Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tips for a Successful Yard Sale

We're having a yard sale Saturday. I have been compiling things for a while and it's time to clean them out! Here are some tips for a having a successful sale.

  • Set aside a place to store yard sale items throughout the year. This allows you to compile things as you think of them. When you come across something you know you're done with, put it in a box marked yard sale. As your stockpile grows, you'll know when it is time to pick a date.
  • Choose your date. We picked our date with our community's Homecoming Festivities and holiday weekend in mind. Yard sales abound this weekend, and turnout is heavy.
  • Make it a Neighborhood, or Multifamily event, if possible. Sales which are advertised as Community or Multifamily Yard Sales attract more attention. Check to see if neighbors want to participate, or invite friends from your church to join you and set up a table. Not only will it make your sale more enticing, it is more fun to do with friends!!
  • Consider location. If you live in the country, consider having it at a friend's or relative's house who lives closer to town, or on a road with more traffic.
  • Advertise/Make simple signs. It is tempting to buy readymade signs, but homemade signs work great! Also, keep in mind, less is best. Putting too much information on a sign makes it hard to read from a moving car. Find out about signage laws in your area. Stapling/nailing signs to telephone poles are no-no's in most areas. I like to place signs where I can ask the property owner for permission to drive in a stake, or leave a freestanding sign board. If your sale location is far off the beaten trail, consider putting an ad with your address in the paper so people can check a map before setting out.
  • Price your items. People like to know up front what you are thinking. If you are unsure of how much to ask for something, do a search on EBay and see what similar items are selling for there. You can also price by group, for example, "This table, .50 ea." Know in advance what your rock bottom price is on key things.
  • Keep clothes and small items off the ground. It is much easier to look through things on tables. Sheets of plywood on saw horses work just fine. But if you must put things on the ground, place them on a blanket, or on pavement. We sometimes place a length of pipe between two ladders so we can hang dress clothes, quilts, and curtains on hangers. It works very nicely.
  • Have plenty of change/small bills on hand along with a tablet and calculator.
  • Supply plastic shopping bags to help your shoppers get their treasures to their cars.
  • Keep batteries and screwdrivers nearby to test items. Have an extension cord available for testing electric items.
  • Clean your items. Launder clothes, wipe off toys, and dust furniture. A little bit of care ahead of time will allow you to ask the best prices.
  • Occupy your children. Older children are great helpers, but little ones can find it traumatic when their outgrown things are sold. Decide what will work best for you. With our family, the older boys are great at keeping our youngest entertained and out of trouble.
  • Be accessible for questions.
  • Greet people with a friendly "Hello" and thank them for coming.

If you can think of anything I missed, please add it in the comments!

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