Yard sales are one of the best ways to clean house! The process helps you organize and eliminate clutter, while also off-loading all that extra stuff laying around that you don't even need anymore--and with just spring around the corner, now is the time to start planning if you want to have a successful de-cluttering process and sale.
Here’s how to get started. Then, when the weather breaks, you're all set to go.
1.Start with a list! Your mission is to go from one room to the next and decide what to keep, store, or trash. But not so fast! While attacking the very first pile of clutter you see may seem like a good idea, it’s better to take a step back and create your plan of attack for the whole house first.
2. Work room by room. Go from one room to the next moving clockwise and remembering your mantra: keep, store, or trash. Try not to get absorbed into the particular items you are working through, and remind yourself of the task at hand. Consider setting a watch or an oven timer to limit your time in each area—you can quickly get derailed by a stack of bills or nostalgic memorabilia, so the timer will help keep you on track.
3. Store some of what you keep. There will be things you decide to keep. But remember that just because you want to keep an item, doesn't mean that it has to be on display for the open house. Being a home seller is a unique circumstance. We can probably agree that your old baseball collection is a “long-term storage” item, but your large collection of family photo frames or the stack of books that you've read can also be packed away for short term storage until you move into your new place. Being without them for a little while will be well worth it in the end!
4. When in doubt, hand it out. Only keep or store items that you truly want and need. Get rid of anything that you are storing that has already served its purpose for your family. Like, perhaps, if you are done with the baby stage for good, but still have onesies and baby gadgets taking up precious storage space. Today is the perfect time to pass those items along to people who can put them to better use, like family, friends or the needy.
5. Consider off-site storage options. You don't have to sell everything that's in the way. A storage unit can help move currently unused items out of sight. This doesn’t mean that you have to rent one forever, but it’s a great place to store bulky furniture that might be making your rooms look smaller, or anything that you don’t need for the next few months. Label everything and make a master list of what’s at the unit. Remember that you will have access to your stuff—so even if it’s not quite as convenient as your own closet, it’s not the end of the world if you end up needing something that you stored away. Ultimately, it’s better to fully utilize the space that you’ve rented and move as much clutter off-site as you can.
6. Go for the drawers. Utilize drawers to quickly eliminate clutter from counters and floors. Keep in mind that buyers love to open them, especially in the kitchen and laundry room, but they usually only open the top drawer. So if you have to stash something in a hurry, go for the bottom one, keeping the top drawer neat and tidy—which sends a great message about how you care for your home.
7. What about the clutter that remains? Everyone has “stuff” that can’t be stored away, but that isn’t exactly attractive either. Keep a bin, tote, or a laundry basket someplace handy. Before a showing, grab it, and toss in any messy items from counters or floors. A pretty basket always looks better than clutter. Take it one step further and bring the basket with you as you leave—voila!— the mess disappears, right out the front door!
8. Hold your sale! Any items that aren’t tossed, stored or donated throughout your de-cluttering over the next few weeks, can be sold. Start by getting a permit, if required, and advertising in the local paper. Remember that your goal is to purge clutter, not strike it rich. Keep things simple and price to sell. Most items will bring about 10% of their current market value. That means that a $200 gently used coat will sell for about $20, children’s clothing will go for about $1-$3/ea., and a full set of china (12 settings, excellent condition and no missing pieces) might go for around $100. For smaller items, stick to only a few price points. Get a sheet of colored circle stickers and make a poster identifying the corresponding price for each color. Then just affix the appropriate sticker to each item. And don’t forget your largest item of all, your home. Be sure it’s looking great, and have your agent’s cards on hand!
Do you have some de-cluttering or yard-sale prep tips? We'd love to hear them! Share your favorite ideas with us in the comments section below.