Moving Sale: What is It and How to Host It?
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Now that you’ve made a decision to relocate, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to work.
If you’re like most Americans and have moved house at one point or another, it is not lost on you that moving involves a fair bit of preparation as you gear up for Moving Day. From house hunting and looking for a good moving company, to gathering packing materials and doing the actual packing, there is plenty of work that goes on behind the scenes.
Now, as you prepare to relocate, obviously at some point you’ll have to assess the items in your house as this will inform most of the moving-related decisions you will be making. These include the amount of supplies to order, the size of the truck to consider when booking with local or long-distance movers (depending on your destination), and what to take with you vs. what to leave behind.
Clearing out space in your home is always a good thing, and moving presents a great opportunity to declutter. It is the perfect time to pare down your possessions, and there are plenty of benefits you stand to enjoy by doing so. In the context of this topic, the clutter in your home can be viewed as idle money that can be converted into quick cash.
How, you ask?
Well, through something we call…a moving sale.
What is a Moving Sale?
A moving sale is an informal sale of any excess or unwanted items in your household with the aim of trimming down your possessions and earning some dough from the process.
It’s just like the odd garage sale on a weekend, only this time, you’re doing it to trim down the contents of your house in anticipation of a move.
A move-out sale makes absolutely perfect sense. Not only can it bring in some extra dollars that can be channeled into moving expenses or other initiatives of choice, but fewer items to move also means a smaller moving bill to contend with.
Getting rid of unwanted things in your household or items that no longer serve you means more [uncluttered] space in your new home, the size of the house notwithstanding. And we’re not just talking about closet space. Fewer things generally means more room, and that’s always a huge plus.
As well, while often understated, less clutter is good for the soul. Not many people realize it, but your space impacts your life more than you know. There’s a reason you feel rejuvenated after spring cleaning, you know.
How to Hold a Moving Sale?
So then, what goes into planning a moving sale and how do you go about hosting one?
Let’s take you to school, shall we?
1. Plan ahead.
As soon as you’ve made the decision to relocate, you need to sit down and create a solid plan. We always encourage you to draft a detailed moving checklist [PDF], knowing the task list you need to tackle when moving is long and it’s easy to overlook or forget some important details.
After assessing the contents of your house, you need to make a decision on what to get rid of. Don’t wait until the last week before Moving Day to start sorting out these items, especially if you plan to host a moving sale.
Identify them months in advance and set them aside if need be, although this is likely to be more feasible with stuff like clothing and kitchenware compared to large appliances and electronics.
2. Set a date and time.
After making up your mind on what to get rid of, lock in a date to host the moving sale. This should not necessarily be the most convenient date for you. Rather, you need to be strategic with your timing to increase your chances of pulling off a successful moving and garage sale.
For instance, holding moving sales smack in the middle of winter may not be the best decision. Early spring moving house sales tend to be more successful as many people are busting to venture out after winter for some retail therapy.
The downside to early spring moving sales is that everyone else is also likely hosting theirs, so the increased competition can dilute your foot traffic and, um, eat into your bottom line. Fall might not have the most traffic, but the weather is great and there is less competition. Plus, buyers at this time of year might be keener to buy.
Moreover, a weekend might make more sense compared to hosting a moving-out sale in the middle of the week when there are not only fewer people around, but fewer people interested in this form of shopping.
Do you live in a town that hosts festivals or other social events? That can be another opportune time to explore.
As far as the exact time goes, the early bird catches the worm maxim might be your best advice when holding moving house sales.
3. Check if any local ordinances govern moving sales.
There are no regulations prohibiting the hosting of move-out sales, yard sales, or other such informal sales in most places. However, it never hurts to be sure as the laws differ from one estate, county, or city to another, and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law on your big day.
So, to avoid anything raining in on your parade, it’s good to check what your local ordinances say about holding informal sales in your area and if any permits are required to do so.
4. Make a list of what you are going to sell.
There is power in creating lists, and when it comes to relocating and hosting moving sales, a list makes it easier to keep track of the motley of things that will be up for grabs. Otherwise, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Thus, go ahead and draw up an inventory of all the things that will make up your move sale. Not only are you less likely to overlook anything, but the list will also be useful as far as pricing items for your moving yard sale goes, not to mention answering questions and taking stock after the curtains close.
List every single item, and the advice to follow here is to be ruthless with your cull. That will mean putting emotions to the side when identifying the things you need to get rid of.
When drawing up your list, remember that some items will have more demand than others.
While your wardrobe may be your top target for de-cluttering, not many people might be interested in used clothing. But they might be easily drawn by antique dishes and glassware, furniture, tools and equipment, toys and bicycles, as well as garden tools – all items that sell like hot cakes in moving and garage sales.
Sometimes, the aim of hosting a moving sale is to trim down your possessions so you have less items to move and less costs to deal with. With that in mind, consider getting rid of heavy stuff such as furniture even in good condition if you’re moving cross-country as these only serve to add to the cost of moving. You can always repurchase it later.
5. Advertise your moving sale.
As with any other sale, promoting your upcoming move sale can give it an edge. The logic here is that the more people know about the moving garage sale in advance, the more “qualified leads” you are likely to attract.
The best way to advertise your moving sale is to mix things up. Many people do look up stuff on Craigslist, and newspapers (available in both online and print versions today) still have their faithful readers.
Do a bit of social media marketing targeting your community and any local groups. Facebook is always a winner when it comes to this kind of thing, but consider other platforms such as Instagram. You can go one further and do a targeted Google Ads campaign to net more qualified prospects.
But you don’t want to concentrate on online advertising alone. Hand-lettered signposts still get the work done, so put up some in your area, complete with the date and time of the sale. Flyers work too, so consider liaising with local businesses in your area – they can tape it on their storefront window or hand out leaflets at the counter.
