Sunday, May 14, 2017

Prelude to a lawn sale

We’ve had a couple rounds of lawn sales and as we look down the road to some sort of move, it made sense to gear up for another round of purging. I started the process by identifying some of those hidden spots that hadn’t received significant attention previously.  For me, this was the basement, the shed and the garage but also quickly expanded to include other neglected hiding spots like closets, cupboards and drawers.  In sorting through the debris (quality merchandise), it was also important to designate an area to place the items to be sold. 3 distinct piles emerged; one in the four-season room, one in the basement and one in the garage.  Garage sale items from throughout the house were initially funneled to one of these 3 piles.  As the ultimate goal is to move them to the front lawn, the basement pile was quickly merged into the other 2 piles.

While this process roughly resulted in some grouping of items, my wife performed a second round of sorting and grouping. A quick tip for this phase of preparing for a lawn sale is to start to accumulate boxes – I don’t think you can have too many.  Boxes are important not only to help organize your items but also to provide storage to have your items ready to quickly place out for the sale. While doing this, you can help yourself by keeping similar items and/or similar priced items together. Items such as books can be arranged to have their bindings our so that shoppers can quickly read titles.  When boxing books, it is important to resist the temptation to overload the box – this not only makes it hard for the customers to read titles, but also makes it difficult to move due to the weight - you neither want to put your back out nor have heavy items breaking through the bottom of the box when you’re hustling to set up.

To pre-sell or not pre-sell… I made the conscious decision to place some items up for sale on Craig’s list before the lawn sale.  I realize that some lawn sale purists may frown on this as they may feel it may leave only junk for the lawn sale. In my case, I felt I had more than enough items to provide ample variety for the big lawn sale event. In my opinion, anything that I could pre-sell could be considered a bonus as it would mean less stuff to haul out to the driveway on the days of the sale and I have little doubt that the items sold on Craig’s list brought a much better price than they would have fetched at a lawn sale.  For example, I sold a typewriter for $35 – in contrast I suspect I may have had a hard time selling it for $5 at a lawn sale.

At this point I’m looking forward to the day of the big event.  I need to continue to move stuff closer to the destination – in my case, moving items from the four-season room to the garage in a ready state to launch to the driveway.  Yes, I need to be ready with plenty of change and loose bags for customers to haul the loot away.  I’m ok with “early birds” as long as they aren’t ridiculously early and aren’t overly obnoxious – if they start to spend money, they become more welcome quickly. In regards to set-up, my strategy is largely to move the cheap and items that I most want to get rid of closest to the road; I anticipate kid toys (and things that may attract kids spread widely on the lawn. Breakable items such as the collectible figurines in or near the garage so that they require little to no movement.  As time elapses, I anticipate migrating items to a “free” box or free area… ultimately, the goal of this purge is for most items to be sold, given away or donated with only minimal returning to the house.

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