HOW TO HOLD A SUCCESSFUL YARD SALE

 

August 16, 2015

Hi, Subscribers!

If you are thinking of having your first yard sale – think BIG.  Have at least 50+ things to sell, if you can.

There are many people who like to collect specific things.  That old glass doorknob on a shelf in the basement has value to people who collect them, for example:  Old Boy Scout uniforms, vinyl records, CD’s, DVD’s, purses, shoes, vintage or modern hats, cribs, nursery toys, plates and utensils, old radios, decorative pillows, jewelry, bicycles, etc.

Yard sales are traditionally held on Saturdays at 7:00 am.

COLLECTING ITEMS TO SELL

Wander through your house or apartment from the attic to the basement.  Open drawers, rummage through closets, the kitchen, the garage.  You will be surprised at how much you have accumulated and really don’t want anymore.

Sit down with your kids and go through all their games. Ask them which ones they don’t want anymore. Add them to the sale.

Never assume that an old lamp shade or that old umbrella stand is junk. Lots of people would be happy to buy them. The artsy-crafty folks can see the potential in all kind of things, even an old broom.

Don’t overlook your garage.  There is usually a ton of things you could sell: old lawnmowers, all kinds of tools like saws, hammers, tool boxes and contents, gardening tools, old Christmas decorations, sleds, wheelbarrows.  This is a great time to clean out your garage.

There will also be a hoarder or two. They are attracted to all yard sales.

These usually sell fast: kids toys, board games, clothes and books for both children and adults, CD’s  and DVD’s.

Clump books in a box into sections and mark them clearly.  Biographies,  autobiographies, history, etc. They sell much faster this way.

Gradually move the smaller things up to your dining room or garage.

The day of the sale, your friends need to come over at 6:00 AM to help you move the larger things outside. Get as many men as you can if you are selling furniture.  Give all your friends 2 weeks warning and a reminder a few days prior.

Ask some of your friends to stick around.  You may get a larger crowd than expected and will need help with sales.

ADVERTISING

There are many yard sale addicts who scour the Friday night newspaper for ads about yard sales. Others, just drive around to find them.  I’m suggesting advertising because you will get much more exposure and a stronger response. That’s how it worked for me, anyway.

Four days prior to your sale, go to your local paper and talk to the nice folks in the Classified section.  Show them the rough draft of your ad, and they will whittle it down for you and make it efficient. This will also save you money.  Ask them to run it on Friday just before the sale. Most yard sales start at 7:00 AM, but be prepared for early birds who show up at 6:00. You can tell them you are still setting up and to come back.  They will.

SUPPLIES

Be prepared to spend around $50+ for supplies. I know this seems high, but think of it as a investment for your future yard sales. Most of these things you need to buy only once.

There are many, many less expensive ways to do this, but I am suggesting that you make this as easy on yourself as possible. If you have a yard sale every summer, all of these things will  pay for themselves quickly.

Get professional yard sale signs at Lowe’s. They will have wire legs taped to the back, so you can slide them easily into the ground. You will need four of them.

Place two signs at the two corners of your main big street that intersects with your road.  You want them on either side of your road so both directions of on-coming traffic will see them. Scatter the other two down your street.  They will see the yard sale so you won’t need a sign there.

Go to a grocery store where they know you and get roughly 25 plastic grocery bags. The baggers usually don’t have a problem with this if you tell them it is for a yard sale. Customers will need these after buying something.

Pre-printed price stickers. You can find these in pharmacies in the school supply section. Or, you can just use white blank stickers that are “removable”. Read the box carefully for this word.  You do not want “permanent”.

(I read an article that suggested not pricing anything. The buyer may be willing to pay more than you thought.)

Free boxes from liquor stores. They are used to this request and most save them. They usually keep them outside in the back.  Keep going back every two or three days as there are usually more boxes.

Use a clothing rack on wheels.  You can get these at Lowe’s.  Assembly is easy. You will definitely be able to use this again in your home and next yard sale.

A long orange extension cord to plug in games to show customers that they work. (Borrow from a friend.) Or, just hook together two or three regular extension cords that you already have.

Batteries.  Same reason.  (You keep the batteries.)

SET-UP

Think like a department store.  Keep all like things together.

Put the price tags on all your items. If it is not priced, people may not hunt you down to ask.

Keep clothes hanging on the clothing rack, each marked with a price. Keep kids clothes on one side and adults on the other. All clothes should be very clean and ironed.

Turn over the liquor cartons and throw a towel over them or colorful paper like wrapping paper. This will give you a flat colorful surface to display things on . People love color. They are attracted to it. Use lots of it!

MONEY

You will need cash.

Get one roll of nickels, dimes, and quarters. Get 10 $1 bills. Hard core yard salers know the prices are low, so I doubt anyone is going to flash a $100 bill.

A front style fanny pack or carpenter apron for the money. Those steel boxes are too easy for someone to walk away with.  Keep the money on you.

As sales start to pile up, hand off extra money to a friend to put in the house.

Be prepared to bargain.  This is the heart and soul of any yard sale.  If it is marked 25 cents, they will ask if you will take 10 cents. Keep that in mind when pricing.

Don’t bargain too much. The goal is to get rid of things and make some money. If the item is marked for 20 cents, they will offer 10 or 15 cents. If they suggest 10 cents, you counter offer for 15. If they say 10 cents again, take it.

Keep your front and back doors locked.

SET-UP

You can do whatever looks good to you.

Furniture should be in the front near the road as a lot of people are looking for this.

Baby clothes and toys are very, very popular.

Have your kids set up a lemonade stand on a colorful card table to keep them busy. Charge 10 cents per cup and be certain you have at least 25 cheap paper cups. It should pay for itself, especially on a hot day.

You can lay things on blankets.

PERMITS

You may need a permit. Ask the police about that. You don’t want your yard sales raided and shut down.

UPDATE:

If you are downsizing, I ran across an excellent video that can help you:

www.GarageSaleGal.com

I can’t seem to make this a link, but if you go to Google and type that in, it will be there.

CLEAN-UP

This is pretty easy.  Most yard sales close down around 2:00 or sooner.

Have someone drive up and remove the yard sale signs.  Keep them for future use.

Put away the things that did not sell or donate them to Goodwill.

Clean up your yard thoroughly. Your neighbors will appreciate this.

Have coffee, ice cold beer and soft drinks on hand for your friends.

Think of donating the money to a worthy cause or person. Many times if you make the yard sale for a person who is known in the community and needs a wheelchair, etc., people will be drawn to that. Make that clear in your ad.

I hope you had fun!

Best wishes,

Ann

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Updated: June 3, 2017 — 5:39 pm
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