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Garage Sales — Community and Virtual

Your house is full to bursting, but the thought of holding a yard sale makes you shudder. Declutter through another outlet and make room for all that new back-to-school stuff.

Community garage sales

Towns, neighborhoods and schools often throw community yard sales with dozens — if not hundreds — of participants. Here are some September events; check community websites to see when your nearest sale is held.

Delaware: In Middletown on Sept. 7, you can bring your stuff to the Dutch Country Farmer’s Market on North Broad Street for the Outside Community Yard Sale, held from 9am-1pm, rain or shine. (Can’t make it then? You’ve got two more chances this season — Oct. 5 and Nov. 2.) On Sept. 14, there’s a Wilmington-area community yard sale from 8am-2pm. Anyone who wants to participate can set up a table at the Reybold Self-Storage facility at 2523 Lamotte Street.

Pennsylvania: The 27th Annual Great Media Garage Sale will take place throughout Media, Sept. 7-8, 9am-4pm. Sponsored by the Media Business Authority, this longtime town tradition invites all residents to set tables up at their homes as dedicated yard-salers neighborhood-hop, searching for that something special. The annual indoor/outdoor rain-or-shine sale at the Kimberton Fairgrounds in Phoenixville attracts 100-plus sellers and tons of foot traffic. This year’s event is on Sept. 21. Call 610-935-1378 to reserve an indoor table for $15 or bring your own and rent a space outside for $10.

South Jersey: September 29 is a big day in South Jersey community sales. The annual Merchantville Town Wide Yard Sale, which starts at 9am, attracts a massive crowd as hundreds of residents set out goods in front of their houses. Maps are available at Borough Hall, News Nook, McFarlan’s Market and the Merchantville Diner the morning of the sale. The very same day, Delran and Delanco both throw their annual town-wide yard sales, starting at 8am and 9am respectively.

Virtual Garage Sales

Electronics tend not to sell well at traditional garage sales, but they can be a source of sometimes surprising amounts of cash. Carolyn Jabs at Growinguponline.com has written the following advice for selling your old devices on electronic buyback websites. 

Gather any unused object that needs a battery, a charger or a power cord, whether or not they work. Clean off grime and fingerprints with a damp cloth and erase personal data from computers and cell phones. Locate cords, accessories and, if possible, manuals and original packaging, then see what your items are worth on sites like Pricenomics.com or Usell.com.  

How to Hold a Home Garage Sale

Advertise well — on your neighborhood Facebook page & Craig's List and in your local newspaper. Don't forget lots of physical signs with arrows pointing to your neighborhood.

Clean everything! Including the yard or garage!

Clearly tag and label items.

Have cash on hand for change, both bills and coins.

Lock all doors to your house that are out of your line of sight during the sale.

Place large, marquis items in front, where drivers can see them rolling by.

Be willing to negotiate.

Box up everything not sold and donate it to your favorite charity.

The website you choose depends in part on what you’re selling. Most provide detailed menus that help you identify the precise model or ISBN number. You, in turn, answer questions about the condition of your item. The more accurately you answer, the more likely it is that you’ll get the site’s full offered price. Make sure the site has a customer service phone number and a street address, just in case you have to track down payment.

Cell phones. Apple products are in high demand at Newtonshead.com and Tunecycle.com. Android devices are king at Swappa.com. For any brand, check out Securetradein.com, Cellitused.com or Gazelle.com, which allows you take payment in the form of an Amazon gift card or donate your phone’s value to a site-approved charity.   

Video games. Secondspin.com offers cash for used games, CDs and DVDs; Spun.com gives credits that can be used toward other games. Type “Trade In” into Amazon’s search box and find a trade-in outlet that accepts all kinds of media, including books.

Electronic toys. Interactive toys like Leapster and Hexbugs sell reasonably well on Ebay. If you don’t want the hassle of setting up an auction, see whether the item is eligible for the Instant Sale option.

Other gadgets. For anything from camcorders to headphones, Buybackworld.com has a good reputation for paying as promised and offers a fundraising option. Nextworth.com partners with Target, allowing you to take electronic items directly to a store and get a gift card on the spot. Buymytronics.com is endorsed by the Better Business Bureau and matches prices from other sites. Finally, Guzu.com plants a tree for every successful transaction.

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