Hosting a garage sale in the spring is a great way to lighten your household load before summer is here. Best of all, you can put the proceeds from your event toward a family vacation or summer outing -- or even a project around the house.

As tempting as it is to just pile stuff on the driveway and stick a sign in the yard, try a little organizing beforehand. This will improve the turnout and, ultimately, make more money.

One of the most important things to do is to get the administrative work out of the way. This means getting a permit, if required. Check with your local municipality about garage sale permits and signage requirements if they have them.

BAND TOGETHER

A terrific time for a garage sale is when your community or one nearby has a neighborhood garage sale. These generate a lot of traffic, and that means you can unload a lot of clutter. Make sure your home is listed in fliers, if it's a neighborhood event, and that you post several signs around your neighborhood pointing toward your house. If your neighborhood doesn't have a community garage sale event, think about approaching your neighbors. Consider advertising, too, in newspapers or online. Once that's done, you can concentrate on what you're going to sell.

READY TO SELL

When getting your items together, it's a good idea to go over everything. Try to make sure items are clean and dust-free. Crumbs in an old toaster mean it will just sit there instead of going home with someone. And don't neglect pricing every single item. Making people ask the price often means they'll pass buying it. It's better to mark items and haggle than to have no haggling and, worse, no sale.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

In fact, a common problem with garage sales is pricing. Remember, if you weren't having a garage sale, you'd likely either donate or throw these items away. So go ahead and price items as cheaply as possible. The more people are buying at your garage sale, the more it encourages others to buy. A crowded garage sale means your stuff gets sold and the cash is in your pocket. Be sure to have an electric cord available so people can test out electronics. When it comes to organizing your items, use a U-shape. This enables you to see everyone looking at your items and you can easily put more items out to replenish your tables.

Think about safety too. Rather than having a cash box, put money in a nail apron that you wear on your person. It keeps your money mobile and with you at all times. It's also helpful to create a sign that says all items remaining by the end of the sale day are half price. You'll encourage return visitors and a complete sell-off of all your items. Lastly, remove all your signs as soon as your sale is over.