Trash to Treasure

Now that you have done your Spring Cleaning, it is time to plan for your tag sale.

It is not enough that you went through all your stuff and straightened and organized it; you now need to part with some, if not a lot, of it. Remember that it is just stuff. Most of it you don’t even get to look at it: it is hidden in boxes or buried behind other stuff. If you are still not convinced, remember what we call people who hold on to all their unused items: pack rats. Do you really want one of your epithets to include the word ‘rat’?

Alicia on ‘Planning for Success’

‘Plan the sale for when it makes the most sense. People generally get paid on the first and the fifteenth so pick a date very close to one of those. Most sales are in the summer because people have more flex-time due to the longer days. If you want to get a jump, try Memorial Day weekend (people tend to be a little freer with their spending on holidays). And subtract an hour or two from the start time. If you advertise 9 am, people will begin showing up at 7 or 8. So, if you really want to start at 9, advertise for 11.’

Sarah on ‘Not Getting Physical’

‘If the idea of hauling all your stuff out onto the lawn seems daunting, remember that your sale does not have to be a physical one anymore. Your real items can be sold in the virtual world. You can either sell them as individual items, package them together—like a boom box with an assortment of CD’s—or turn the whole thing into one big virtual sale. Craig’s List, for one, has a section specifically for this. Just remember to charge for shipping. And if this is a new concept for you, find a company like or friend or family member who has done it and let someone else guide you through the process.’

Here a few tips to help you through the process.

#1. Gaining Space
Set a limit to how much room will be dedicated to extra stuff. Balance is important in our lives and when you have gotten the usage out of items, like books or games or clothes, it is time to let others get some use out of them. Only 20% of the things you are holding on to have any real value; let go of the other 80%. And if you are thinking that many of these items have sentimental value, again, pick a few items that can represent your memories and let go of the rest

#2. The Buddy System
If the process seems intimidating, lean on a friend who can help you let go. It can feel like you are letting parts of your life go and that is difficult for all of us. What is important to remember is that letting go is a positive. Your life is in the future and to get there, you may need a friend to help you clear away the clutter of the past. Besides, your friend may be your first customer.

#3. Use a Yunk Box
Put stuff in a Yunk box and if you have not touched those items in six months, you don’t need them. The word ‘might’ can have a powerful influence: I might need or use that some day. The next thing you know, you are parking your car—which you actually do use everyday—in the driveway because the garage is filled with items you might use some day. The tail is now wagging the dog.

#4 For the Common Good
Let your sale help with the community. Schools, churches, and local organizations often have communal yard sales to raise money for charity. Rent a table at one that you care about and your unused items become directly responsible for giving back. This might also help you let of more stuff understanding that the more you give up, the more you are giving.

We are the co-founders of Buttoned Up, inc., a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed women get themselves organized (along with everybody else they’re responsible for too!). We welcome your thoughts!