In our culture of consumerism, it’s important to maximize the usefulness of your acquisitions. After all, buying something only to throw it away or not use it at all is impractical and wasteful. You can try to maximize your investment by lengthening the usefulness of your possessions. Maintenance and upcycling are great ways to squeeze value out of old stuff, but at some point, old items just stop being worth the condo space they take up. At that point, it’s time to learn how to prepare for a garage sale.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to get rid of stuff. Maybe your condo unit has gotten too cramped. Maybe you have to make room for a baby on the way. Or maybe you’re moving to a condo and want to minimize the stuff you’ll take to your new home. In any case, planning for a garage sale is a big step that you shouldn’t take lightly. Here are a few tips to help you out.
Start with the final objective
First, you need to think about what you really want to do. Are you trying to free up space to make your unit feel more comfortable? Are you expecting to buy new condo appliances that you have to make room for? Are you planning a new start somewhere else? Consider your objective in getting rid of stuff, and that will guide a lot of decisions down the road. If you don’t even care about making money from disposing of your old stuff, you can even consider just giving some of it away to charity. Throwing stuff away is ideally a last-resort option reserved for items that have absolutely no use left.
Take a ruthless inventory
Once you’ve decided on an objective, then you can take stock of your possessions. A useful guide you can follow is the 4S framework: strip, scrap, sort, and store.
Start by stripping all of your closets, drawers, and storage spaces, taking everything out. Then, separate out the items that you are comfortable getting rid of, putting them in the “scrap” pile—a useful rule of thumb, especially for clothing, is to get rid of anything that you’ve not used for at least six months. Afterwards, sort the things you’re not getting rid of, ideally clustering them based on which items you’ll use together. Finally, store away everything, putting the items for scrapping in cardboard boxes or garbage bags and the items for keeping in the proper storage spaces and containers. If you’re not living alone, it’s often a good idea to get all your housemates together so that you don’t end up throwing away anything too valuable.
At the end of this process, you should know exactly what items you’ll be putting up for sale and how much space you’ll potentially clear up. Of course, feel free to implement the 4S strategy regularly, even when you’re just figuring out ways to maximize a small condo space in general.
Figure out the where and when
Holding a condo garage sale involves more than gathering old items in a pile and putting up a big sign. Like any entrepreneurial venture, it takes planning; and two very important aspects of planning are location and scheduling.
In considering a location, you may choose to hold it in your condo itself, but that’s risky. Even if you consider your neighbors to be trustworthy, it’s still a good idea to restrict access to your living areas and make sure your valuables are locked away. A better idea is to hold it in a common area such as a function room. Many DMCI condo communities have public function rooms that you may consider renting for that purpose, but you’ll likely have to rent the space. You can defray the cost by spreading it: gather even a handful of other neighbors who also want to get rid of some stuff, and you can hold a group yard sale to split the rental cost. But of course, there’s no harm in asking your condo management if there’s a common space you can use for free.
As for scheduling, you have two basic questions to address: on what days will you hold the sale and at what times? Some recommend scheduling condo yard sales on payday weekends from Friday to Sunday, although holidays are usually a bad time, since a lot of people would be out of town. As for the time to hold the sale, it’s a good idea to cast a wide net. Be prepared to man the stall for the long haul, from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m., to give prospective customers maximum opportunity to peruse your wares.
Determine price ceilings and floors
In any informal sale setting, you should expect people to haggle. After all, this isn’t a real regular business, so naturally prospective customers would expect some flexibility. So one of the most important yard sale tips you should follow is on pricing your items.
Refer to your original sale objective as a guide: if your goal is to make some profit from this project, then you may want to assign costs in relation to the time you spend preparing for and managing the sale, the estimated value of each item you sell, any rental costs you have to pay for your selling space, and so on. Once you’ve added up all the costs, and you know the amount of profit you’re aiming for, then you can estimate the minimum amount of revenue you want from all the items you’d like to sell. From there, you can work out how low you can go, and how high you should aim.
Another approach you can use, especially if you’re not really looking to make a profit, is to start with the retail price of the items you’re selling. How much is a blouse sold for nowadays? What about pants, rubber shoes, belts, and old books? When you know the current retail price of each item, price your items below that, taking into account how old they are and how much wear and tear they have. A markdown of at least 50% is a good target to attract customers’ attention.
Promote the sale with condo connections
One advantage of living in a condo community is that you have a ready network to tap. When you invite your friends in the community to your yard sale, also consider asking them to share the event with their friends. Have a good relationship with the admin staff? You can try to ask for their help too, and maybe you can offer them some decent hand-me-downs as compensation for their trouble. If you have an online condo community group, like a Facebook group or a forum for residents, consider promoting your event there. But make sure to talk to any admins or moderators beforehand: otherwise, your post may end up getting deleted, and in the worst case, you might get suspended from the group. You can also consider setting up a social media account to advertise the items you’re selling, or just advertise the event on your own page.
Of course, you can put posters announcing the event on community bulletin boards in common areas or inside the elevators. The posters should tell people when the sale is, where it will be held, who’s holding it (along with the unit where you live, just for additional legitimacy), how much you’re selling your stuff for on average, and some of the most interesting items up for grabs. If you’re displaying any of your items on a public social media account, you should also advertise that. Going door-to-door to inform people is not advisable, though; one expected perk of condo living is the privilege of not being bothered for solicitations in your own home.
Be armed and ready for sale day
Finally, when the big day comes, you should be prepared to conduct sales in an organized manner. Make sure the items you want to sell most are prominently displayed. People want to save time, so you’ll want to make it easy for them by grouping items that go together, such as clothes, shoes, old gadgets, knickknacks, and books. Have a pen and paper handy to keep track of what’s been sold and for how much. You usually don’t expect too much traffic in yard sales, but regardless, it’s best to situate yourself in a strategic vantage point so that you can see all your merchandise at all times. You also want to have a lot of change handy so you can easily give buyers the change they need.
Bonus: Offer some snacks and coolers
Selling your secondhand stuff is challenging enough to organize. However, you actually can make a little more extra cash by selling snacks and refreshments. Have you got the baking skills to whip up some red velvet cookies, crinkles or brownies? Do you have a big beverage tower or drink dispenser where you can put some juice or iced tea? Or can you cook up some homemade salted egg chips? Even if you can’t cook to save your life, you can still consider buying some confections or candies from somewhere and reselling them for a small but reasonable profit. If you’re holding the sale during a special season, like Halloween or Christmas, then consider building your menu around that theme for kids (and kids at heart) to enjoy. Food and drinks are surefire staples in practically any selling setup, especially if you’re expecting customers to browse for a long time.
So there you have it: with these tips, you should have a pretty good idea on how to have a yard sale in a condo. It can be a lot of work, sure, but it’s worth it to have more space in your place. Of course, there are a lot of small condo space-saving ideas to let you free up some room without giving up your stuff. But when all else fails, just follow Elsa’s advice and let it go.