Downsizing? 16 Tips For Hosting Your Own Moving Sale – The Good Moving Sale


If you are downsizing to a smaller home, you will undoubtedly have tons of stuff you are leaving behind. We sure did! One great way to earn extra money for your move is to host your own Moving/Estate Sale. Now, I’m not talking about a simple garage sale. I’m talking about a huge Moving/Estate sale – people in your home, going through your closets. Yeah…that kind of sale.

After all, what you can’t take with you, you may have to pay for to have hauled away. (Today many charities will not even enter a home to pick up furniture or goods.)

Hiring an estate sale company to organize and run your sale can be costly. At first, I thought this was going to be our only option. But after lots of research, and speaking to many estate sale company owners, I realized we could do it on our own. And so we did!

My main concern was that we could not move large items, since my husband had recent back surgery. So, how were customers going to get items out of the house? But I soon learned that most estate sale companies will not coordinate moving of items after the sale anyway. They also will not participate in moving items out during the sale, for fear of being sued. So if they were not helping with this, did I really need them?

Some well-connected companies may bring in their loyal followers … but it simply did not make sense for us financially. Some of these companies take up to 33% of profits, and even have hefty minimums. If you know how to price items, and don’t mind the work, you can do it all yourself.

What I want to write about here are my tips for having a safe and manageable Moving/Estate Sale. These were my main concerns, and quite possibly yours.

Here are 16 important tips on how to have a safe and profitable Moving/Estate Sale.

  1. Check With Your Home Insurance Company. Make sure that your home insurance policy will cover any injury that occurs in your home during the sale. If it does not, you simply may be risking too much by having the sale. Having a lot of strangers roaming through your home, up and down stairs, can be a risky proposition.
  2. Set A Clear Path For Buyers. Make sure that all pathways are clear, and have lots of directional signs leading the way. Point out starts of stairs, or single steps. Good lighting is a must, as well.
  3. Have Items In Their Proper Locations. Try to display sale items in the room in which they would be normally found. Dishes on the kitchen table or center island. Clothing in the bedroom.
  4. Make Some Rooms Off-Limits. Seal off rooms that you simply do not feel good about having strangers in. Our main bedroom was sealed off. So were our bathrooms.
  5. Keep Important Items Safely Packed Away. Make sure all medicines, jewelry, expensive not-for-sale decorative items, are safely packed away. You may even do well to move them to your car trunk or a friend’s home during the sale.
  6. How To Hold The Sale While Still Living In Your Home. Having the Moving/Estate Sale while you still live in the home can be tricky, but quite doable. And sometimes you simply have no choice; If this is the case, don’t let it stop you. Simply have the sale after you have packed up most of the items you are taking with you. Take these sealed boxes and bins and put them in a corner of one or two designated rooms. Then put “Do Not Cross” tape in front of and around the bins so people will know to stay away, and will not trip over them or even enter that area of the room. Try to have these areas consolidated into areas in just one or two rooms.
  7. Purchase Safety Tape and Use It! “Do Not Cross”/”Caution” tape can be purchased at hardware stores. We purchased ours at Home Depot. You can use “Do Not Cross” tape to close off entire rooms by putting it across doors. We also used it to close off some closets, and cupboards in the kitchen. Wrap the tape around door handles as well, and secure to walls. Make it difficult to ignore. We had a cat in one room so a chime went on the door as well, for extra security.
  8. Clearly Mark “Not For Sale” Items. If you have furniture or large items that you are taking with you, put bright “Not For Sale” stickers on each item.
  9. Hold a Garage Sale At The Same Time. You can put all inexpensive “garage sale” items in your garage. A great way to sell Halloween items and seasonal goods. However, close off the garage so it can only be exited by going through your main entrance/exit by your front door.
  10. Have One Check Out Area. Have 2 checkout people at your main entrance at all times. All money is collected here.
  11. Accept cash only. Offer to hold an item for 30 minutes while your customer runs out to the nearest cash machine; offer directions.
  12. You Bought It, You Move It. Let potential buyers know that they are responsible for moving the item out of your home. You cannot help. If you are carrying an item with them, and it slips out of their hands and breaks — or they become injured — you may be blamed for the mishap.
  13. Have An After-Sale Pick-Up Period That Is Convenient For All. Let buyers know that they will have 5 days to come to your home with a mover to take away their purchase, if necessary. However, all Items need to be paid for at the time of sale.
  14. Enlist Friends To Help Out. Have friends constantly patrol your home; at least one on each floor, including the basement / garage. Be sure to have coffee, donuts, and lunch on hand for helpers.
  15. Promote Moving/Estate Sale Extensively. Promote your sale with signs, online on estate sale and garage sale sites, and in one or several newspapers.
  16. Have a Two or Three-Day Sale. Make your sale at least two days long. You will put a lot of work into preparations, so give it at least two days. Ours ran on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The evening before the last day – and no sooner — put out new bold signs and info online advertising 50% off all items for the last day.

Our Moving/Estate sale went quite well. However, my husband did have some costly memory stolen out of his computer in our den. The moral for now is: Make sure all items not for sale are safely packed away, and patrol each floor constantly.

Do you have favorite Moving/Estate sale tips, or experiences? Please post them in our comments section!

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