Melissa Dubravetz, advertising writer

In last weekís column, I shared tips on how to reclaim your garage and get it back to the useful space it once was. This involved de-cluttering; separating items into sale, donate or keep piles; and then putting it back together in a way that works best for you and your family. While you may have figured out what to do with the stuff you are going to keep, it is also time to figure out what you are going to do with the things you donít need anymore.

On one hand are the things you want to donate. These items are perhaps the easiest to get rid of, whether you have someone in mind with whom you want to share your treasures or you decide to give them to a local rehab store, charity, thrift store or non-profit. Giving away the stuff you donít have a use for anymore not only frees up space, but also makes you feel good because you are helping someone out.

On the other hand are the things you want to sell. Selling your items can make you a little money, allowing you to buy something else you need or want. Selling your items takes patience and planning. As such, it is a bit more time consuming. Fortunately, late spring and summer are perfect times of the year to host garage and yard sales, which are quick and relatively easy ways to get rid of some of your stuff. If you have items you want to sell, read on for tips on how to host your own sale.

Pick a date and time

As with anything else, pick a date and time that works for you and your family. Spring and summer holiday weekends are popular times of the year for garage and yard sales, but any weekend will work.

Join forces with the neighbors

Find out if anyone else in your neighborhood or on your street is interested in hosting a sale with you on the same date and at the same time. Street and block sales typically attract more people, so partnering up can often yield more profits. Make sure there are no restrictions against garage or yard sales in your neighborhood too.

Advertise!

Once you have selected a date and time and received any required permits, advertise your sale in the newspaper, on signs in your yard or at the end of your block, and on your local community bulletin boards. (Editorís note: Garage sale ads in the Akron Beacon Journal include a garage sale kit containing two signs, two stakes, 140 preprinted price labels, presale checklist, sales record form and sales tips.)

Price your merchandise

Now itís time to work on pricing. While some people like to label each item with a sticker indicating the price, there are other ways to price your items. One way is to create an inventory list of everything you are selling and the price you are asking and then cross off the items as they are sold. Not only does this save time, but it helps you easily keep track of what you sold and how much you made. Another way is to use color-coded stickers and signs that let your shoppers know how much items cost; for example, items with an orange sticker are one dollar, those with a green sticker are five dollars, etc.

Set up shop

Set up your ďshopĒ the day before your garage sale and place the large items where they can be easily moved on the day of the sale. If hosting your sale in your garage, make sure it is clear which items are for sale and which items arenít. Be sure to have plenty of small bills on hand to make change.

Work with a partner

Find someone to help you before, during and after your garage sale. Donít be afraid to negotiate with customers. Sometimes getting rid of something for a few dollars less than you originally wanted is worth more than moving the item back inside and figuring out what to do with it. After your sale, be sure to remove your advertising and signs immediately.

Let me know what you think. What are your suggestions for hosting a garage sale? I welcome your suggestions on making a decision, tales from your personal experiences or anything else you want to talk about. Send an email with your name and phone number to homeownership@thebeaconjournal.com. For additional real estate information, visit homes.ohio.com, the key to hassle-free home hunting.