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How to Hold a Proper Moving Sale

By Eric Hammer - 2011

Rather than trying to hire movers or run a moving sale, I think I'd much rather just set fire to the whole business and then walk away, starting fresh in my new home. - Anonymous frustrated mover.

We've all had to move sometime in our lifetimes; very few of us spend our entire lives living in the same house we grew up in and some of us have become experts on moving and moving sales. If you find yourself getting ready to make "the big move" or even just "a move" then you may well want to consider holding a moving sale for whichever belongings you don't want or need in your new home. Here's how to do it right:

Inside or Outside

The first question when planning a moving sale is exactly how you plan to run the sale. If you mostly have small odds and ends to get rid of and nothing big, then consider holding a yard sale where you set up your goods outdoors on a nice day (it helps to do this in the spring or summer).

On the other hand, if you're moving out of a four bedroom house and into a studio or one bedroom home (for retirement for example), then you need a different model. At that point, you're doing something more akin to an estate sale without there being an estate. If this is the case, consider moving everything out that you want to keep and then allowing people to walk through your home picking out things they'd like to buy, with you simply sitting guard at the door to make sure people pay for whatever they want to purchase.


A good rule of thumb when pricing products for a moving sale is that you want to offer whatever you have for sale at a minimum of 50% off the going retail price. Be prepared to bargain as well, but know what your red lines are in advance. Realize as well that just because you think something is really valuable doesn't mean others will think so as well. Your grandmother's china may hold sentimental value for you making the set worth thousands of dollars in your eyes, but the stranger who sees that it's a cheap made in China set isn't going to care.

Deciding What to Sell

Speaking of your grandmother's china, you also need to make the decision about what you'll sell in your moving sale. So for example you probably will want to keep the family china, even if it's cheap junk because it has sentimental value. However, in other cases, you may not care one way or the other.

Here's a good rule of thumb to decide what gets sold and what gets moved: Ask yourself, do I have use for this in my new home? Will it cost me less to simply buy a new one in my new home than to sell it here (for example, your Ikea coffee table is probably not going to worth taking along if it costs almost as much to move it as it costs to buy a new one)? Finally, consider your moving costs. If you're moving a particularly large and bulky item, you may be better off selling it rather than moving it.


There was a time when advertising your moving sale meant hanging flyers all over the neighborhood and on the community bulletin board. These days however, it's also possible to advertise your moving sale in a variety of other ways - you can for example put up ads on Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter to invite people in the neighborhood to drop by. Be sure to email close friends as well and ask them to tell their friends.

When to Hold Your Sale

Generally, you should plan to hold your moving sale on either a Saturday or Sunday (if there are large numbers of Orthodox Jews in your area, it's especially useful to do it on a Sunday because they won't come on Saturdays. By the same token, if your area is very religious and most people are church goers, it's best to hold the sale on Saturday since most people won't show up on Sunday). Be sure to avoid holiday weekends though as few people will be around to make a purchase from you to begin with.

Consider Hiring a Professional

If you have a whole house that you want to clear out (again because of retirement or even because someone passed away), consider hiring a professional to do your moving sale. If the likely sales will total in the thousands of dollars, there are thousands of people who will run your sale for you, including setting up a cashier, pricing your things for you, advertising and cleaning up after the sale is over. They can even arrange to donate things which don't get sold to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. They'll typically take a cut of anywhere from 10-30% of the sales total, but for that money, you simply walk away with a check and no hassles.

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Houses Under Fifty Thousand | How to Hold a Proper Moving Sale