6. Involve friends and neighbors.
While you might be the only one moving house, that’s not to say other people might not have junk of their own in their homes that they can put up for sale.
Approach some friends and your neighbors and float the idea of a moving garage sale to them. There is a chance you might end up recruiting some proponents!
While this might seem counterintuitive, having more sellers participate in the moving yard sale will not dilute your sales. If anything, a bigger event, with more products on offer, will attract more people interested in buying. Not only that but bringing more sellers on board means your advertising efforts as a collective have the potential to reach a wider audience.
Who knows, what was to be a humble moving sale might just turn out to be one of the best personal projects you engage in!
7. Price and label moving sale items.
Price tags may not be as ubiquitous as they used to be, but let’s face it, there is nothing more convenient for a shopper than clear up-to-date price tags.
Price tags take any misgivings related to cost out of the equation, paving way for on-the-fly decisions that might lead to some people buying stuff they didn’t even need in the first place – provided, of course, the pricing doesn’t make the wallet wince. The same logic applies when hosting a moving sale.
The upside to hosting moving and garage sales is that prices are lower by default (even compared to secondhand goods stores’), and that’s their biggest catch. Better still, there are additional moving sale tips you can apply to boost your sales even more.
- Use colorful stickers to mark the price on individual items, indicating the prices with a marker. Label each item, whether it’s a book, piece of clothing, glassware, or handbag;
- Throw your customers some deals to whet their appetite some more. For example, if you’re offering a t-shirt for $15, consider giving two tees purchased together for $25 instead of $30;
- Everyone loves a good bargain and keeping this in mind, you know some people will turn up for the moving sale looking to haggle. The best hack to deal with them (and any other buyer for that matter) is not to have fixed prices. Instead, consider pricing each item about 10-20% above what you would sell it for. If anyone asks for a discount, you can slash the asking price and give them more reason to buy.
8. Use a good money management system.
Transactions in a moving sale are just like any other business transaction: you need a till to safely hold the proceeds from the house moving sale. A cash drawer is always an option, but this needs someone to man it. The best option is to use a waist money holder.
Giving your guests options when it comes to payment methods may sound like a great idea, but it’s not worth the risk as anything can go wrong with card payments, PayPal, or Venmo. If you have a crypto wallet, though, that might suffice. Some people just love the look of the “We accept Bitcoin here” sign so you can probably add that option just for kicks.
You can specify the payment method in your advertisements so guests know what to expect.
Don’t forget to stock up on some change too!
9. Group similar items together.
Just because you’re hosting an informal moving garage sale doesn’t mean you should turn it into an Easter egg hunt of sorts.
Instead of strewing everything on the yard, arrange everything neatly in an appealing fashion, putting similar items together. Have a clothes section, books on a small shelf, jewelry on a felt mat, and so on.
You don’t have to be perfect in your layout, but remember there is a reason retail stores place so much emphasis on having an attractive display.
10. Plan the details.
When it comes to holding a moving sale, people appreciate the effort. Usually, it’s the subtle details that give any moving and garage sale some pomp.
Some moving sale tips you could borrow to this end, include:
- Playing soft music in the background to relax your clientele and remove the awkwardness of silence;
- Creating a warm inviting atmosphere by sprucing up the setting using stuff such as a welcome sign stand, a colorful string pennant banner, balloons, and so on;
- Making it easy for your guests to buy by having an extension cord to test appliances, a mirror to try out clothing, batteries for any powered gadgets or toys etc.;
- Providing snacks and refreshments (for sale);
- Having air fresheners on site to lift the vibe of the place;
- Facilitating check-out with spare change on hand, a calculator for quick calculations, packing paper to cushion fragile items, and bags to wrap the purchases;
- Organizing pickup of unsold merchandise by charities, most of whom will happily dispatch a truck to collect the donated items. Just make sure to schedule the pickup for after the moving sale to avoid inconveniences.
11. Keep safety top of mind.
As long as you’re inviting people to your premises or playing host, you need to prioritize safety.
That means locking your home and ensuring there are no health hazards on site that could pose a risk to people, children, and pets. Since you’re dealing with cash transactions, also avoid a cash box that might attract unscrupulous types.
Similarly, any valuable items that could be tempting to itchy fingers can be sold online instead; and again, opt for cash over other forms of payments.
12. Sell your items.
With everything in place, it’s time to host your moving sale. Start early to net the early birds, and have everything laid out in an appealing way as we discussed.
You should also make sure there is enough room for the guests to navigate through. While space might not be your most abundant resource depending on where you’re holding your move sale, it’s possible to set up in a way that makes the best of the space you’ve got.
In the event, the move-out sale fails to be the success you had envisioned, consider hosting a second-day sale. If you had hosted the sale on a Saturday, for example, you can absolutely redo it on a Sunday to attract the churchgoers. If the sale flopped due to multiple other moving sales being hosted on the same day, you also enjoy less competition by doing it the following day.
Consider throwing a 50% discount on everything, the aim being to get rid of as much merchandise as you can. What remains can always go to charity.
13. After the sale, remove the signs and online posts.
Don’t be that person who leaves their promotional materials active way after the event.
As much as this wasn’t a professional affair per se, it is best practice to take down all advertising material after completing your moving sale. It’s what conscious citizens do.
Take down all physical signs that you put up and do the same for your online campaign once you call it a wrap.
Moving is a time for new beginnings and it makes little sense to bring all the junk into your new home.
Hosting a moving sale can help you get rid of the clutter and move in lean, ready to start on a clean slate in your new place. You don’t have to be a sworn minimalist to host a move-out sale; if anything, it stands to benefit serial hoarders more.
You will appreciate the uncluttered space, your psyche will do with a good boost at a time when you most need it, and your wallet will thank you when all is said and done.