I came across an article on The Simple Dollar by Holly Johnson. Her article “Why I Quit Having Garage Sales (and What We Do Instead)” takes a look at why she gave up on having garage sales. I agree with Holly. A garage sale is hard work! You drag all your junk out to the street pretend that you know what it’s worth. Then you hope that there are people out there who think your junk is the best. After the garage sale ends you have the pile of stuff that did not sell.
My wife has run the last few garage sales at our house. Some crises at work or an unplanned trip has left her doing all the work in the hot summer sun. This is not good when your wife is three months pregnant. As a result, there is a family ban on garage sales at our house.
What does Holly Do instead of a garage sale?
You can quit having garage sales but when you are on your debt free journey every dollar helps. So what do you do instead of garage sales? Holly recommends you use these five options.
Facebook and Craigslist
Use Facebook or Craigslist to sell nice clothing. One big take away is from Holly’s article is that she bundles the clothing into “lots”. At a garage sale, she would have a $1 or $2 rack that people pick through to find what they wanted. At the end of the garage sale, she would be left with a pile of clothes that did not sell.
To avoid this Holly takes pictures of some of the clothes she is selling then bundled them all together and sets a single price for all the clothes. Instead of $1 to $2 per item, she can earn $4 or more per item when bundled. If bundling works for the cell phone companies why can’t it work for us?
My wife uses Facebook all the time to sell things that our daughter has grown out of. She belongs to a local Facebook mom’s group. This is a targeted local audience that is looking for the items we are selling.
Before my daughter was born we bought a used stroller on Craigslist. The stroller was not the one we wanted. After my daughter arrived, we found the stroller we wanted. I cleaned the surplus stroller, took some really nice photos and placed an ad on Craigslist. The stroller sold for $50.00 more than what we paid for it. That is not a bad profit for something we did not need.
Holly makes it a point to do regular donation runs and my wife does this too. My wife found a Goodwill donation box on her daily route. This makes purging easy.
I do not have any experience with Poshmark.com but Heather uses this online website to sell her higher end clothing that she would have sold at a garage sale.
The following excerpt from Heather’s article:
“Lately, I’ve been using the website to post and sell a lot of my children’s nicer clothing, as well as my own. While there is additional work involved in taking pictures, creating a posting, and shipping items, you can earn a lot more per item, too.”
Curb alerts on Craigslist are something we have used to move the things that did not sell at the end of garage sales. Heather uses curb alerts to move awkward items she doesn’t want to sell.
In our area, The trash company has a “large item pickup” service. If an item sits at our cup for more than a day we call this service. The trash company schedules a truck to come by our house and removes the item.
Get things moving
Heather concludes she has made nearly as much online as she did from Garage Sales. My wife and I have would agree. Save yourself the hassle of sitting in the summer sun. Sell your things online or give them away.