Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Yard Sale Advice

I recently had my first yard sale. I had been trying to decide off and on for a few weeks if I really wanted to do it, when I wanted to do it, and how hard core I wanted to do it. Since I had been thinking about it, I had been gradually gathering things to sell.
Then, one Friday night I was looking at Craigslist for other sales and found out my neighbor was having one! Perfect. It's gotta be good to have a neighbor doing one since you can get each others business. I quickly got to work on making it happen the next day (even knowing my in-laws were coming in town that day)...

I recently asked in a post what are some of your best tips for yard sales? I got some helpful tips from there, and some good ones from the Today Show a while back as well. Here's what worked for me:

Leading up to the sale:

I had already spent time (very small amounts here and there) in the weeks (and months, really) leading up to this day gathering things that I would want to sell. I would put them with like things and was collecting them all in one spot of the house (the basement) for this such occasion.

The night before the sale:

I listed my sale on Craigslist with address, date, time and somw of the main items or categories of items I knew I would put put.
I went to the bank to get some small bills and change.
Then I went to Wal Mart and picked up some bright neon poster board (when I am out looking for sales, I LOVE it when the signs are bright, big enough to see before I am at the turn and with writing big enough to actually read. The signs can really make me want to visit a sale or not, so I knew what I wanted here!).
I also bought the price stickers because I hate having to ask about every didn't take too long and was worth my while in the end.
After the kids were in bed, I pulled all of these items right up to the front door, ready to go out the next morning.
Then I sorted through the items, pricing each item (or group of items) at what I would want to pay for the item at a sale.
I made sure again that all like-items were together so that the process of putting stuff out in the morning would be quick (and thoughtless, since it was going to be early!).
I made my posters to go on some street corners. Where we live there are so many different ways to get to our house, but I chose just a few of the main intersections to mark (and it helped that our neighbors put signs out too, so this doubled our chances). I would have hung them that night as well, but there was a good chance for rain and storms, so I had my posters and staple gun ready by the door for the morning.
Made sure to have everything together by the front door, ready to go for the morning.

The morning of the sale:

I asked my neighbors (who were already out getting their stuff on the lawn as well) where they put their signs and then left to quickly hang my signs around the neighborhood streets and busy intersections.
While I was away, my husband starting taking out tables (helpful to not have to make everyone bend to the ground for all items) and then all of the items that were to be sold. This was easy for him since I had already grouped things.
One thing to note: I put cheap "tablecloths" on my tables so people would not assume they were for sale.

During the sale:

I had bags (from when I forget my reusable bags at grocery stores) available for people to take things home.
I had a calculator for quick addition of items to be bought. No need to think too hard early in the morning.
I wore an apron with front pockets in it so that I would not have to have a cash box and different items sitting out (looking sloppy and not being readily available). I kept my small bills and some change, ready for transactions, and also kept my calculator in here so it was close by at all times.
I made sure to greet/talk to everyone that came by. It helps to make conversation and find the balance between making them feel welcomed and making them feel like they can't look at/think about what you have available. I didn't want to feel overbearing since I am more of a "just let me look" shopper.
I would go lower on a price (but previously decided on how low I would go on some bigger items so I would get caught in the moment and go lower than I was willing), but I was also willing to make a counter offer if I felt the offering price was too low.
I would give a discount if someone was buying more things, especially like items, or if someone was looking for a while and I thought a slightly lower price would help them make a decision. For most things, I would rather have it gone and get some money for it, than to just take it back inside at the end of the day.
I visited the sale next door (nothing to do with hosting a sale except convenience, and theirs was to raise money for a trip so I felt helpful by buying jeans for $.50 from them!).

After the sale:

Decided what I just wanted to get rid of quickly (books, lots and lots of books) and put these in the van to go to a local store that buys books.
Took everything else back down to the basement for a future sale at some point. I feel less cluttered with this stuff out of the way, so I didn't want to try to incorporate these things back into daily usage.
General cleanup of the front of the house.

We made close to $200. Not amazing, but not bad either. And it was close to $200 more than we had before. It was worth it! The weather was beautiful! My toddler slept through most of it, and played with some toys we had out for sale for some of it. And my baby just laid around lazily, taking it all in I suppose. Glad I did it. Wouldn't want to do it every week, but would definitely do it again when the time is right.

1 comment:

  1. I just had my first one this spring too, and followed a lot of the suggestions you did. I found a lot of info online that was helpful. I'm gearing up for one in the fall from the things that were left and new things accruing. What was great was I decided with the $378 I earned (mostly my son's baby things) that it would go back into special things for him, like music classes at daycare, swimming lessons, and we even got a refurbished DVD player out of it. One thing I'd do differently is not advertise the $30 in the paper probably. That's a lot of my earnings too.