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Queen of free: Spring cleaning? Try selling clutter

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Spring doesn’t just mean flowers and pollen, green grass and warmer weather. Every spring, all of us take a quick look around our homes and realize that perhaps we have collected a bit more than calories during the winter months.

Somehow, our clothes and the kids’ toys have multiplied like rabbits, and we begin with a determined mindset to clear out the clutter.

Perhaps you are ready to simplify. Why not take the opportunity to also make a few bucks in the process? From online selling to garage sale strategies, it’s wise to consider your best path before just tossing your excess to the curb.

Use Social media

Your most immediate course of action doesn’t require borrowing the card table from the neighbors to have a yard sale. Instead, begin snapping pictures with your phone and posting them online.

A number of Facebook groups have sprung up with their sole purpose to help sell used items. While you can choose to use the Marketplace, you can also search for groups within your county or even city with the words “Garage Sale” attached and find many others looking to sell or purchase items. Not only can you begin the selling process immediately, but you usually can net a higher price.

Go online

Have a large ticket item or a valuable collection? Craigslist or eBay might be a better fit for you. If you’ve never used either before, find an experienced person to help you.

An experienced friend, a book from the library or even a YouTube tutorial will give you better selling strategies than trying to navigate that on your own.

Know neighborhood

If you choose to have a traditional garage sale, be sure you know when your neighborhood (or the neighborhoods around you) is having its annual spring sale.

Buyers are drawn in by the potential of visiting more than one sale. If you’ve already missed your opportunity, see if you can’t band together three or four other families to bring in a bigger crowd.


Whether it’s an ad in the local paper, a listing on Craigslist, a posting on the Indianapolis Yard Sales’ website, or detailing your sale on Yard Sale Treasure Map, be sure you advertise. Set a budget (be sure you don’t spend more than you think you can make at the sale).

Use traditional signs in your yard. Make lettering legible and noticeable. Or do all of the above.

Organize stock

Individual pricing can wear you out! Consider pricing your stock by a specific amount with a $1, $5, $10 or more table. Try to make your display look as attractive as possible. Place large items that will catch the eye nearest to the road.

Large toys for children, gym equipment and furniture typically bring in browsers who might not have known about your sale.

Open early, have cash

The early bird gets the worm. Hard-core garage sale shoppers head out at the break of dawn.

Be sure to “open your doors” as soon as you can in the morning. Also, be sure to have plenty of change on hand. You don’t want to miss out on a sale because you can’t break a $50 bill.

Having a garage sale can be a great source of unexpected income. Here are just a few more tips to maximize your experience:

Don’t get offended if someone offers you less than the listed price. Be prepared to make a counter offer.

Invite interested parties to return later in the day and give them a discount if the item hasn’t sold.

Be welcoming and kind to your shoppers. A cheerful attitude may cause them to linger longer (plus it’s just the right thing to do).

One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Best of luck with your selling ventures this spring.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. Send questions, column ideas and comments to newstips@dailyjournal.net.

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