How To Have A Yard Sale
and Make It A Success
So, you went through the closets, got rid of old clothes, cleaned till all you smelled was bleach for 3 days, now what do you do with all those old sweatshirts and the used recliner that’s seen it’s better days? Part of your spring cleaning routine may be to purge. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It’s time to release your well-used booty to the next guy. Have a garage sale so your home’s spring cleaning efforts don’t just transfer from inside your closet to inside your garage.
Before you start planning your yard sale, be mindful that having a successful garage sale takes a little strategy. Gone are the days when a hand painted sign on the corner made a yard sale a hit. If you live in an urban community, you may not even have an actual garage, so let’s talk about the best old school and modern ways to ensure your next garage, yard or sidewalk sale looks more like Target on Black Friday than JC Penny in the last two quarters.
Invite the Neighbors To Your Yard Garage Sale
The more treasure there is to peruse the more shoppers you will attract, and that leads to sales. Plan your garage sale a few weeks ahead of time and invite your neighbors to have a sale on the same day. Inviting friends and neighbors can be viral as well. You tell your friends, Judy next door tells her friends, the Smiths tell their family and so on. Another great tip is to create little flyers and pass them around to the more distant neighbors on the few surrounding streets and blocks and invite them to come by. This is a great activity for the kids to get them involved in helping. If you’re new to a neighborhood this is also a great way to meet the neighbors.
Advertise Your Yard Sale the Right Way
Don’t abandon the hand-painted corner yard sale signs all together but let’s be realistic, the best way to advertise your garage sale is by posting an ad on Craigslit.org. It’s free and here is where you can post pictures of higher dollar items or things that may attract visitors, some things are bikes, surfboards, furniture pieces, etc. Taking a picture of a pile of used clothes on a tarp isn’t going to do much for your sale. Create an event on Facebook and invite your local friends. You can post pictures of items here too and ask your friends to share.
Do Some Staging & Have Some Fun While You’re At It
Do you remember how Tom Sawyer got his friends to white wash the fence for him? He just acted like painting the fence was the most fun anyone could imagine. You can enact this tactic too in your garage sale success strategy. Invite some friends over to hang out with you in the yard, play some music maybe even hang a few balloons. Make a little bit of a ruckus and this will draw more attention than a humdrum tarp and used goods garage sale. If you have to be there from 8:00AM – 2:00PM you might as well make it as pleasant as possible for yourself. I send out E-vites and call them Garage Sale Parties and, in most instances, I use the profits to keep the party going. But this depends on your garage sale objectives. Do you just want to get rid of stuff or are you looking to turn a buck?
Yard Sale Pricing – Mark Higher Valued Items
Get some of those dot stickers at Rite Aid and put prices on things your not willing to get rid of for a $1. We know a garage sale is not Nordstrom’s, so be prepared to haggle but, it gives the interested party a gage of where to start the negotiation. If you have an antique vase that is worth hundred of dollars but it’s not marked, don’t be surprised if someone offers you a couple bucks for it and walks away when you decline. Just like in all sales, it’s all about perceived value.
The Early Bird will Be There and Will Wait,
Even If You Haven’t Had Your Coffee Yet
Be sure to be set up before the time you have posted on Craigslist. Some people are really serious and frighteningly punctual for sales. They want the first stab at the best deals. I have had a woman wait and watch me set up the entire sale, rather than risking missing a deal to someone else.
Merchandising is Still Important
Back to the pile of clothes on a tarp. Maybe you can get 50 cents a piece for garments set up like this but if you hang things, you can get anywhere from $2 -$20 or more. When it looks nicer it pulls a better price. If you don’t have somewhere to hang things, spread the items out and in categories. Separate the kid’s clothes from the man’s clothes and so on and fold them. – Don’t worry, at the end of the day you can just stuff them into a bag.
Pricing for Yard Sales – No Price is Set in Stone
Shoppers come expecting to haggle like you’re a vendor in a Thai street market. No marked price should be the final price. A good way to move your goods is to bundle multiple items for a reduced cost. For example maybe the clothes items are $2 a piece but give six for $10. Remember, if you don’t get rid of this stuff it just goes back in your garage, house, or closet, so be flexible. The item may have some value but remember, you don’t want it anymore so let it go. If you have an item that can fetch real sum of money, you may be better off posting those items independently on Craigslist or eBay.
Last But Not Least, Yard Sale Logistics
Be prepared for hot or rainy weather. Make sure you have shade and shelter so the show can go on regardless of Mother Nature’s mood that day. Signs, check, Craigslist ad, check….we covered these things but don’t for get to get some small bills for change. People are looking for bargains or they just stopped by on a whim with just the cash they have on hand. You don’t want to lose a sale just because you don’t have correct change. Also, make sure anyone tending shop in your stead is aware of high dollar items that should have a seller’s consent before selling away for a low-ball bid. Again those dot stickers are good way to mark these things.
Now that you’ve gotten your 3 sheets on strategy, you’re ready to yard sale, sale away.