Garage sales are the ultimate way to turn excess stuff into extra cash without putting too much time or effort into the job. All you really need is a free weekend, a few tables, and some pricing stickers, and you’ll be ready to go. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a few challenges along the way. Homeowner’s associations and city ordinances may put your yard sale on hiatus or end any thoughts of running a yard sale entirely. Another issue to be dealt with is whether or not you actually have enough to make it worthwhile to run a sale. After all, your time has to be worth something.
The first thing you have to look into, but which is simple to do, is to determine whether your homeowner’s association puts any restrictions on yard sales in your neighborhood. Some particularly restrictive associations may only allow yard sales a certain week out of the year, preferring the look of a yearly “neighborhood” yard sale event than scattered yard sales through the year. If that’s the case, you can take solace in the fact that your sale will likely draw far more guests than it would by running one on your own. Of course, there are some associations out there who think that yard sales are tacky, and don’t allow them at all.
Next, you need to find out what you plan to sell. What stuff do you have that has outlived its usefulness? What do you have stuffed away in closets or storage units that you haven’t thought of or used in more than a year? A decade? Chances are good that you’ve got something in your home that you never use, but that you were under the impression you couldn’t live without at the time. This is the stuff that’s ripe for the selling. It isn’t always an easy call to make, though. Sometimes, the only stuff you can find that you don’t do anything with is the stuff that might have some sentimental value. You then have to ask yourself: “Do I really care that much and need this if it’s been stuffed into a box for the last 12 months?”
Pricing items is the next step. In order to get through the sale quickly, you can price everything a dime or a quarter, and chances are good you’ll sell out most stuff in an hour or so. Of course, that doesn’t really leave you much room for profit. Even if you’ve got a yard sale, when presumably you’re trying to get rid of junk, it’s important to get what your stuff is worth. Have an old Lane cedar chest? Price it accordingly. Have a collection of antique metal penny banks? Price them accordingly. Even clothes have to be priced according to what they’re worth. Since most people go to yard sales expecting to swing a deal, as long as you don’t have things marked too high, you can generally expect dealers to come and offer you a price for many items that isn’t too far below the asking price. As long as they think they’ll make a few bucks on reselling the stuff, you’ll usually get a good offer.
Taxes are another thing you’ll have to consider, though if you’re like anyone else, you don’t really want to. According to the IRS, income earned through a yard sale counts as taxable income, so technically, you are supposed to claim it under your taxes as miscellaneous income. Check with your tax advisor to determine your status with regards to taxes and your yard sale. After all this is taken into consideration, you’ll be all set to buy your signs, get set up, and run your yard sale!