a simple lifestyle blog

How to Downsize When You Can’t Have a Garage Sale

Throw some blank calendar pages in me because I am a planner through and through.

When we moved last year, I started organizing and planning for it months in advance. It was awesome.
By one month before our move, we were about 50% packed and I had lists for everything. Giddy with the excitement I only get from a big organizational project, I researched moving supplies and trucks, asked around for assistance and separated our remaining belongings into categories.

This time around, I have zero motivation, really. Not a thing has been packed or organized. No lists. No research.
Just us and a whole lot of stuff we have continued to accumulate and never give up.
We’re pack rats, you see.
I simply cannot resist a good bargain. Even on something I already have twelve of. Or would never in ten lifetimes find myself in need of.

This time around, I knew if I was going to be so behind in the planning process, I needed to at least heavily downsize our things so that we weren’t toting around a chock-a-block full 14-foot U-Haul plus about four other car-fulls of mostly useless stuff come moving day.
This is a complicated process when you live in a 600 sq ft upstairs apartment and do not have access to a driveway to host a garage sale.

The first and most simple (and simultaneously very complicated) answer is to ask around and see if a friend or family member is willing to give up their driveway for a weekend for you to host a garage sale. 
This may seem like a cheat answer given the title of this post, but sometimes, the easiest answers don’t always occur to us when we’re in crisis mode.
Also, hosting a garage sale at someone else’s home is no walk in the park. It requires even more planning and organization than if you were to just have one at your own house.
If the family whose driveway you are borrowing, for instance, wants to add stuff of their own to the sale, you should make sure all items are appropriately marked or that you have an inventory sheet outlining which things belong to who so, at the end of the day, it is clear where the earnings are being allocated.

Give Craigslist a try. Let me preface by saying that Craigslist has only very recently come back into my life as any sort of viable means of interaction with others online. I had been near-scammed for jobs on Craigslist twice years ago which henceforth incited my embargo on the whole kit and caboodle over the last 5 years. Recently, a number of friends have mentioned their success with the site, which prompted my reconciliation with the past and use of the site in attempting to downsize our belongings.
Some things to keep in mind:
1. Never EVER give out any personal information whatsoever on anything you post publicly. Utilize the site’s “CL mail relay” to have emails and inquires forwarded to your email through a private address.
2. Update and repost your items as they fall to the bottom of the day’s posts. The closer they are to the top of the heap, the more accessible they will be to people looking to buy.
3. If someone responds to your listing immediately with a vague “Is ‘it’ still available?” do not respond. That would be a scammer looking to hack your email account. If someone is truly interested they will name the item in question rather than just calling it “it.”
4. Set your price higher than what you are actually willing to part with it for. Craigslist is the kingdom of low-balling, so be prepared to haggle with the best of them.
5. Add photos to your listing. You will have a much greater chance of someone being interested in what your selling if you take the time to give them a visual aid. I mean, would you pay good money for something you’ve never laid eyes on from a person whose character you are unfamiliar with?
6. Most importantly, use common sense. Do not meet alone with someone on a darkened street corner. Keep it bright, keep it public, keep it safe.

Download the Offer Up app and go to town! We co-hosted a garage sale this weekend at my in-law’s house on their cul-de-sac that sees very little traffic. I am convinced it was my guardian angel herself who came to me at my low point this weekend after a 2-hour stretch of not a single soul perusing my precious treasures and told me to try Offer Up. You upload one photo (if you want multiple photos of one item, I suggest using PicStitch or InstaPicFrame, etc.) and put in a brief description, name your price and post away! Its like Craigslist, but streamlined and very user friendly.
The one thing I will say is that because it is a way of reaching out to people in a no hassle, no obligation forum, I would exercise caution before telling someone who is simply inquiring (or even insisting they will buy) that you will hold an item for them. In the end, I found some success with the larger items I took the time (which wasn’t much time at all) to post on Offer Up, but I did experience a number of dead end inquiries.
I was able to sell some big ticket items through Offer Up, which ended up making the whole experience completely worth it in my mind.

Let the packing fun commence!
Until next time, cheers!


8 comments on “How to Downsize When You Can’t Have a Garage Sale

  1. What a great article! For a while there, I was moving every year – HUGE pain in the butt!!! This would have really come in handy!


    • Truly Cozy
      July 13, 2015

      So far, that’s our story too. Every. Single. Year. Sheesh!


  2. Jenni Bost (@jennibost)
    July 13, 2015

    I hadn’t heard about Offer Up at all. We have thought about moving this year to be closer to my work and not deal with a crazy commute, but the whole idea of moving makes my hands itch. I would want to plan it through and through (love your first line by the by) and I know I just don’t have time now days. Good luck with your move!


    • Truly Cozy
      July 13, 2015

      Believe me, we are not generally excited to have to pack alllllll our stuff up and move either. So much work!! Thanks, Jenni!


  3. catherinemryan
    July 13, 2015

    Ugh, packing is the worst! Good luck!
    I’d never heard of Offer Up. It sounds like a great app.
    My rec: If you have something you think is valuable but don’t have an eBay presence, get someone who does to sell it for you. A friend of mine is selling a box of my sister’s collectible horses online for us for 30% of the selling price, and I’m SO GLAD to get that box out of our garage. I was this close to saying eff it and giving it all to Goodwill, but my friend found out one of the horses is probably worth at least $100. Woo!


    • Truly Cozy
      July 13, 2015

      Such a good tip, Catherine!! Now to find a friend who can handle all that EBay has going on… I’m going to keep this in mind though! 🙂


  4. Ali WIlkinson
    July 14, 2015

    I’ve never heard of Offer Up but sounds intriguing. Good luck with the move. Moving suuucks, no matter how much planning goes into it. But at least it will all be over soon!


  5. This is us right now. Lots o’craigslist!


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This entry was posted on July 13, 2015 by in moving and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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