I learned years ago as a kid that having a successful yard sale was like a competitive sport ~ there is hard work, sweat, and strategy involved. My parents used to have them every year, and often we’d visit other sales too. After my own kids came along, the excess unwanted stuff began to pile up rather quickly, so selling it all at a yard sale and making some extra cash seemed pretty genius to me. Ever since, I’ve had one at my house every summer.
Here are the guidelines I follow for a successful yard sale every year:
Declutter Every Single Room. Go through every room in your home the month or week before your sale, asking yourself do you love it, use it, or is it just collecting dust? Does it hold serious sentimental value? If not, put in in the ‘yard sale’ pile. Don’t try to sell things that are broken or worthless, instead recycle or dispose of them, they will detract from the things you’re selling that have actual value.
Get Together. Enlisting friends and neighbors makes for a fun social scene, and also more things to offer buyers. Make sure you mention in your ad that it’s a multi family sale!
Advertise. Online ads on sites like Craigslist and Garage Sale Finder have replaced the local newspaper, so use them strategically. List the time, specific address, and directions if your home is not so easy to find. List your categories of goods like “toys” or “linens” and a few big ticket items too. Keep the sale short, I find it brings more customers. “Saturday Only, 8 to 11” sells your stuff a lot quicker than “Saturday and Sunday, 8 to 2”.
Signage. Cardboard or poster board work just fine. Tack up a few large signs on the main road directing traffic to your home, and make sure they’re clear and legible for passing drivers. Make sure you follow any local ordinances regarding advertising on public streets.
Keep it Clean. Dusting and cleaning the items before you put them on display will make them more attractive for buyers, so give everything a quick wipe down to get rid of dust or cobwebs.
To Price or Not to Price. There are different schools of thought, some think it’s best to price everything, others believe you should simply wait for the potential buyer to inquire. Something in between makes the most sense to me. I mark the big ticket items, and group the smaller items by price and/or category. Remember, a lot of your stuff will go unsold and you’ll be carting if off to your local donation center, so consider how much time you want to spend actually marking each item. Prices (for me) get lower as the sale comes to a close, so being flexible and negotiating prices works to your advantage.
Keep Pets Away. As charming as your pup may be, many children and adults prefer not to interact with your pet, so keeping your beloved dog inside your home or in your side yard helps to not deter potential buyers.
Prepare for the Lull. Good coffee, a book or magazines, and a notebook for those who want to ‘think about it’ are a good idea for times when the crowd thins. .
Have Lots of Change. The day before, make sure you have plenty of singles and quarters to make change for your buyers. And be sure to keep your money out of sight or in a safe place away from the main traffic area too.
Free! I always have a box of “Free” items for little kids to sort through to keep them busy while their parents look through the remainder of stuff for sale. Parents appreciate not having to pay for stuffed animals or plastic toys their kids fall in love with. Also, I make a “Free Stuff” sign at the end of every yard sale for folks to rummage through at day’s end, plus it means I’ll have less to cart to the Goodwill.
Don’t Allow Any Item to Reenter your Home. This is key! Load up your car immediately at the end of your yard sale and take it all to the Goodwill or other donation site.
What about you? What’s your best tip, how do you throw a yard sale? Have you scored any great deals at a local yard sale lately? Link up, or leave a comment!