Selling Tips for your Estate, Yard or Garage Sale

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The shoppers are at your event, looking around, let's keep them there. Here are some selling tips to help maximize your event....
Selling Tips for your Estate, Yard or Garage Sale

Selling any item from a house to gently used clothing require the same thing, buyers. It is a simple fact that people need to know you are selling the item. This Selling Tips blog will follow the outline of our Estate Sale 4-part series. But these selling tips can also be applied to any single thing you are selling in a yard, garage or moving sale.


From PART 1 – Avoid Our Costly Pricing Error

Sorting Tips

Selling Tips for your Estate, Yard or Garage Sale

Sorting can be a long and tedious process.  For some of you, you may have a Will to read. If so, then the remaining items may or may not be worth sorting.  For us, we sorted items as part of downsizing into an RV, much like a retired couple moving from a 3-story house into a small condo. We all have to start someplace and, for the Selling Tips, it is from the beginning, with sorting.

  • Give yourself plenty of time to go through everything. Sorting may include more than items, but: paperwork, food, toiletries, and cosmetics.
  • Sort one room at a time, or it can get overwhelming. You may want to allow 1 – 4 days per room, depending on the contents.
  • Some items you will want to hold onto for sentimental reasons. If you have the display space and they bring you joy, great, keep them. But if not, consider selling or donating them to bring happiness to another person.
  • The “keep” items can stay in the closets/cupboards until you move.
  • You will need to free up some space for boxes labeled “selling.”
  • The “donate” items should get boxes/bags to make loading your car for the trip to the donation center easier.
  • The last sorting category is “trash.”  For small things and clothing, you can fill bags to be picked up on garbage day – however, any bulky items you may need to haul to the dump.  Or call the garbage company for a quote.
  • A bonus to our selling tips on trash is: if you think it’s trash so will the buyer.  Yet, some people like to craft out of “trash” items. So if you want to wing-it, put a few of the items in the back of the event, marked “Free.”

Research Tips

If you thought sorting is time-consuming, the research process can be as well. However, the research will make or break the income of your event. Our selling tips all hinge on items that have been priced accordingly through research. Don’t be like us in P1 and mark an item for $20 because you ran out of research time. Then find out mid-sale by a customer that a similar item sold for $5,000 at auction. Here are some research tips:

  • In our Downsizing blog, we encouraged writing a list of your big-ticket items. Doing so will give you a starting point for your research. Then as time allows go through the “selling” boxes.
  • You will find an example of how to internet search for an item in Part 2.
  • Some items may not come up via a basic internet search when using a mix of descriptions, model numbers, and dates. When this happens, set the item aside and come back to it later.
  • Depending on the selling price, you may need to take the item to an antique dealer. There they can examine the item and quote you an estimate.  Please note some places will charge for this service.
  • Make sure your item is in similar condition to the one you found ‘sold.’ Then take a look at several other sellers with the same thing, in the same condition.
  • Mark your item in the middle of the ‘sold’ price group. If priced way too high, it will not sell. If priced too low, you are missing out on a profit.
  • Bonus selling tips: You can always come down in a sales negotiation, but can never ask for more.
  • Having the price padding will enable you to come down a little, making the buyer believe they are getting a great deal.

From PART 2 – Advertising and Websites

Where To Advertise

Most people think of advertising in the form of a tv commercial or email spam. But advertising is much more than that. The following advertising selling tips will give you a good starting place:

  • Local Newspaper Ad – the paper kind and via their online area
  • Other local paper circulations – often found on stands inside restaurants
  • Craigslist
  • Local Businesses: coffee shops, grocery stores, churches, and office buildings
  • Social Media: Facebook Market and similar
  • Selling Apps: Let Go, Vinted, Carousell, Declutter, OfferUp, Depop and, ThredUp
  • Tell your friends (online ones too) and extended family

Basic Websites

As outlined in P2 building a website is one of the biggest selling tips that can substantially help you. Several sites offer a free website template, and they give you an URL. That way you do not have to buy a website address. The sites change all the time, so be sure to research them. Below are a few to consider and are in no particular order.

