Spring has arrived in Pittsburgh. Many of us have started our spring cleaning. After cleaning out those messy garages, closets and attics, why not make some extra money by holding a garage sale? Here are five tips for hosting a successful garage sale this spring.

1. Prepare in advance. Choose the items for your garage sale, organize and price them well in advance. A good rule is to price items at about 75 percent of the original value. You can easily add value to an item by washing it if it’s dirty or stained, or by repairing a small tear or missing button. Affix brightly colored stickers to the front or top of each item and mark the price clearly. If a person has to search for a price, they will most likely end up walking away without buying anything. Make it as easy on your shoppers as possible.

2. Advertise your garage sale. The Pennysaver website has long been the go-to source for garage sale listings. Recently, the Pennysaver partnered with Trib Live. You can now advertise your garage sale for free on their website. If you prefer, you can also advertise in one of their print editions. Prices vary depending on the number of editions you want your ad to appear in and the size of your ad. There are many sites online where you can advertise for free. Both Craigslist and Ebay Classifieds offer free garage sale ads. Utilize social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to invite friends, family, neighbors and local contacts.

3. Organize/set up your garage sale. Make your displays look as nice as possible. Cover tables with tablecloths and group similar items together. If possible, hang up any clothes and coats. If selling electrical appliances, be prepared with an extension cord to demonstrate that the product works. If an item is battery operated, have a few batteries handy to show it is in working order.

4. Secure your money, pets and home. Keep your money on you at all times, either in a fanny pack or in an apron. Never leave cash unattended. Decide ahead of time if you’re willing to risk taking a check. Enlist help to keep an eye on things and make sure no one walks off without paying for their items. Ensure your pets are secured safely somewhere inside of your house, not only for their safety, but also for the safety of your customers. Secure them in a bedroom so they aren’t able to dart out every time the door opens. Make sure all doors and windows are locked. A thief could easily slip in a back door while you’re busy in the front with your customers.

5. Plan for remaining items. Decide in advance what you’re going to do with any items that don’t sell. Making a donation of the remaining items to charity is a great way to help those in your community. Box everything up and drop it off at a Goodwill location, or schedule a pickup by Vietnam Veterans of America. Animal shelters are always in need of blankets, clean rags and in some cases, even stuffed animals are needed for the homeless pets in their care.

These local organizations will accept your leftover items:

Animal Friends
562 Camp Horn Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(412) 847-7000

Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat and Sun – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Animal Friends is a no-kill animal shelter, always in need of donations of clean rags and blankets.

 Goodwill Southwestern Pennsylvania
118 52nd St
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
(412) 481-9005

Hours: Vary with each store

Goodwill reuses and recycles donated goods to help improve the lives of others. Drop off your remaining items at any of their Pittsburgh locations.

Hello Bully
4885-A McKnight Road, Suite 197
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(412) 235-1997

Hours: Call ahead to schedule a drop-off time

Hello Bully is an entirely volunteer organization. Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and repair the reputation of the American Pit Bull Terrier. Donations are always welcomed.

Related: Use Your Landscaping To Enhance Curb Appeal
Related: Local Humane Society Filled With Pets Needing Homes

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSPittsburgh.com/YourHome.

Yvone M. Kon has worked in sales, marketing/graphic design and the event planning fields in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for over 11 years. She is currently the Pittsburgh Event Planning Examiner and the Pittsburgh Animal Advocacy Examiner. While shes always enjoyed being creative and planning unique and exciting events for a variety of people and businesses in the Pittsburgh area, her true passion lies in promoting animal rescue, adoption and advocacy issues. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.