The first question comes from Mary F., Chicago, Ill.
I’m quite upset with you. My husband bought your book and purchased two storage unit auctions, against my better judgment. Now, we have a house full of stuff and although he’s sold some of it, I can’t stand my house looking like a junk yard. My husband acts like he has gold fever and is ready to buy more. What should I do?
Mary, I’m glad your husband read my book, did you read it? I explained several ways to move the merchandise once you bring it home. I assume you held a garage sale since that’s the best way to move a house full of merchandise. Here’s a couple of more suggestions to unload large quantities of merchandise if you’re not willing to sell individual pieces. Look in the phone book for auction houses in Chicago, there should be several. Go see a couple of these auctions and you’ll see that you can create box lots with many items. Box lots are a great way to make some money and get rid of the stuff around your house. Another suggestion would be to load a truck full of items and take to your local swap meet. If you really just want to get rid of the stuff, load it up and take it to your favorite charity and get the receipt – you can deduct at least $500 from your taxes. If you don’t want to be bothered loading it up, put an ad on craigslist under the free section and watch people back up their trucks and haul everything away.
I’m sorry you’re upset with your husband but you should consider reading the book and working with him as a team. Two heads are always better than one when it comes to selling your house full of merchandise. It takes constant energy to list and sell. If you don’t want to do it, you should just tell him you don’t like that. If he doesn’t understand your desires maybe you guys should seek marriage counseling.
Hey Scott, I bought my first storage unit at auction last week. There was some decent stuff, furniture, appliances, a sweet tv, some video games and dvd’s. The reason I’m writing is I found an old painting but I can’t find anything about it because it’s not signed. Any ideas on how I can figure out if it’s worth anything?
Ron, Las Vegas
Hi Ron, congrats on getting some good stuff. I have to tell you that my wife and I have found some art that we couldn’t figure out anything about. I have a couple ideas that might help you. I am aware of four auction houses near Las Vegas, Las Vegas Auction, McManus Auction, Clark County Public Auction, and Darwin’s Auction at the Boulder City Antique Mall. They all offer consignment and might have an idea about the value of your painting. You can also take digital pictures and start sending them out to various places on the internet like askart.com and artnet.com. What we usually do is take great pictures and list them on ebay with a starting price of 9.99 but we purchase the Gallery Plus feature. This gets the painting an affordable exposure and we’ve sold the majority of our art this way. One last option is to call some local antique dealers and ask them if they’re interested in looking at the painting. We’ve had several come to the house and we ask them lots of questions. They usually say they have to research the item and you’ll never hear from them again. The process can be frustrating but the last thing you want to happen is sell it at a garage sale for $50 and then see the buyer on the antique roadshow with a $20,000 painting.
Hope that helps,
Scott R Asher
I was looking at your book on Amazon and love the idea of making some money at garage sales but a neighbor told me that we’re only allowed by law to have two garage sales per year. Even if I had the two best garage sales ever, I don’t see how it’s possible to reach financial freedom from that. I know there are people that break this law, how do they get around it?
Thanks for your question. First, I wouldn’t take your well meaning neighbor’s word on the legal limit for garage sales in your neighborhood. You need to determine whether you’re governed by the city or county, depending on where you live and actually read the ordinance or code that states the legal limits for garage sales in your jurisdiction. Second, understand that code enforcement is a complaint driven process. If nobody complains about your garage sale then, in theory, you could have it every day. I was personally told this by more than one code enforcement officer when I lived in Las Vegas. Also understand that the definition of garage sale is typically considered “outside sales.” That means that you’re not having a garage sale if you’re selling items inside the house.
When I first started the business I held a garage sale every weekend until a neighbor complained. I told my mentor about code enforcement showing up at my door and he told me my problem was that I hadn’t involved my neighbors. He told me to speak to the neighbors, invite them to hold sales at the same time and give them items they want from your sale for free – in essence, to bribe them. The next opportunity I had to hold a “legal” garage sale, we printed a letter to the neighbors explaining that the law allowed so many days of outside sales and we were going to have the first of our four days on such and such weekend. We invited them to participate, that we would advertise the sale as a multi-family sale and they knew how much traffic we could generate and they could profit and have fun as well. Nobody on the block chose to participate but we never had any further complaints from the neighbors and we extended our sales past the legal limit on several occasions. If you have a good relationship and respect the fact that nobody wants to live next to a permanent garage sale, you can exceed the legal limit of sales days without incident. Just don’t be obnoxious about it. Also, if you read my book, you’ll find that I describe many other outlets to sell your merchandise besides garage sales. Garage sales are just the beginning of learning to sell on a personal level and to determine the intrinsic value of any item. Once you acquire that skill, you’ll see that you can make money anywhere, all the time.