By Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch
RISMEDIA, Oct. 19, 2007-(MarketWatch)-Is your home overrun with unwanted knickknacks, unplayed games and unworn clothes? Before you start chucking things, why not throw a garage sale? Garage sales are a fun, economical way to cut down on clutter. They can even net you some cash when they’re organized effectively.
Here are 10 tips for throwing a low-hassle, high-profit garage sale:
1. Ask neighbors to join in. When it comes to garage sales, the axiom “the more the merrier” holds true. So before going it alone, see if your neighbors are willing to participate. The more browse-worthy stuff on display at the sale, the easier it is to draw in buyers.
2. Timing is everything. Your sale will suffer if you hold it on the weekend of the “Big Game” or during a holiday when people tend to go out of town. Try scheduling your garage sale around the first and the fifteenth of the month when people generally get paid.
3. Select sales items carefully. It’s a good idea to choose seasonal items, like sunglasses and bathing suit wraps in the summer and wool sweaters and scarves in the fall. Whatever you’re trying to hawk, you have a much better chance of selling it if it’s clean, particularly when it comes to clothes.
4. Compare prices. Before setting prices, tour garage sales in the surrounding area to make sure your prices are competitive.
5. Group objects by type. To make your products appealing to the buyer, try organizing them according to type and displaying them on clean, sturdy surfaces. If you’re selling smaller items, like hair clips or costume jewelry, consider grouping them in plastic bags.
6. Play to your audience. Put children’s toys in boxes on the ground where they will be easily within reach; clothes will be most appealing when hung up according to size and style, as they are in stores; and items geared towards adults are likely to be noticed when placed on tables.
7. Tag everything. Garage-sale bargain hunters are hagglers by nature, but you don’t want to spend the entire sale arguing over a few bucks. To minimize confusion and discourage prolonged negotiations, put a suggested price on everything.
8. Stock up on change. Many things sold at garage sales hover in the $1 to $5 dollar range, so you’ll need to be equipped with plenty of small bills and change.
9. Have a plug at the ready. If you’re selling electronics like televisions, gaming systems or space heaters, be sure to provide potential buyers with a plug. They’ll want to test out products work before they buy.
10. Advertise. To drum up business, post eye-catching signs around the neighborhood and list your sale on free Web sites, such as Craigslist.org, Garagesalehunter.com, and Garagesalesource.com.
Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.