Garage Sale Planning for Seniors

  • Spring is right around the corner and many seniors may be planning to downsize and put their home on the market during this popular buying time.  This is a perfect opportunity to declutter and host a garage sale.

    It takes patience and a gentle hand when preparing to sell a loved-ones possessions.   This is more than just getting rid of junk, these belongings represent a lifetime of experiences and memories.  Tread carefully or the whole endeavor may implode.

    Before selling, household items need to be sorted.  Broken items can go and sentimental things may be given to a family member if they will not be kept.  Measure any new living space to make sure the items being saved will indeed fit.  As a rule, anything that hasn’t been used in the past two year can likely be sold or stored. 

    Some families rent a small storage space to rotate favourite items such as lamps or artwork to reassure love-ones their valuables are still around and safe.  Many times, the memory associated with a “treasure” is the real value it possesses.  Consider taking photos of artwork or scanning documents to be transferred into a digital frame.  Sharing stories as you sort will make it a special time for families rather than a burden.

    On the day of the sale, rotate family members to help with setup, cleanup, cash, and providing food.  Keep chairs handy for seniors needing a rest and have lots of drinks and shade available.  

    Tips for successful garage sales:

    Group like items together on tables for better viewing

    Price items at 20 or 25 per cent of their new value

    Save valuables such as crystal, antique furniture or carpets for a consignment shop

    Invite neighbors to contribute; multi-family sales appeal to buyers

    Advertise for an 8 a.m Saturday sale and stress “no early birds” 

    Clearly mark prices and provide bags for shoppers

    Plan to donate all items that haven’t sold by 5 p.m. to charity

    There are professionals who will organize, pack and sell unwanted furniture and household items for seniors.   Check your local moving companies for customized downsizing, relocation and estate services.