govern estate sales. Get a permit if you need one. A successful estate sale will more than justify the expense.
Make a list of everything you intend to sell. It will come in handy when it comes time to price items, answer buyer questions, and recap what sold and what didn’t.
Gather everything you intend to sale into one place and list it all.
Remember, the more good stuff you put up for sale, the better. Be brutal. Don’t hang on to things you haven’t seen (or touched) in years. Check attics, garages, drawers, and cabinets.
One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure…but some things really are just trash. Moderate your expectations. Loose screws and broken glass are unlikely to sell.
The best merchandise for a moving sale tends to be tools and vintage glassware.
No one will come to your moving sale if no one knows about it. It’s time to get the word out.
The classic moving sale advertisement is the hand-lettered sign taped or stapled to a telephone post on the busiest cross street. If you want to have a truly successful moving sale, you’ll need to do a little more.
Hand-lettered signs do have their place. Make sure they are fastened securely. Big black letters on a bright background (bright yellow, for example) work the best.
Include the date and time on the sign, but not the address. No one will write it down while driving past. On the day of the sale, put up extra signs with arrows on each street corner leading to the house.
Once your sign game is covered, it’s time to think outside the box. The more people know about your moving sale, the better. Why limit your exposure to people driving by? Here are some creative ideas to advertise a moving sale:
If possible, include pictures or descriptions of a few key items in your marketing materials to entice shoppers.
One of the most powerful—and most overlooked—boosters for a moving sale is to involve other people. Moving or not, most people have stuff cluttering their house that they would love to get rid of.
See if friends, family, or neighbors want to join your sale. The more people get involved, the more goods you can offer for sale, making the event more appealing. Additionally, more sellers means a bigger network to market the sale.
Neighbors on the same street can set up their sales in their own garages or front yards. Alternatively, everyone can gather in your yard or garage, each participant setting up and running their own table. You may end up presiding over your own popup swap meet!
People go to moving sales looking for deals. Goods at a moving sale will not command top dollar, not even the prices at secondhand stores. 30% of the brand-new retail price is a good benchmark. Check Amazon or eBay for MSRPs.
If in doubt, price items to sell. Remember, you save time and money by not having to move them.
Here are some more pricing tips:
No one is expecting Sak’s, but at least some thought should go into the layout. Group similar items together. Hang clothing on a rack or clothesline, spread jewelry on a felt mat, put records in a box, books on a small shelf, etc. Be prepared to rearrange items as other items sell to keep the display attractive.
A little extra thought and planning can be the difference between a successful moving sale and dud. Here are some ideas:
Inviting strangers to your home means taking certain precautions. For your safety and the safety of your guests:
If the goal is to drastically downsize, an estate sale may be the way to go instead of a moving sale.
Estate sales typically liquidate the estate of a person who has passed away, up to and including the house itself. Pressed for time, executors or trustees often hire an estate sale liquidator. In exchange for a commission on items sold, these professionals take the logistics off their hands by:
Some liquidators even arrange for contractors to dress the house up for sale, list the house for sale, or buy the house themselves as-is. Such a liquidator may charge a smaller commission on sale items.
You probably have no plans to pass away, but if you have little spare time and lots of stuff to get rid of (including the house), consider hiring an estate sale liquidator. Your time is valuable. A professional touch may justify the commission with a more successful moving sale.
Reach out to True Legacy Homes for customized tips to hold a successful moving sale.