How to Have a Stoop Sale

It’s summer, you’re short on cash, and you need to clean out the junk in your apartment. Why not have a stoop sale? It’s not a bad idea. First, though, remember that there’s a fundamental tension in a stoop sale: you’re trying to get rid of stuff you don’t want – and yet you’re hoping someone else will pay you money for it.  So, before you go ahead with a stoop sale, consider your goals.

StoopIf you want to make good money and have some valuable things to sell (like a lightly used iPod touch, or a small flat screen TV, or a vintage dresser worth over $300), then a stoop sale is not the way to go – people walking by are unlikely to drop hundreds on a whim. Instead of a stoop sale, you should be using craigslist, or selling via Amazon. You’ll get far more money, and you won’t have to spend an afternoon sitting out front, hoping to make that lucky sale.

On the flip side, if you’re mainly motivating yourself to clean out your apartment, and if your apartment really is filled with junk, then a stoop sale isn’t the best route either. How many people are going to want to buy a four-year-old box of Wheaties, a framed Rocky poster where the frame is mostly broken, or a tattered copy of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court? The answer: no one. Instead, you should be throwing away your junk.

That said, if you have some nice items that you could envision someone else using, and you’re not intending to charge over $75 or so for any one item, a stoop sale is right up your alley. Here’s what you do:

Talk to Your Neighbors

This has two functions: first, you want the people who live around you to know it’s coming. That way, there won’t be any conflicts (such as, say, your neighbor’s boyfriend is moving in on the same day as the stoop sale, and the movers need the stoop clear).

Second, some of your neighbors may want to join in – this is a good thing. Not only are more wares more appealing to passersby, but sitting outside all day by yourself is boring. You’ll be grateful for the company, as well as for the help setting up and tearing down.

Set a Date (and Place)

Plan a week or two in advance. Think of what causes pedestrian passersby. For example, if you know there’s a low-key street festival down the street on a particular weekend, set up your stoop sale then – you’ll have more passersby. Or, for example, if you live near a church, where parishioners come and go, have your sale on Sunday, instead of Saturday, so you’ll have more passersby. If you live in a low-traffic area, consider having the sale at a friend’s stoop – or somewhere where you know lots of people will pass.

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Author My First Apartment

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Alex has rented in Minneapolis, Queens, Brooklyn, and now Chicago. He can kill rodents and roaches when required, and loves picture-hanging projects. If you're ever in town, give him a shout.

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