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Preparing for a Successful Yard Sale, and for Our Big Move!

by | Musings

Yup, you read that title right.  I teased everyone a week or so ago that I had some big news.  Was it only a week ago?  The days are blurring into each other now…  Well, yes, the big news.  We’re moving cross-country to San Francisco!  We only found out a few weeks ago, and we’re leaving in a week and a half, so things are just a little itty bitty bit hectic around here right now.  So, that means I’ll need to take some time off from the blog so Drew and I can concentrate on cleaning and hosting a moving sale this weekend.  Since it’s summer, you might be thinking about having some sort of clean-out too, so I’m going to share some of my personal tips on preparing for a successful yard sale.  You know, because I’m awesome …and because that’ll be more fun than working on my final presentations and projects for class.   The yard sale part of this post is part of a Summer Fun Series being hosted by Nap-time Creations, the moving part is all me.

summer fun 7

Crochet Nautical Handbag by the Stitchin’ Mommy

Strawberry Shortcake by O Taste and See

Mini Greenhouse by Sugar Tart Crafts on Nap-Time Creations

Hop on over to Nap-Time Creations to enter TWO great giveaways…

First things first though.

In case y’all are wondering (yeah, I picked up a few accents from Haven), we’ll be moving into Silicon Valley, the hornet’s nest of the tech industry, because the hubster got himself a shiny new job.  And yes, I’m heartbroken about leaving my craft room, but maybe we’ll find a place that has some room so I can carve out another little niche for myself.

Since I am up to my eyeballs in classwork, cleaning supplies and kids’ toys, I will also be taking a short hiatus from the blog.  I just can’t keep up with quality posts on a regular basis when I can barely remember where I put my camera each day.  And if I grab a Sharpie or a ball of yarn for a project, I will most likely lose it before the day is out because everything is coming off the shelves as we sort and organize, and we are coming to the full realization that we have A TON OF STUFF.  Case in point, I lost my house keys for almost a week.  I wasn’t sure if I packed them for Haven, or if it was on my dresser or misplaced when I switched purses.  Speaking of which…where’s my purse?  You get the picture?  Holy mess and stressballs, Batman.

This means that I’ll be sticking to the blog commitments I made before we found out we were moving, but otherwise, I’m not putting up any new posts.  I will also be taking a break from The Project Stash, our weekly link party, but you can still go and link up here and here.  Once we get settled in temporary housing in California, I’ll start writing again, but because the bulk of our things will be storage, I imagine I’ll be spending some time recapping our cross-country drive.  Oh yeah, we’re driving, just because we’re not crazy enough.  So ideally, you’ll live our trip with us.  If not, you’ll re-live our trip once we arrive!


Second things second.

A yard sale, a yard sale, a moving sale, a yard sale.  I’d also call it a garage sale, except our garage is unattached and out back so no one ever sees our garage.  Oh yeah, that reminds me, I might actually do a house tour of the house we’re leaving.  Maybe.  Ok, back to the yard/moving sale.  Since the sale itself hasn’t happened yet, I don’t have any pictures of it, but we’ve been cleaning and I’d like to share some of tips I’ve learned from experience.

Practical Tips for Preparing a Successful Yard Sale

1.  It doesn’t come back in the house.  This is a psychological thing.  If you look at an item, the first decision to make is whether to keep it or let it go.  Don’t feel guilty about wanting to keep something for sentimental reasons, but I guess Tip 1a would be to “be ruthless”.   If you’re going to keep something, keep it and love it.  Otherwise, let it go and don’t let it back into the house.  None of this last minute sneaking of things back into the house!  Don’t worry, we all do it, but I’m telling you to try not to!

2.  Sell, donate, throw out.  Or rather: ship, sell, donate, throw out, depending on your situation.  Now that you’ve decided to let something go, decide in what manner.  Create 3 (or 4) separate piles for things you’ll sell at the sale, things you’ll donate and things you’ll throw out.   You’ll get a good feel for how many price tags and tables you’ll need, as well as if you’ll need a junk removal service or just big contractor trash bags to start throwing things out in the weekly garbage.   I like to try to sell everything and then donate what I don’t sell – see Tip #1.

3.  While you’re going through your things, keep bins in each room.  Some people say you should be sorting throughout the year, but realistically, don’t we all just save it until the last minute anyways?  Well, maybe it’s just me.  But to save me the trouble of running up and down 3 flights of stairs all the time, I leave plastic bins on each floor or each room to hold things that I want to get rid of.  Then it’s one trip to the basement where all the cataloguing magic will happen.  This is similar to my normal decluttering scheme, since we’re decluttering on a larger scale now.

4.  Clean things off.  I walk around with an apron filled with paper towels, Swiffer wipes and a spray bottle of water.  Before I set an item into a bin, I’ll wipe it down.  People like buying things that look good, right?  Would you buy a dusty cobwebbed vacuum cleaner, or a shiny clean one?  Perception, people.  Perception is reality.

5.  Pricing is key.  I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this but I do know that pricing is key.  You want to price it low enough to sell, but you don’t necessarily want to give it away either, you know?  You bought it with good money!   I say price it at what you would buy it at, but I don’t tend to bargain…which brings me to my next point.

