I’m going to preface this by saying that I am under no circumstances a master yard saler. I’ve participated in a few and made a reasonable amount of money but there are a lot of ladies around that are truly amazing when it comes to planning and implementing a yard sale.
Just in case you are thinking of having a sale though, I’ll share some of the things I find important when getting ready for a sale:
1. Pick a date. Then, pick a backup rain date. — Mother nature can be pretty unpredictable so it is a great idea to have a backup date on the calendar. For example, my original yard sale was rescheduled to the rain date because of an impending hurricane. Hurray for rain dates!
2. Get others involved. — This can be done in several ways. The most ideal is to have several people sell at one location. The other option is for each person/family to sell at their own house/location. Obviously, having everyone at one place brings in more traffic to each sale but it comes with the hassle of (potentially) having to haul your stuff somewhere.
3. Advertise. — It helps to advertise in several different ways. I tend to always go with the free routes because I’m cheap.
- First is the easiest: Word of mouth. Talk about it! Tell anyone you think might be interested.
- Next, post to places like Craigslist and other free sites. There are even yard sale specific boards out there on the interwebs you can post to.
- Put up flyers. Even in today’s digital age, some people don’t really look on places like Craigslist. Put up flyers in your local coffee shop/grocery store/etc.
- Put up signs! I usually do this the day before but I put several directional signs to help people find me.
4. Price your stuff. — Please put a price on your items. It can be something as simple as painters tape with a hand written price or the little pre-printed stickers you buy from the dollar store. It just helps your buyers to know what you are asking for something. A LOT of people will simply walk away if faced with having to inquire about a price.
5. Be willing to negotiate. — Going hand in hand with #4, be willing to negotiate on the prices you’ve set because people will definitely try to bargain with you.
6. Be on time. — On the day of the sale, have your items out and ready for sale at whatever start time you put in the ad. Also, do not stop early even if traffic is dwindling. I usually plan for a 10 minute window on each side of my start and end times.
7. Keep your tables tidy. — Make it easy on your shoppers by keeping your items neat and tidy. This way, everything you have for sale is in plain view. Many yard sale shoppers are attempting to hit as many places as they can in a short span of time. Translation: they aren’t going to dig through a pile of stuff hoping to find an item.
8. Have change. — Your shoppers are going to come with money and (hopefully) want to spend it. A lot of times though they come with larger bills ($10 and $20) when your items are more likely priced at $1 and $5. Make sure you can still accommodate these shoppers by having plenty of change on hand. I usually get the following from the bank on the day before my sale:
- $10 worth of $.25
- $20 worth of $1 bills
- $20 worth of $5 bills
- $20 worth of $10 bills
9. Be friendly. — Greet everyone that comes up to your sale. If they seem to be searching for something specific, ask if you can help them because you might have it and they just haven’t seen it yet.
10. Extras. — There are several little “extra” things you can do to make your sale a success. We always have bags for shoppers to help them if they purchase multiple items. A few weeks prior to the sale I just start collecting the plastic grocery bags (we usually do cloth so I have to actually remember to do this!). Also, if it is a really hot (or cold) day, I’ll have H come out and give people something to drink.
Hopefully, some of these tips might help if you have a yard sale coming up in the future! If you have any other tips, I’d love to read about them in the comments.
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