  • Wix
  • Webstarts
  • Jimdo
  • Webnode
  • Mozello
  • Weebly – the one Melissa has used in the past

From PART 3 – Pop Up Sale

Estate Sale Flow

You will find that laying out your sales event with these simple selling tips can help you bring in more sales. In P3 we went over how the sale should resemble a department store (i.e., Target). Keeping ‘departments’ of items clustered together or on a seperate table, is visually appealing. Why does it matter?

  • Shoppers buy with their eyes, even if they don’t realize it
  • Shoppers will stay longer in a calm, clean and organized area
  • Pre-selling the bulky furniture will give you more open space to set up
  • Leave plenty of space to walk
  • Display glass items out of reach from children

Pricing Selling Tips

Now that the shoppers are at your event, looking around, let’s keep them there. Here are some selling tips on pricing to help:

  • Price everything – even that $0.25 shot glass. A lot of the times a person may not ask for the price, or you may be busy with another guest. Rather than chance them walking away, be sure everything has a price.
  • Colored stickers with prices on them work great for glass items
  • For clothing, hang a general sign on the table, i.e., Shirts $1
  • Masking tape works well on wood items and mirrors for pricing
  • Bundle like items that you would not get much for (if anything) individually
  • Put unpopular books in a box – price the box of books low (i.e., 20 books $5)
  • Price a little higher in case you have to negotiate a deal
  • Also, pricing higher allows you to give a ‘freebie,’ if you desire

Where to buy supplies

The goal is to make money from your sale and not go broke on advertising or the prep. But, pricing everything, making signs and flyers can make or break your event. Below are some great options to not break your wallet:

  • The $1 Store has markers, poster board, and tape (though not the best).
  • Stickers with prices on them can often be found at a $1 Store too.
  • Save a PDF version of your flyer and have it printed by a local company, library, Office Max, or UPS Store.
  • Ask a family member or friend to print some of your flyers.
  • Keep bags from store trips or ask if you can have some.
  • Grocery produce department and retail stores may have boxes for you.

From PART 4 – Making Money

Where to put signs

Scout out places where you can hang signs for your event to drive traffic to you. Doing so will give you an idea of how many to make, plus a couple of extras.  On the morning of the sale you will want to put them up, in these areas:

  • On your mailbox — some balloons would help get attention too
  • At the end of the road to your house, in both directions
  • On any intersection that has a stop light or sign, in a 5 mile or more radius.
  • Hang a sign from a fence at a school, if nearby, and it’s the weekend

Why Social Media Matters

On the morning of the event, post a few pictures to the social media sites you did several weeks prior (see P2 and P3). Doing so will grab their attention that the day is here! Then be sure to follow these selling tips to maximize your sales:

  • Reply to comments in under 2 minutes if possible.
  • If they ask for more information or pictures, tell them to swing by
  • Post each hour a different item you hope to sell, but haven’t
  • Be prepared for people to want to look after hours, and decide if you want to set appointments or not.

Fun Selling Tips

Our goal was to part with as much as possible on the last day so, we did a BOGO deal. On Social Media, Melissa announced a Buy 1-item and Get 1-FREE for that day. Of course, there was fine print that set dollar limits of the items. We had return customers scooping up things they did not buy before when they saw the BOGO. We even put a sign out in front of the house so those driving by would know too.

Please leave a comment with any selling tips you have. If you have not already read over the 4-part Estate Sale or Downsizing blogs, we encourage you to do so.  We feel that if we can do it with snow piles all around, in a small Montana town and meet our goal, you can too!

Estate Sale PART 4 Making Money

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Melissa McElfresh

Melissa McElfresh

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), which made me realize life is too short and not to take simple things for granted. As an avid indoor-girl with allergies, I did not go on hikes of any sort. But, one day my Marine husband, Don, asked if I would go on a 'nature walk' with him. It was on the paved Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I went and was hooked, eager for our next adventure! The desire to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, has aided me to share with you my new adventure.

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About Us

We are sharing our adventures to not only document our full-time living in a 5th wheel but to provide others with information.  Our extensive research involved searching for answers to these questions: how to begin this lifestyle, what RV is best to live in full-time and what jobs could we do to support our dream.  However, we did not find a lot of answers out there that pertained to our quest.  Quickly we realized people choose this lifestyle and their RV for many different reasons.  There is no right or wrong answer.  We are here to provide you with another perspective.

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