Upstairs Downstairs Idea - $600 Later

Spring is in the air
Time for spring cleaning and sprucing up! We’ve been power-washing the back patio and furniture, filling pots with flowers, pulling out the charcoal BBQ, getting the beds in shape (new bark!), planting the garden, and overall – freshening up our home!

I woke up inspired one day last week. I wanted something new and different in my home, but I’m trying to stay away from stores and spending money. What I thought would be a relaxing Saturday suddenly turned into a spring-cleaning day for my family, as I came up with this great idea - moving my upstairs furniture down, and my downstairs furniture up!

My kids helped me out, and from there, it had a spiral effect. They started cleaning through their rooms. The Goodwill trip that we thought we’d have that day turned into a discussion on having a garage sale, inspired by my children! I called my friend, she agreed that her family would be a part of it, we set the date, and then we made it happen!

What does this have to do with the Reluctant Entertainer, you might ask?
I think many times we get so bogged down with junk. Too much stuff and stacks lying around (I’m guilty – in my bedroom!) Even my kids have felt this heaviness, so I didn’t even have to ask them to purge their rooms. After cleaning through our house, attic, and shed and hosting our sale - we walked away with over $600.

We get so overwhelmed with not only busyness in life, but by the amount of stuff we have. Then we start thinking that our house is not quite right for entertaining. Perfection robs us again!

Tip on Setting the Date & Time
I’ve had so many sales over the years. I’ve learned early spring or late fall works the best and brings the most foot traffic. I also look at the calendar and rule out any parade days, holidays or soccer tournaments in our town (we always have soccer stuff galore at our sales!). Always start at 8 am and close up around 1. It’s not worth it to hang out for 3 extra hours to make a whoppin’ $10. My time is valuable!

With years of garage sale experience, and as I’ve thinned through my entire house, I’ve found myself using these guidelines to help me purge and to keep me on track when it comes to the sale. Remember, keep it simple! Your goal should be to get rid of stuff, not to become rich!

If you haven’t used it, cooked with it, worn it, read it, displayed it in the last year, get rid of it.

One Touch Rule!
I used to spend way too much time folding, preparing, pricing items ahead of time. Find a place where you can stack your items in your house or garage. Once you put them there, don’t go through your stuff again, until it’s time to put out on tables!

Pricing is Unnecessary!
Contrary to some articles I’ve read, and especially for busy moms like you and me, pricing each item is really unnecessary! If people want to buy it, they’ll ask how much! Our sale was living proof!

Sign Option!
You can make up posters that say: 50 cents shorts & shirts, $1.00 pants, $3.00 dresses, etc., for each table.

Grab a long pole and put between ladders and hang your clothes (hangers at Dollar Store). Keep like items on separate tables. IE, clothes, household, decorating, etc.

I put an ad in the paper, put the sale on Craig’s List, and made simple signs with arrows pointing to my house. The secret to a successful sale is foot traffic!

Be Ready to Accept Offers!
If you truly want to get rid of your stuff – ALL OF IT – be ready to accept the offers that people give to you. With the exception of the first couple of hours of the sale, we’re happy to see our stuff go! For cheap!!

Not Sure About Pricing?
If you have a few high-priced items that you are unsure of, grab one of the “tried-and true-garage salers” who come through your sale early on. You can tell who the dealers are, because they show up with their trucks, already piled with stuff! They will tell you a fair garage-sale-market price for your items. I trust their judgment!

Get kids involved!
Our kids sold coffee, lemonade, brownies and cookies. And they got to keep the cash!

When Sale is Over!
Box everything up and take to Goodwill. Do NOT bring anything else back into the house. Drive around and remove all signs. Count your cash!

I love how my upstairs/downstairs idea turned into a $600 bonus for our family!

Remember purging and spring-cleaning is about freshening your home – it’s not about perfection!

You may not have enough junk to have a garage sale, but at least you’ll feel freshened up and maybe even inspired to have your first spring guests over for dinner!

Give it a try!

(For more posts see Freshen it Up, here, and I Love Orange, here! Photos: both sets of furniture in our living room, the top one (sectional) making its permanent home there, and the brown couch up in the family room!)


Nadine said...

Great ideas as usual. Love the way everything looks.

~nanashouse~ said...

The tips on the yard sale are great, but~~what I love the most is the upstairs downstairs re-do! You have my wheels turning. Sorry honey, in advance :-)

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Oh yeah, I'm going to be doing a big garage sale at some point this season. We have WAY WAY WAY too much stuff. And a little $$$ would be nice too! :-)

Great job! Thanks for all your tips!


Donnetta (momrn2) said...

We've already decided we are also doing a sale sometime this year. In my cleaning and organizing the basement my sale piles have already started.

I doubt we'll make $600 (that's GREAT!!) but I'll take any little bit we can.

One other tip we've found around this area is that a Friday sale is tons better than Sat. If a person is going to do just one day here... do Friday!! Not sure if that rings true in all areas.

Thanks for inpsiration to continue cleaning and purging!

Dawn said...

Great tips. That must feel so nice to get rid of all that extra stuff AND make some extra cash! Your house looks so pretty in the pictures.

Kirstin said...

I do garage sales every year, and use many of your tips, though I've never made $600...I've made over $300. The money I make goes towards school books.

I price all clothing in lumps...kids clothes such and such price unless otherwise marked. Same with books, cd's etc.. I'm just not into all that pricing either.

I like to set my tables up in themes if I find I have items that accent each other.

