Summertime is the season of shorts and tank tops, lemonade stands, backyard barbecues and... YARD SALES! As yard sale season commences, we have compiled a list of the very best secrets for a successful and profitable sale.
Whether you're planning your first yard sale or you're a seasoned veteran who looks forward to hosting yard sales each summer, keep this checklist in your pocket, and watch the junk roll out and the money roll in:
Start Planning Early
Keep an empty box or two on each level in your home. Throughout the year, as you clean out your closet seasonally, find little odds and ends and organize the kids' playroom, toss things in the box that you want to get rid of. This will save you lots of time and energy the week before your planned yard sale. When yard sale season rolls around, you won't have to scavenge your house for items to sell at the last minute. You will have boxes of items already waiting to be priced and sold.
Remember The Saying "One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure"
Before you toss something in the trash because you "don't think anyone could possibly want this old thing," remember the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." People will buy anything and everything at yard sales. They come to sales ready to find treasures, and are more than willing to spend a few dollars on that old ceramic plant pot you've had in your garage for 10 years than to go to the store and buy one brand new.
If your community has an annual neighborhood sale, participate in it! Block sales and neighborhood sales will bring A LOT of traffic to your sale. If your neighborhood doesn't have annual sales, ask family members or friends to participate in your sale. The more people you have involved means more items to sell. The bigger your sale looks to a passerbyer, the more likely they will be willing to stop and browse. If you have two tables set up in your driveway, they might just do a drive by to see if anything stands out. If you have multiple families selling and 5-10 tables, your sale instantly becomes much more desirable.
Spending a few dollars to advertise your yard sale in your local newspaper will benefit you greatly. Yard sale "hopping" is a sport that people take seriously. Many hoppers will plan their Saturday by mapping out a route of yard sales in or around their area. They search the yard sale section in the newspaper and look for the biggest and the best. So make sure to advertise what type of items you will be featuring. And definitely mention if your sale will be a multiple-family sale.
Don't wait until the night before to organize your items for your yard sale. Start at least a week in advance. Organize your items into groups of similar content. This will make things immensely easier on you when you're setting up at the crack of dawn on yard sale day.
- Make sure you have plenty of change - at least 20 one dollar bills and a few rolls of quarters, dimes, and nickels.
- Have extra price stickers on hand.
- Have a stash of plastic shopping bags to place sold items in.
- Purchase a plastic table cloth roll to cut and throw over your tables in case you get caught in the middle of a summer rain shower.
People HATE asking for prices at yard sales. They are more inclined to purchase things if you have price tags on all of your items. If they see a price, they can decide if they want it or ponder what they want to offer you for it. If you don't have anything priced, they are more likely to walk away than to ask for a price, because they don't want to feel like they are being put on the spot to make a decision in front of you.
When pricing items, a good starting point is 30% of what the item originally cost (as long as it's in good condition). It's always best to price slightly on the higher side, because many people will try to bargain the asking price. Mentally prepare how low you are willing to sell your items for ahead of time, so that you aren't put on the spot in the middle of a bargaining session.
Know Your Customers
There are two types of yard sale hoppers: those who are looking for specific items (like antiques, records or old jewelry or collectibles) and those who just like to browse and search for treasures. Don't be surprised if the first type shows up at your sale an hour before it starts and begins digging through your boxes as you are setting things up. While this might seem forward and be slightly frustrating to you, remember that a sale is a sale.
Put Effort In Your Presentation
This is probably the most important piece of advice when it comes to hosting a successful yard sale. How many times have you been to a yard sale where items were tossed on the lawn and you had to dig through boxes of random things? If your items look like trash on the curb, they will sell as well as trash on the curb. Borrow or rent folding tables from your local fire hall. Organize your similar items and give each table a theme. Have a table for home goods, another for toys and one for shoes. Place old sheets or tablecloths on your tables to make your displays look clean bright. Display jewelry and fine items on stands and small racks to make it more appealing.
- Wash clothing before your sale. Just simply freshening it up and removing wrinkles will make it much more desirable.
- Organize clothing on tables by size and style and in sections of men, women and children.
- Instead of pricing every clothing item individually, consider making signs with one set price for pants, shirts, sweaters, etc - unless otherwise marked.
- Keep an eye out for department stores that are going out of business. If you can get your hands on an old clothing rack, you can display your clothing in a much more efficient way. This will make it immensely easier to keep your clothing organized throughout your sale and make it browse-friendly.
Make Cleanup a breeze
When the day draws to an end, separate the unsold items into two categories: things you want to keep for your next sale and things you want to get rid of. Immediately take the boxes of items you want to get rid of to your local Goodwill. This will prevent clutter in your garage, and make room for new items for future sales.
Photo credit: With A Red Bird On My Shoulder