One of the best ways to purge the clutter from your home is to have a yard sale or garage sale. Unfortunately, you can’t always have one when you want to. Imagine trying to hold a yard sale in the middle of a winter snowstorm – it’s not happening! You may also find that your homeowner’s association or lease agreement prohibits having a garage sale in your neighborhood or apartment complex. My wife and I fell into the latter category prior to moving a few years ago.
We put our home on the market and wanted to clear out some clutter before moving, but our homeowner’s association prohibited individual yard sales (they held community yard sales in the past, but they were not common).
So we had to resort to other means to clear some clutter and make some cash! All of the below methods are great ways to earn some money when you can’t have a yard sale.
What To Do When You Can’t Have a Garage Sale
If you find yourself needing to clear out some space, but you can’t have a yard sale, then try some of the following tips. Most will help you clear some space, and some will even put some money back in your pocket.
One method of downsizing when you can’t have a garage sale is to list your items for sale online. You can take advantage of traffic to popular auction websites and classified listing sites like Facebook Marketplace, eBay.com, and Craigslist.org. For the best results, list each item individually and include a written description as well as a photograph that clearly shows what the item is and it’s condition.
Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are generally best for items you want to sell quickly or that are too large to ship easily or inexpensively. Ebay, on the other hand, is great for selling higher-priced items that are relatively easily shipped.
Facebook and Craigslist don’t take any cut of your sale, whereas Ebay takes a commission. But it can be worth giving up some of your revenue to Ebay to help facilitate a deal that you otherwise may not have been able to get.
There are other great places to sell online, such as Decluttr (great for selling electronics), Amazon, online book stores, and other stores that take in electronics, movies, books, and more.
Most everything you might sell in a garage sale or online could also be donated to a variety of charity organizations. Ask your local churches and shelters if they have a need for the items you no longer need. The Salvation Army and Goodwill both take a variety of items, including clothing, furniture, and household items. The Salvation Army and some other organizations will also pick up large pieces of furniture or other items if you schedule in advance.
You can also check with your local schools, youth organizations, and other groups to see if they accept donations of lightly used goods.
Quick note: it’s a good idea to do a background check on charitable organizations before making donations.
Many items you would consider selling in a garage sale, online, or donating to a charity would also make good gifts. Do you have slightly worn furniture? Hang a notice at your local college and see if anyone needs it – give it to whoever can come and take it off your hands. Ask around if your friends or family need anything that you’re looking to get rid of, you could be doing someone a huge favor by giving them the item(s) that you no longer need.
Sometimes people try to sell things in garage sales or through auction sites that are simply in no condition to sell. The same goes for giving things away to friends or charities – if the items are in poor condition, you may just need to throw it away to get rid of it. Check with your own garbage pick up service to see if the items you have can be tossed in the trash; and if not, you may need to take it to the dump and pay a fee to get rid of it.
Sometimes you have items that are too nice to throw away but are not easy to sell online (anything that would cost too much to ship, for example). If you can’t find someone to give them to or charitable organizations aren’t interested, then you can consider renting temporary storage until you are able to have a garage sale. You can keep items in a storage facility or in your basement or attic space until the weather is warm enough for a garage sale.
We used a temporary storage unit prior to selling our home. This allowed us to better stage our home for selling, but didn’t require us to get rid of the things we were going to use in our new home. Just remember – short term storage should be a temporary solution. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a year to store things indefinitely. It’s not uncommon for some people to spend more money on storage than their items are worth!
Sell items on Consignment
When most people think about selling items on consignment, they think of clothing, and maybe furniture. But there are many other items that can be sold on consignment, including tools, musical instruments, machinery, vehicles, and some other items. Check your local phone book and call ahead to see which items they might be interested in (many stores only carry seasonal items, especially for items such as clothing).
Get creative and combine these
My wife and I have sold a few items on Craigslist, donated some to church and Goodwill, and have made gifts of quite a few items. We also got a temporary storage unit to clear some of the clutter for staging our home.