You’ve finally used your last bit of storage space. There’s no more room for skateboards that nobody rides, winter coats that everyone’s outgrown or the endless knick-knacks you’ve collected over the years.
A yard sale is one of your best options. You don’t have to bother with online auctions. You won’t have to find resale shops to handle your unwanted items on consignment. In fact, you won’t even have to go beyond your front yard to unload some of the things that you just can’t keep anymore.
It might seem like a simple matter of throwing a couple of folding tables onto your lawn and watching a horde of people show up to buy your stuff, but there’s a little more to a really good yard sale. You probably won’t make thousands of dollars, but effective planning will help you sell more of your things sooner, leaving you free to enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Tips for a Successful Yard Sale
Involve other families who are also trying to sell some of their things. Holding one multi-family sale gives you more help as well as a larger selection of goods. Have the sale on a weekend. Most people work every weekday. They probably won’t feel like stopping at your sale after a long Monday at their jobs.
Advertise the opening time one hour later than you actually want to start the sale. Many people show up early for yard sales, thinking that they’ll be the first in line and therefore get their hands on the best stuff. Also advertise the sale about a week in advance. Community bulletin boards, local classified ads, hand-made signs posted on each end of your street, and word-of-mouth are all great, inexpensive ways to let everyone in the neighborhood know that you’ve got things to sell.
Know exactly what you want to sell, and how much you want for each item, before the day of the yard sale. This leaves you free to talk with customers, make sure everything is running as it should, and make sure that your spouse isn’t trying to sneak favorite items back into the house.
Sort everything before the day of the sale. You don’t want to do last-minute organizing; you’ll already have plenty of things to do when people start showing up. By sorting your items into logical categories, you’ll increase your sales. Customers will see one item, such as a pair of in-line skates, and then notice that you also have a street hockey stick for sale.
Indicate prices with neatly-written signs. It will discourage some hagglers and keep you from becoming insane from repeating, “All shirts are two dollars each,” for 2 days straight. Have tons of change in as many denominations as possible. Buyers like make purchases without waiting for you to scrape up correct change.
Bribe your helpers. Feed them take-out lunch from their favorite restaurant. Let them be the first in line to pick a few items that they’d like to have for themselves (free of charge, of course). And be sure to thank them when your sale is over: their help will mean the difference between a mediocre and a great yard sale.
Above all, have fun! Play some music on the jam box that you’re trying to move. Chat with people, even if they’re “just looking.” The more fun you have, the less stressful this will be. And, because good moods are contagious, you’ll boost sales: happy people like to spend money.