6.  It’s ok to say no.  I have a big problem for buyers who come and offer ridiculously low prices for perfectly decent stuff.  Hello!  I bought it with good money!  I don’t abuse my things!  If it wasn’t in good shape, it wouldn’t be here.  Remember Tip #2?  It would be have been thrown out.  So please, don’t offer me a buck when the tag says $10, ok?  But if it does happen to you, you can say no.  Or rather, you can politely decline and ask that they come back later in the day.  If it hasn’t sold by then, then you’d be more open to … negotiation.   This is a big eye opener for me because I always feel like I need to accept whatever I’m offered just so I can get rid of it, even if I then feel jipped at my own sale.  But no more!  Now I know I can redirect the inquiries.

7.  Make it easy to shop.  If you’re selling baby clothes, sort them first!  I still remember a sale I went to where the clothes were separated by size and folded in bins.  I only needed to check one bin for the size I was looking for and I was out of there with exactly what I needed.  I also remember driving past a sale I was interested in because ALL of the clothes was jumbled in a huge pile on a tarp in the front yard.  Just the thought of having to dig through the mountain of stuff gave me chills.  No one’s got time for that!   So, separate, sort, display nicely.  You’re a shop now, remember.

8.  Space out the letters on your advertising signs.  I know, this one is a little weird, but it’s something I learned because I didn’t.  I made a sign to direct people to my yard sale and I wanted the letters to be large.  I used a stencil and because the letters were large, I ended up squeezing the letters together to get them to fit.  When I drove by my own sign later, I seriously regretted that decision because it was nearly illegible!  Well-spaced letters are easier to read at fair distances even if they’re smaller in height.  Yes, we’re getting into typography now, so what?   I think keeping the lettering wide and open seems more inviting too, but that’s just me.


Have a great summer!

So, that’s that!  I should get back to doing homework and sorting through my oodles and oodles of things, but I hope you’ll stick around with me so I’m not completely all by my lonesome when I finish the move and get back to the blog.  I can’t wait to document our trip for you too – partly because it’ll hopefully be a fun and interesting read, and partly because it means we’ll be on our way!  I just keep telling myself to breathe…


What to Read Next!

Here’s more from Emily’s Summer Fun series:

summer fun 6

DIY Dippin’ Dot tutorial by Nap-Time Creations

Decorated Shoe Laces by A Girl and a Glue Gun on Nap-Time Creations

Chocolate Salted Caramel and Peanut Snickers Cupcakes with the Crafting Foodie

Busy Binder with Printable Road Trip Games by Cutesy Crafts


  1. Emily

    I super appreciate you sharing this during your crazy busy life… such a great post.. I’ve pinned it so when we move I can use these awesome tips!!

  2. Rachel

    Wow, now that is a SERIOUS move! How exciting! Good luck with getting everything ready.

  3. mrs vee makes

    Best of luck on your move! So exciting:) Will continue to watch for your new ideas and hearing about your move!

  4. Jennifer @ Brave New Home

    We’re having a yard sale on Saturday. It’s a we-just-moved sale 😛 We couldn’t have a yard sale in our condo so unfortunately we hauled everything to our new house. The one thing that struck me out of all your tips (and the one I really need to get the husband on board with) is that nothing comes back in the house. Whatever we don’t sell, I’m immediately taking to a donation center.

    And welcome to CA! You’re gonna love it here : ] Have a safe drive.

  5. Melanie

    Good luck on the move! Wish you were coming down this way!!

  6. ChiWei

    Thanks Melanie! I think a move in your direction would have been a lot easier 🙂

  7. ChiWei

    You know, we had considered that because we are just so darn swamped right now. But moving all that extra stuff across the country wasn’t very environmentally conscious, so we decided to just empty things out here, while we still had a yard. And friends and family to help out! And yes, it was nice to just bag up whatever was left and take to the library/shelter, etc. Made me feel like we actually accomplished something! You’re in LA right? So, still a bit far from us, but I’ve heard so many great things about CA!

  8. ChiWei

    Thank you! I’ll try my best to document the trip and post whenever I get wifi on the road!

  9. ChiWei

    Thanks Rachel! We can use all the luck we can get 🙂

  10. ChiWei

    No problem Emily! I bet moving overseas is even harder 🙂

  11. The Bean Sprout Notes

    Woohoo for the hubster’s new job! What an exciting (and stressful) time for your family!

  12. Raquel

    Welcome to California! love Northern California and am there often. In fact, I am flying out today for BlogHer. I cannot wait to see how you organize your new place, your craft room was amazing! Good luck on the move!

  13. Tara

    Those are great tips, ChiWei! I will admit – I’m the bargainer at the garage sale. I don’t low-ball (I don’t think), but I never want to pay sticker price. That being said, when we had our garage sale, we priced everything in a “take it AWAY” format. I didn’t want to be hauling anything back into the house.

    I wish you so much luck with the move and all of your adventures. I can’t wait to read about them!

  14. ChiWei

    Thanks Tara! You know, I bargain too, but just to a point. Especially because I know most people do price things to move anyways. But we did well at the end of the day 🙂

  15. ChiWei

    Thanks so much Raquel!

  16. ChiWei

    Stressful doesn’t even come close! But it definitely is exciting! Thank you!

  17. Andrea Stoner

    Thanks for sharing this even when you’re busy. These tips would be a great help. Good luck on the move.

  18. ChiWei

    Thank you Andrea!

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