Too Much Stuff
Cost of Storage Units
How to Sell Used Furniture
No Garage Sale
We just moved from a four bedroom single family dwelling (approx. 2100 sq. ft.) into a 900 sq. ft. condo. We are in our late 50s and it is just the two of us. We rented a storage space for all those treasures and items we could not fit into the condo. We pay $220 per month. This is one check I hate to write.
There are items we wish to retain (keepsakes, etc.). But there are a number of items that we could sell at a garage sale. But we have no "garage" from which to sell. It is out of the question to take to a weekend swap meet, so we keep writing the check.
These items could probably generate a few thousand dollars, and we are not going to give them to a charity organization, etc. So next month, I will write another check for $220. Any solid suggestions?
Sell on eBay
My advice is to pick out the very best of the lot, sell those items on eBay, and then donate the rest. This will take time and effort, but anything worthwhile does take time and effort. Go to USPS online and order your boxes now (free!) along with packing tape and such. You will have to pay for packing materials, such as peanuts. If you have a shredder, start shredding every piece of junk mail and newspaper you receive. There is a really good site that keeps track of your eBay auctions, holds your photos, and makes your ads for only $4.95 per month (another steal!) called Spare Dollar.
Cindy in Georgia
5-year eBay vet
Have a Private Sale
My suggestion is to have a "private indoor garage sale." Since this couple only has 900 sq. ft., ample space is an issue. Therefore, have an exclusive, private indoor sale with friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Limit your attendance to 10 to 12 people for certain time frames, such as 9 am to 11am and 3pm to 5pm. The time gap will give you time to re-merchandise items that haven't been sold. You can have a five day garage sale or do it all in one day. At least, you'll have an opportunity to profit from most of your items.
List in Free Classifieds
Advertise these items in a neighborhood newspaper or on the bulletin board of a local store. Sometimes free newspapers, like the Reader, will let you run ads for free.
Consign to Auction House
Faced with a similar situation, my husband and I decided that the best way to get rid of the cost and inconvenience of storage, as well as things we had "stuffed" into the smaller house, was to consign our items to auction. The auction house sent a team of people to pack up and move the items from the house as well as the storage. For a fair percentage of the total sale, everything was done for us. Individual items often don't sell at expected prices at auction, but others can be very exciting. I had an old brass planter that I bought for $40 at an auction only three years before our move. It sold at auction for $350. In all, we avoided the hassles of a garage sale, got rid of a storage fee, made space in the house, and made a fine profit. I have one caution. Most auction dealers will offer to purchase your goods outright. My experience is that the price they quote will be quite a bit lower than what you could make by consigning. It was worth the risk for us.
Join Up with Family
Is it possible to team up with family who has a garage? I've seen plenty of multi-family garage sales. You'd still have to transport the items from your storage area to the garage of the other family, but maybe if you shared some of the profits with them, they'd be willing to move it for you. The $220/month ($2,640/year) you'd save would be well worth it!
Give to Charity
This reader stated that they were not going to give their items to a charity because they were worth money. Yet, they continue to pay $220 a month to store these items that they don't want to keep! I'd suggest giving them to a charity that would greatly benefit from them. This not only alleviates the $220 burden each month, but they would also receive a tax deduction and bless the lives of those less fortunate.
Use Condo's Community Room
I am sure his new condo has a community room, which is used for many purposes. Perhaps tenants are allowed to have an indoor "flea market" in this room. There must be other tenants with items to sell.
Sell All at One Time
Look in the yard sale section of the papers. Don't forget the free papers you pick up at the grocery store. You are looking for a classified ad or perhaps a box ad in the same section that says something similar to "will buy your garage sale before you have it." This person will be buying to sell at his sale, so you won't get top dollar. However, you can get rid of everything at once. They will haul it away, and you don't have the expense of advertising, booth fees, etc.
The reader said that a garage sale would net several thousand dollars. Well, writing that check for just 10 months will cost over two thousand dollars! If you have no garage, please reconsider donating your treasures to charity. Someone probably has an immediate use for your treasures.
Alternatively, see if you can put items on sale at a local consignment shop or check out putting items for sale on eBay. Don't delay! Your storage fees will eat very quickly into whatever money you make by selling items.
Putting excess stuff in storage is rarely a frugal idea. By the time you spend money on all the storage fees, you could probably replace the item new at some later date. Pick the nicest things from the storage facility and display or use them proudly. Let go of the rest.
Take a look at how to reduce clutter at getorganizednow.com. Remember the good times and good memories won't disappear if you get rid of a few physical objects. You'll always have those memories in the very best storage facility ever invented - inside your heart.
Laurie from Santa Monica
Contact Your Local Radio Station
Our local radio station has a show every Saturday called "Swap Shop." It's free advertising! Callers are limited to three items per week, and you state your item, your price, and your phone number. Having a phone with the "redial" feature helps here because of the popularity of this show. I usually get through to the station to air my items within 15 minutes.
There's a buyer for everything! It just takes the right person at the right time! At my first garage sale, the people who owned our home before us left a tailgate to a pickup truck in the rafters of the garage. Believe it or not, I sold it at my sale! It really was free money for me!
I have found a great website at craigslist.com. It offers free advertising, and this site lists ads nation wide. A lot of people post their items here.
Have a Storage Unit Sale
I have been to many "garage sales" held at storage facilities. Just open the door and pull a few large items out. Use some tables to display smaller items. Check with your facility to see if this is an option.