I set up kids toys together, and always make sure I have extension cords in case anyone wants to test an electrical item.

I do thurs-saturday, and my thursdays are usually my best days.

Org Junkie said...

Well done! Love the ladder tip!

Grace said...

these are great tips. i know this because my grandmother might as well be a professional yard sale attendee. i'm being completely honest when i say that she cannot drive past a yard sale or garage sale without stopping and haggling and coming away with either a terrific buy or a total piece of junk. :)

Momma Roar said...

I really needed to read this today. My mom is coming out and I was going to run to the mall...but while I was still in bed, I was thinking I really out to get to organizing the bedrooms and clearing out what the kids can't wear anymore - thanks for the inspiration today!!

Oh, in the past, we've been able to rent round clothing racks for $5 and they are really, really nice and sturdy for clothes. I really do think clothing sells better when its hanging!

Thanks again!!

Leigh Ann

Praise and Coffee said...

You are so cool! I have had garage sales years ago, but you make it actually sound fun, I may have to do it again!!

I wish I could have come to your sale, I'll bet you had some great stuff. But the trip from Michigan probably would have ruined any idea of a "deal."

Again, you inspire me!!!!!!!

Jen said...

We do a Spring Clean each year and a fall yard sale....although I'm a sucker for yard sales...love to go to them.

Anonymous said...

$600 ! WOW Sandy!~ Love your furniture move, too. Psychologically it's saying: summer is here, no more piling on the couch : )

I've sworn off yard sales for a couple of years now (unless the kids want to do them) but I've got the fever (it was a loooooong winter) and Friday and Saturday is open....

I agree with above post-er: If we can have it all out on Friday for the AfterWork drive-bys, we really move stuff!

In addition to lemonade and cutely packaged candy, we sell a friend's homemade pies (she has a commercially-licensed kitchen) and people don't even BLINK at the $10 price tag ($5 profit per pie to us).

great post,

deb meyers

ValleyGirl said...

Oh.my.goodness, is my house ever in need of "freshening." We are completely overrun by toys and things we don't really have room to store. I dream of purging, but get easily overwhelmed. I know it's one of those things that I just need to DO without thinking about it ahead of time! I'm thinking of getting rid of the toys and books via eBay and the rest I think will just get donated to our church's thrift store. Living out in the middle of nowhere, garage sales don't always get much foot traffic, regardless of whether or not the weather and date are perfect.

Wendy said...

Great post!
I'm getting ready to have a garage sale, so this was very timely for me. Thanks!

Your house looks great!

Monday through Sunday said...

We do the same thing..awesome!

Sandy said...

Hi Ladies! Regarding the day issue, I've come to realize it really doesn't matter if it's a Fri or Sat - it's the TIME OF THE YEAR that makes a difference. Early spring is perfect! People have the bug and they ALL come ...
Summer - not so good.
Fall works pretty well too (late Fall).
I'm also a firm believer in a ONE DAY SALE only, and closing shop around 1!

GiBee said...

I love the setup you have with your dark brown couch! It really looks inviting...

Tarrah said...

We are in the middle of planning our garage sale right now. It's amazing how stuff just accumulates. It's so easy to say "I might use that some day" But really, why hold onto it.

And speaking of yard sales, you have encouraged me so much in the way of looking for table clothes, napkins, plates, etc... at yard sales. I can't wait to see what I find this year. Thank you.

Deborah said...

I SO need to do this. I have boxes in the garage that haven't been unpacked since we moved into our house 2 years ago - I obviously just need to get rid of it all!

Mrs. Darling said...

I love the idea of switching the furniture!

I have gobs of stuff stored for a garage sale but alas the weather wont cooperate. It sounds like you made quite a haul!

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Thanks Sandy for the inspiration! I have stayed away from garage sales, (I usually always donate) but I am thinking of having one. $600 WOW!

Simple Family Supper lady said...

Your house looks great and I'm sure that $600 FEELS great!!!!!
My hubby says I am "adicted" to garage sales, but I am a careful shopper and save us TONS of money. Almost all of our clothing (and many other things) comes from garage sales. This kind of savings is one way that helps me stay home with the kids!

linda t said...

Sooo inspiring! And great tips Sandy!
I know I make more money at my yard sales when I let the buyer name their price. I never price anything... such a time saver too.
I think I'm going to do me some rearranging and spruce up the place!

A Woman Who is: said...

We have a neighborhood garage sale coming up that helps with the foot traffic. Thanks for the great reminders and tips on how to make it successful. I just love getting rid of my stuff, even for free. The last garage sale, we had this one young couple that came at the end, and we ending up decorating their entire apartment for free. Matter of fact as I recall they took all that was left over, and said they would sort through it and take what they wanted and send the rest off to Goodwill. It made me very happy :>

I love the way you think, to recycle your furniture and decorations for a whole new look.

mrsjones6 said...

Great ideas! We are planning a moving sale in May and you have truly given wonderful advice to help me get ready.
Love your upstairs/downstairs re-do. Such a fabulous idea!

Jenni said...

What great ideas! I'm considering doing my 1st ever yard sale (I hate donating to Goodwill b/c they overprice stuff in our area, thus putting it out of reach of the truly needy), from my big purge.

I really like the idea of not pricing.

Andrea said...

Not pricing is my favorite tip! That's the part that would totally overwhelm me. I've never had a garage sale myself -- and actually we just brought a bunch of stuff to our town's thrift store recently -- but that would be the one big thing that would hold me back.

Love the ideas! And your home looks great, no matter where the furniture ends up!!