If you like money and dislike messes, read on. Chances are high that planning a yard sale is not one of your favorite things to do, but if you are looking for a fast way to unload items and make some extra money, this is one way to go. Start by searching through your belongings for things that you no longer want or need (also known as clutter). Clutter comes into your space as gifts, hand-me-downs, bad purchases or freebies, and the only way to combat the mess is to continuously remove the excess or block them from coming in at all. Instead of wondering if you are “allowed” to part with these things, ditch the items that do not have an impact on you or your family in your current lifestyle and make room for what does.
The key to success in any organizing task is to break the project into smaller tasks that can be completed over time. That means if you do not have a day off or a weekend to devote to de-cluttering you can still do a little bit each day to get closer to your goal of having less stuff in the long run. Simply decide how much time you will spend on the first try and choose a small area to start with. You might say you want to spend 15 minutes looking at the linen closet or other spare closet. Take that time to look through the contents and pull out everything you are willing to part with. Maybe look at the larger items first and then work your way down to smaller items. In this case that would mean looking at the comforters, sheet sets, or bath towels and leaving wash cloths, shower rings, or miscellaneous items for later. Anything that you see is extra, unnecessary, outdated, overused, or inappropriate can go. Whether you give it away, throw it away, or sell it, remove an item as soon as you decide you do not want it. Only consider the items that belong to you so that you are able to make the final decision. If you find things that belong to someone else, make a mental note to ask them about it later.
Remember you are not looking for things that would be “nice to sell” or things that “someone else might want”; instead, you are deciding what you love, want, or need and removing all of the rest. You should also understand that there is a distinction between the things that you do not want anymore versus the things that are sellable. Make sure to remove anything that is damaged, stained, overused or missing parts to avoid lowering the quality of your sale, unless they are antiques or collectables that might still be worth something. You might see after 15 minutes that you are willing to continue working or you might stop and return to the same closet at another time. In either case, you will eventually finish this closet and move on to another closet or area of the house until you feel confident that all of your clutter has been removed. Even if you only pull 5 things from each room and leave it at that, it could amount to 10, 15, 20, or 25 items that are heading to a new home and out of your hair.
Take everything you have identified as potential sale items and set them aside in one space of the house, such as a garage or spare room, where you start collecting everything. Consider keeping a yard sale or donation bag somewhere in your home 365 days a year.
That way the second that you find something that you want to purge you can set it in that bag and have it out of your way for good. Once your collection grows to enough things to fill a few tables, start planning for a yard sale.
Be on the lookout for the second part of this article that will offer tips for planning before, during and after your sale to ensure that your efforts are worthwhile.
Tatiana Knight is a Miami-based Professional Organizer who helps clients regain control over their possessions. She founded “Neat with Knight” and currently serves as the Director of Marketing for the National Association of Professional Organizers in South Florida.
For more information visit www.neatwithknight.com.