Promoting Your Sale

There’s an art to setting up a successful moving sale. You want to draw in lots of folks, have ample parking, and simultaneously enable people to buy easily and discourage theft. So here are some ideas for your Smart Moving Sale:

  • Move your own cars down the block or otherwise out of the way to allow for ample parking.
  • Save or gather plastic and paper bags and a few boxes for shoppers’ convenience. It will help people select and carry more items. And you don’t want to move all those empty bags you’ve saved anyway.
  • Decide where you will hold your sale. More people will stop at your sale if items are clearly visible from the street. If you have large furniture to sell, you can leave it in the house/apartment and have one of your co-inhabitants stationed inside to help.
  • Clearly price all items to be sold. Remember that buyers will probably want to negotiate a lower price than you set. If your sale involves more than one family, color code, initial, or otherwise mark each item so that proper credit is given.
  • Be sure that items not to be sold are clearly separated from sale items. Make sure the cashier knows what is NOT for sale. Otherwise, Pop’s favorite fishing rod may become someone else’s favorite.
  • Group like items together with signs designating categories, such as “infant clothing” or “games.”
  • Offer a table of giveaways to draw people and make the sale look busier to passersby.
  • If possible, hang clothing for best display. Make sure they are hung on something sturdy or they will soon be on the ground.

How can you get help for your moving sale? Ask for it. Sometimes there’s a neighbor or coworker who owes you a favor. Or someone else who will do anything to help get you out of town faster. You may have to bribe kids with a percentage of the take, but it’s worth it to 1) get the help (however minimal), and 2) keep them busy.

Everyone in your moving group gets a job. Designate a greeter, a cashier, a bagger, and a carry-out person. The more people you have working the sale, the busier it looks to passersby—unless everyone is grouped in conversation.

If your sale is more than just a few hours long, have your help periodically trade off jobs. But make sure they pass on what they’ve learned so that everyone is working efficiently.


Here are some additional hints to help you get the most from your moving sale:

  • Some successful sales offer coffee, tea, ice-water, or lemonade to customers. It not only keeps customers longer, but they may feel more obligated to buy.
  • Make sure the cash box has plenty of change.
  • Never leave the cash box unattended.
  • If you accept local checks, get identification, including phone number and address.
  • Buy an inexpensive receipt book from a stationery store as some customers may want a receipt.
  • Consider using a notebook for writing purchases down, especially if you have more than one seller (such as children who have been offered the proceeds from any of their items sold).
  • If you’re selling electrical appliances, make sure you have an electrical outlet nearby or available so customers can test items.

As the sale progresses, cut prices. At the halfway point of your sale, consider slashing prices by 50 percent. For example, everything left after noon of a one-day sale or the second day of a two-day sale is marked down by half.

Or put two or three dollars worth of things in a bag, seal it and offer it for a buck. Some people love grab bags.

And add more items to your giveaway table. Don’t forget that your goal is not to get rich with a moving sale, but to reduce the bulk of items that you need to move. Finally, donate leftovers from your sale to your favorite charity. And make sure you get a receipt for tax purposes.

If at all possible, try to have fun at your moving sale! Involve everyone in your moving group. Make your sale day a social event in the neighborhood. Help your customers enjoy their time at your sale—and maybe they’ll feel sufficiently benevolent to buy your junk at ridiculous prices!

You still have stuff left over? Send it to the dump! If nobody else wants it—family, friends, customers, charities, recyclers—then put it out of its misery and get rid of it for good. Don’t pack it into a box and move it! Don’t think of these things as junk, but as fewer things you’re going to have to move yourself!

 Selling Stuff