cashing in on clutter

Two years ago, I found myself starring in my kitchen cupboard at a set of darling, but ineffectual Jonathan Adler bud vases that I purchased on super duper, ‘are my eyes deceiving me’ sale.  Because these were so adorable and bound to be useful, I bought 2 sets – I foresaw a trail of them as a dining table centerpiece or a tight arrangement on the coffee table, however I may have used 1 from 1 set once.  It was in that moment of buyer’s remorse that I avowed to eliminate all non-essential household items that I had accumulated over the past decade.



Since only a few items would be of any modest monetary value, eBay and the like were not a viable option.  I needed to fashion a garage sale without the benefit of a house, yard or driveway on a high foot trafficked NYC street.  Although my building is poised on the perfect block for such a stupendous sale, the co-op board would have never granted me access.  In certain Brooklyn neighborhoods, stoop sales are considered quite au courant: in Manhattan not so much.


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I approached (read coerced) one of my besties whose husband’s family owns the Greenwich Village building where they reside to share in the fun and fortune of a Saturday sidewalk sale.  The brownstone is located on a busy pedestrian neighborhood street with an uncommonly wide-open front yard protected by a diminutive wrought iron fence.  Absolutely ideal for the re-sale retail environment I wanted to create!


With experience extending only as far as attending my kindergarten confidant’s family’s yard sale, I had to rely on common sense, marketing savvy and my keen ability to sell most anything to anyone to ensure our street sale a succe$$.





The following are a few tricks and tips that will guarantee a great event:


  • Start to compile a collection that is intended to be sold 1 month in advance.  3 weeks later go through your possessions a 2nd time and continue to eliminate household items that can be contributed to the kitty.
  • Prep every item by cleaning and placing a price sticker in an obvious location.
  • Select a day isn’t over a holiday weekend and one a few weeks in advance of a gift giving one.
  • Utilize social media outlets to advertise the sale – include photos of the most coveted items.
  • Early in the morning of said date, flyer the neighborhood, but be sure to remove the flyers after the event ends.
  • Create tags with brief descriptions of items that may increase desirability.
  • Set up the selling space as if it were a retail store – a well merchandised table will entice on-lookers.
  • Have plenty of change, wrapping materials and shopping bags.
  • Be flexible and generous with pricing.
  • Provide a ‘free gift with purchase’ item to encourage add-ons.  (We offered individually wrapped Rice Krispie Treats.)
  • Place a bowl of dog treats & water prominently for canines to discover.
  • Donate whatever doesn’t sell at end of the day – DO NOT bring it back into your home!!



Taking the trash out.


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