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Making the decision to move is a big one, and it comes with a lot to think about and do. It helps to be organized, but when you have acquired a lot of possessions, that can be easier said than done. For many seniors, making a move after retirement means downsizing to a smaller home, which necessitates going through the entire house to pare down all those belongings. So what do you do with the things you don’t want to take to the new home?

Having a yard or garage sale is one of the best ways to get rid of unwanted items, in part because you can make extra money for the move at the same time. It can be quite a bit of work, but with the right amount of planning and some help from loved ones, you can make your yard sale a success. Here are some tips on how to get started, and how to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Plan ahead

Depending on where you live, the weather forecast may be crucial to planning your yard sale. Look to see what the temperature will be like over the next several weekends and whether rain will be a factor; the ideal yard sale day will be cool but sunny in the morning, because that’s when most of your customers will be out and about. Contact your local government to find out if you need a permit, as well. Many cities don’t require one for a small sale, but it’s best to make sure well ahead of time.

Let everyone know

A successful yard sale starts with lots of customers, so make plenty of brightly-colored, bold signs to hang around your neighborhood that clearly list the date, time, and address. If you don’t live in a big neighborhood, consider making some smaller signs to hang up in the community section of a local grocery store.

Start the downsizing process

Going through your belongings to decide what to put into the sale can be a big, emotional process, so be sure you have friends or loved ones with you when you begin. Start in one room and work your way out to prevent becoming overwhelmed or anxious; don’t feel pressured to include anything you aren’t ready to part with; instead, consider renting a storage unit temporarily until you can decide what to do with those things, or ask family members if they’re interested in taking them off your hands. Sometimes it’s helpful to know that a particular sentimental item is going to a good home.

Pricing and setup

If you haven’t been to many yard sales, keep in mind that most people who shop them are looking for great deals, so you can’t give items retail-like prices and expect them to sell. Also keep in mind that many experienced yard-salers like to haggle, so you can mark up the price a tiny bit and still get what you want out of it. A good starting point is to price items of clothing at a dollar apiece, while things like good candlesticks can probably go for as much as five dollars. Use your best judgement and be open to negotiation.

Setup should essentially take place the night before; if possible, put everything on racks and tables in your garage so they’re ready to be rolled out quickly early the next morning. People on the hunt for yard sales usually start around 7 a.m. in many places, so it will help to have everything ready to go, including cash to make change with.

Remember to ask for help when you need it from friends and family; downsizing is an emotional process and it can be difficult to watch your belongings being sold. Keep in mind that it’s for the best, and that moving day will go a lot more smoothly.

Article provided by Gene Ramsey from


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