Need Extra Money? It’s In Your Attic!

By Diana Palmieri

Got a lot of “stuff”?  Want to clean and unclutter your life AND make money? With a little patience, negotiating, and being on your feet for a few hours, you could have a yard sale to give you a nice little boost in your wallet. You know what they say about another man’s junk.

I recently helped my sister with a yard sale at her home for the benefit of my nephew, who suffers from a traumatic brain injury. I admit I have never shopped at a yard/garage sale (not because I don’t want secondhand stuff–my husband and I have too much stuff!), nor have I participated in organizing one. It is tough work. All the stuff has to be dragged out and placed in front of your house and tagged. You have to be on your feet, and you have to be prepared to negotiate. 

I could not believe the number of people who showed up and what they would pay for “stuff.” It was also funny how folks negotiate and certainly know their way around a yard sale. What was most impressive was how much money my sister had in her pocket when it was all over (upward of $2,000—really—in one day). The money is going straight to benefit the building of a Children’s Hospital in our neck of the woods on Long Island, New York.

Here are some of the items that were sold:

  • Old dining room table and buffet.
  • A couch.
  • Assorted Queen Anne chairs.
  • Rugs.
  • CDs.
  • Vases.
  • Christmas decorations.
  • Clothing.
  • Handbags.
  • Pictures.
  • Shoes.
  • Old stationery.
  • Toiletries and perfume.
  • Throw pillows and tablecloths.
  • Cat house and supplies.
  • Lamps.
  • Candles and assorted decorative holders.
  • Toys and books.
  • Old videotapes.
  • Rug steam cleaner.
  • Old jewelry (costume).

Hmmm …. Does some of this stuff sound familiar? Have such things clogged up your house or been unused for a long time? Funny thing is that when I was at the yard sale and working, I actually thought of items sitting in my house that would have made some money!  Next time, perhaps!

Here are a few tips that helped us:

  • Have the sale early on a Saturday or Sunday. Most folks hit us between 9 am and 12 pm (and some even showed up earlier than 9 begging for a first look).
  • Advertise in your local paper.
  • Put signs on your local road.
  • Invite some friends–the more, the merrier.
  • Have some music in the background.
  • Make sure the items are clean (no spiders or loads of dust).
  • Keep your money in a safe place.
  • Don’t overprice and don’t go nuts haggling.

There are some garage sale Web sites that offer more tips, or perhaps you have friends who have taken on a garage/yard sale of their own who can help out as well. The bottom line is you will have more room in your house and more money in your pocket!


Diana Palmieri is dually registered with Vanderbilt Securities LLC and H Beck Inc., which are unaffiliated. Securities offered through Vanderbilt Securities LLC, member SIPC/FINRA/MSRB. 



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