Health Advocate Blog

Turn your trash into treasure

On warm summer weekends, people are advertising yard and garage sales in neighborhoods across America. It can be hard to drive anywhere this time of year without seeing a sign posted on a telephone pole or hung up on the local community board. And there is good reason – summer is a great time to clean out your home and possibly make a profit in the process. Decluttering can be stress relieving, and bringing in extra cash can help you reach upcoming financial goals (a vacation, perhaps?). Follow these steps to help you get started.

Clear out the excess. This may be the toughest part of the process – identifying items to possibly sell. Try tackling one room at a time and sorting through all the clothing, kitchen gadgets, books and tchotchkes, asking yourself if you really need each piece or if you have used it in the past year. If the answer to either question is no, you’ve found a good candidate. Sort items into three categories:

  • Trash – These are items in poor condition or that have no value to others (clothing beyond repair, chipped or cracked dishes, broken appliances). Determine if you can recycle them in any way, but otherwise, put them out with next week’s garbage.
  • Donate – If you have clothing, shoes, or toys that are in decent condition but may not be stylish or new enough to sell, consider donating them. Check out local shelters or an organization like Green Drop that will pick up donations at your home.
  • Sell – These should be items still in great condition that you just no longer need. Perhaps extra mugs taking up space in your cabinet, or a pair of pants you never wore because they don’t fit quite right. Once you’ve gone through all the rooms in your home, bring the “sell” items together to begin the next step.

Price to sell. While making money is a great perk of a garage or yard sale, you also want to keep in mind that people coming to shop are looking for a deal. The big goal is to clear clutter from your home for a more relaxing, less stressful environment. Consider grouping items to sell faster, like 10 books for $5 or fill a shopping bag with baby clothes for $10. If you have higher value items you want to get more money for, consider working with a consignment shop instead. There are boutiques that specialize in high-end clothing, baby items, and more, and it is likely you’ll fetch a better price than with a typical yard sale.

Make it a party. The only thing more enticing than a yard sale is a BIGGER yard sale. Ask your neighbors if they’d be interested in participating as well. Having more houses hosting sales will attract more buyers to your location, plus you’ll have more fun spending time with friends and neighbors.

Get the kids involved. Perhaps the kids can host a lemonade stand or bake sale during the yard sale to make it more inviting. They can either put the proceeds toward their own bank accounts or perhaps pick a charity they want to support.

Advertise! Make sure people know about your sale. Hang signs in the neighborhood, post announcements on community message boards and social media, put flyers on community bulletin boards, and more.

Decide your post-sale plan. Once the sale is over, do not be tempted to keep what hasn’t sold. If you believe it still has value, you could try selling it online via eBay or Craigslist. Otherwise, plan to immediately donate the items so you can move on!

Hosting a garage or yard sale may be a bit of work, but in the end it can be a win-win scenario. You make space in your home for the things you truly need and enjoy, someone else finds a new treasure, and you make a little extra cash! Happy selling!