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One Man's Trash = Another Man's Treasure

Can you say, "Tag Sale?"

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it might be a good time to get rid of any hoarding tendencies that might have developed during the colder months and consider your own tag sale.  Our Queen of Organization has it down to a science.

Breathe. Sell. Count.  Sleep.


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Whether you call it a garage sale, house contents sale, yard sale, moving sale, rummage sale or tag sale, the goal is the same; to gather unwanted or unused items and sell them.  The process by which you do this is equally as important as the goal.  An organized tag sale will run smoother than an unorganized tag sale and you will be able to breathe calmly and sleep soundly from collecting the items to counting the proceeds.  BREATHE.  SELL.  COUNT. SLEEP.

Before you begin the process, here are a few questions to consider:

  1. Do you have the time to organize a tag sale by yourself?  If yes, read on, if no, you can hire a professional tag sale company.  Generally they charge a percentage of sales as their fee.
  2. Is the location of your home suitable for a tag sale?
  3. Does your neighborhood, town or Home Owners Association have any rules that pertain to having tag sales?
  4. Do you have liability coverage on your homeowner's policy should something happen to a shopper while that are on your property during the tag sale?

Gather and inventory items to be sold.  Gather gently used items that are in working condition and clean them in preparation for sale.  Sort like items together.  If you are collecting over a period time, label large bins and baskets to identify their contents.  This will also keep items that may have multiple parts or pieces together and not allow them to become lost or separated.  Make sure clothing is washed and folded neatly.  For electronic items or games that have smaller pieces, pack the items into labeled storage bags and use masking tape to keep everything together.

Price items according to what they sell for in your area.  Be realistic.  Visit other yard sales and see what items are being sold and at what price.  Use these factors as a guide in pricing your own tag sale items.  Keep a master list of all items you are selling; description and price.  If you are having a group tag sale involving goods from multiple sellers, use each person's initials on the price tag and master list to identify what profits belong to whom when you count up the total proceeds at the end of the sale. Use masking tape as a price tag.  It is cheap; a lot comes on one roll and removes easily.

Set the date for a weekend.  You are more apt to get more foot traffic on a weekend than during the week unless you live in a vacation spot, then you can choose almost any day.

Advertise!  The more people that visit your tag sale, the better the opportunity for you to sell items and make money.  The key is to get the word out.  Hang posters, place an ad in your local newspaper, hang signs in local stores (if they allow you to do so) and use social media.  Many newspapers have deadlines for when ads must be placed.  Make sure to check your local paper's guidelines.  Be as descriptive as possible in your advertising regardless of the method(s) used.  Tell what you are selling: furniture, baby goods, garden equipment, patio furniture, lamps, mirrors, toys and games, exercise equipment, musical equipment, antiques, jewelry, bicycles and other sporting goods, clothing, etc.  Try not to use the term "miscellaneous items."  Make sure to give the day, date, time and address for your tag sale.  On posters, make sure that what you write is VISIBLE to drivers, not just pedestrian traffic.  If your potential customers cannot see your posters, they WON'T come.  You may want to laminate posters so rain will not ruin your hard work.  Ask "friends" to post your tag sale on their Facebook or other social media sites.  You can also use websites such as Craigslist to advertise.

Enlist the help of friends to help organize a pre-tag sale (if you are allowing a select number of people to view and buy items before the announced sale date/time), and for the set-up, sale and clean up when it's over.  You will want extra "eyes" so that no items are stolen.  Make sure to keep your garage sale outside and lock your home.  You don't want anyone wandering off where they shouldn't be going.  Use folding tables and hanging garment racks to display items, and place like items together.  Entice buyers by placing "hot" items at the front of your display.  These will be the first items buyers will see.  Keep valuables in eyeshot to avoid theft.  For small inexpensive items set up a $5, $3, and $1 table.  As an added incentive to keep people at the sale and shopping, have light snacks and water on hand.  If you are not a good salesperson, like me, have one or more of your volunteers take on this role.  Try to have one location to use for checking out and paying for purchases.  Keep a running list of sold items - track by person selling and price if it is a group yard sale.  If you have enough helpers, have one person bag (keep lots of bags on hand for bagging) and call out the prices while the other person totals the purchase and deals with the exchange of monies.  Make sure you have a lot of small change on hand.

Finally, place a FREE BOX for people to rummage through on their way out, you never know; what is one man's trash is another man's treasure.   Remaining unsold items can be returned to their place in the home, donated to charity or thrown away.

And as for your earned money?  Well, for starters, you can think about buying yourself new linens or consider re-decorating your bedroom!