How To: Throw a Stoop Sale

What's the first step you take when your boyfriend moves into your 400 square foot apartment? Read this post from AT: Chicago. The next? Purge.

Here’s how we—responsibly—got rid of stuff. (And made a couple of Benjamins!)

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When my boyfriend moved into our tiny apartment last month, we knew some things were going to have to go. So we held a stoop sale over the weekend.

We thought it would be easy. After all, I've been using the word "yard sale" as a verb since I was six. But it turns out there's a big difference between going yard sale-ing and having a yard sale. If you're like us, and don't have that "garage" or "yard," don't despair. If you've got some sidewalk, then we've got ten "concrete" tips for you.

Here’s how we did it:

  1. E-mail all your friends. It helps get the word out, it makes it more festive, and they might even want to join you with some of their own things. (And, if you’re lucky, what’s one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.)
  2. We posted an ad on Craigslist the day before and the day of. We noted any items that would draw interest, like a Nakashima-style table.
  3. Woo potential customers with lemonade or a baked good. Anyone (well, the first 24) people who made a purchase received a cupcake. We also advertised that on signs to create a buzz. (Although that also could have been the ice cold afternoon beer.)
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  5. Get plenty of change. The day before we went to the bank and had $100 in small bills.
  6. Post signs everywhere. Where we live nearly everyone came on foot or bike. Keep in mind that signs don’t have to be poster size if you’re not expecting a lot of drivers, but that you will need a lot more signs since traffic will be coming from all directions. And of course, take them down at the end of the day!
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  8. Have lots of clothes? We tied up string across two railings to put hangers on.
  9. Make sure you discuss prices beforehand. My boyfriend told me how much his records were, I told him how much I wanted for that vintage purse and we avoided any disputes about a too-low sell. Also, you can tag items slightly higher, then drop prices as they day goes on.
  10. We didn’t have a table to display objects, so we put a board across two folding chairs. (The folding chairs store away easily under the bed and come in handy for parties.) The other items we put out on an old sheet.
  11. We had extra grocery store bags on hand for people who bought several items, which was a great way to reuse them.
  12. Okay, this isn’t really a tip, but it was an unexpected benefit: we finally met both of our very nice next-door neighbors!

Coming tomorrow: What to do with what doesn’t sell. Any other tips?

cupcake photo: heather mclaughlin

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