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How to have a clothing yard sale

      If you love to go to garage/yard sales (junking) like I do, you might call a sale with only clothing a “drive-by”. Usually the clothing is thrown on a blanket in the yard and they are charging too much, and with nothing else to look at it’s not worth stopping the car.

    But this summer, I held 2 yard sales that were clothing-only and both were successful so I thought I’d blog how it’s done. All of the clothes were donated for a good cause. The initial bags that were brought to my house took up a large chunk of my living room and spilled over into the front room…

bags 1 before   bags 2 before

                                                                   Bags of clothing before sorting….

         I knew that the clothing would sell better if it was sorted by size. Even someone like me would stop if I could only go through the sizes that I wanted. With this in mind, I borrowed several tubs from a neighbor and went to work. I love showing “during” photos of my organizing, because I want people to have a realistic idea of what happens while you are working ( everything expands). There was no way for me to do it all myself, but lucky for me, I have a friend who sorts clothes as part of her job. She came over and helped. Then later that night, another friend came over.  (yay!!)

                                 bags during

                                                       Bags of clothing during the sort

 

  All told, we estimated that we sorted 90 bags of clothing (some of those were big yard-size bags). We sorted the kids clothing into sizes 6-8, 8-10, 10-12, 12-14. And put the tubs in long lines. IMPORTANT: leave room in between your totes b/c if you put them too close together, your customers will just mix the sizes up. With room in between, they’ll put the ones they’ve looked at out of the tote, and then put back in the ones they don’t want.

                                   bags zafter

                                                                     Bags of clothes after sorting.

    We also made sure all of the shoes had pairs and semi-sorted the adult clothing into types/styles of clothing instead of sizes. The last few tips are:

1. Price all the kids clothing at a quarter a piece, the adult clothing at 50 cents a piece, and shoes at a dollar a pair….and you will sell tons! The point of a yard sale is to make some money off of things that you are willing to give away, so don’t price so high that you have to make several trips to the second-hand store afterwards.

2. A new tip I picked up from a friend is to make your yard sale signs using black paint and a foam brush. It’s less stinky (fumes) than a big permanent marker, and will show up really well from far away.

 

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        I got so busy as soon as I had the clothing out on the driveway, that I never got time to take pictures of the actual yard sale, so I made a diagram of where we put stuff on my driveway. We had a few drive-bys, but mostly people stopped. I had quite a few people tell me how organized it was, and that it was the first time they even considered buying clothing at a yard sale.

                                            yard sale diagram

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Getting crafty with it

   One of my favorite rooms to organize is a craft room. This craft “room” is more of just an area in the basement living room. The owner of this craft room uses it to make Medieval period clothing and jewelry while her husband makes armor and archery targets. I love her fun and unique hobby (and am very jealous of her sewing skills), so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this room!  

         doorwaybefore    doorwayzafter

                                                                     A view of the room before and after

 

The first problem that I saw was the table placement. With two folding tables pushed together, there was enough room for cutting, but it also made a large horizontal surface for people to dump their stuff on. Also, it makes it hard to access both tables because you’d have to walk around both. I suggested an “L” shape for the tables. This way her chair could easily pull up to both and she could designate areas on each for different tasks. And by putting her equipment and supplies on the tables in their zones, it leaves less empty horizontal surface for dumping.

craft table before    craft table zafter

                                                                            Craft tables before and after

 

         The next major problem was the amount of fabric that she had to keep for her projects and the best way to store them and make them easy to find. She had already arranged her trims, patterns, etc. plastic tubs but there was no room to store these. I suggested hanging the fabric so that it would be easier to see. We both thought that a wire shelving unit would work because she could hang the fabric from the top, put her tubs on the bottom shelves, and put larger fabric on the very top.

floor before    floor zafter

                                                                                     Floor before and after

                                                          cloth solution

                                                               The fabric solution – a wire shelving unit

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Pantry Love



I didn't take a "before" photo when I started this pantry project because it didn't look cluttered and unorganized. This "after" photo was taken by the home owner, and after he posted it on FB, I figured he was pretty proud of the results.

If you have a nice large pantry like this, then organizing it isn't very hard, but I will give you tips that will work in any size pantry.

1. Look at the labels:
Most of the food in this pantry was expired. Most foods are still okay to eat after the "best by" date as the date is usually a conservative estimate but it's not a case of whether or not the food is still good. I want you to view food the way you would view any other objects in your house. If you bought a case of canned green beans from a case-lot sale, and those cans have sat dusty on your shelves because nobody in your family eats green beans, then chances are they are CLUTTER.

2. Prioritize: The appliance you only use twice a year, or the dishes you only use at Christmas should be put up high etc. Think of how often you have to get to something and keep things out of corners.

3. Top shelf and bottom shelf:
Too much on the top shelf will make it feel cluttered. If you need to put things on the top shelf, put them in matching, closed containers to get away from that "about to fall" visual. I don't really love the bottom shelf of pantries, but if you want to use them, I suggest bins so that you can pull them out from under the shelves for easier access and to keep your food off of the floor.

4. Zoning:
In this pantry the food, cleaning supplies, and appliances were all mixed together. Since the family usually goes into the pantry and turns left: I put all of the food on the left-hand shelves. Appliances and cleaning supplies are straight ahead, and other seasonal items are on the right side (since some of the right side is behind the door when it's open and therefore harder to get to)

Side note: There are all kinds of gadgets for holding food like "rolling can shelves". I configure most of the pantries I work on the same way that my mother's pantry was: Boxes on one shelf, cans on another. If you stack the cans on top of each other and in front of each other (the way they are at the grocery store), then they take up less room because the can is smaller upright than it is on its side...no gadgets needed.

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I'm a stay-at-home mom of 3 who likes to organize, craft, & read (among other things)
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