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Get the Most Out of Your Next Garage Sale

"Going green" is more than the movement of the moment; it's a way to conserve limited resources and funds in a tight economy. Garage sales are a great way to jump on the "reduce, reuse, recycle" bandwagon while also cutting down on clutter in the home.

Your trash is someone else's treasure, so why not pass the kids' old soccer uniforms and those VHS baseball documentaries on to someone who'd be delighted to have them?

Follow these tips to make sure your garage sale runs smoothly from start to finish.

Define your purpose. If you're planning a garage sale to pass on your unwanted stuff, get to know your neighbors a little better and maybe earn a little cabbage in the process, great. But if your real plan is to recoup the original value of your unloved possessions, consider either donating or selling them on consignment instead.

Selling on consignment is a great way to unload expensive items that are in excellent condition. In a consignment sale, you consign your goods to a second-hand shop, which places it for sale. For that service, the shopkeeper take a percentage of the sale. Check out to locate a shop near you and for some helpful tips for selling on consignment.

If you decide a garage sale is the best way to go, keep in mind that garage-sale shoppers are hunting for bargain basement prices. Mark up your castoffs and you'll likely double your work hosting a sale only to end up donating everything when it doesn't sell. Be willing to haggle, but set your bottom line ahead of time -- particularly for big-ticket items -- so you can keep your cool if negotiations heat up.

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