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After last week's wildly-successful yard sale, a number of you wrote and asked for tips on having a successful yard
sale. Here are just a few things which have worked well for me over the years:
1. Always be collecting stuff. Now before you think I'm advocating a Pack Rat mentality, let me explain: I've found that the easiest way to pull off a successful yard sale is to always be collecting stuff for your next sale. Don't wait until three days before you're planning your sale to start
going through your house. Instead, start a box in your basement or
garage or some place out of the way and when you discover an item you
no longer need or use or like, give it away immediately or stick
it into a Yard Sale Box.
Keeping our home paired down and clutter-free not only saves time and effort (since I'm not having to pick up, put away, and clean things we no longer need or use), it also makes me much more efficient. There's something about working in an organized and decluttered space which just breeds productivity!
Instead of having to walk by an item I don't need, use, or love repeatedly
for months thinking "I'll sell that in our next yard sale", I already have a place to stash it. Plus, having a Yard Sale Box gives me an incentive to constantly be on the lookout for items which
we are no longer using or loving and to free myself from this clutter!
So designate a Yard Sale Box and start filling it up! When one box is full, begin another. And, if you're like me, you'll find that with very little effort, you'll soon have a nice collection of stuff waiting to sell.
A few weeks before we're planning to have our yard sale, I pull out all the yard sale boxes and organize and price these items. And then I go through my entire home from top to bottom–a few rooms per day–and come up with every possible additional item which we no longer need, love, or use on a regular basis and add these to the yard sale boxes as well. By breaking it up into bite-sized pieces like this, I'm able to come up with many items to sell, but it's not such a daunting task.
2. Plan ahead. I learned the hard way with a garage sale I did a few years ago that you can never plan ahead too much. At the last minute, I had
so many loose ends left to tie up and ended up running myself ragged. So, at least a few weeks before you have your sale, start
pulling things out of boxes and organizing them, start pricing things,
and start thinking about how you will set everything up.
is especially good to do if you are in a new location or have never
done a yard sale by yourself before. At least a week before the sale, make
sure you have everything priced and organized in tubs and bins and
boxes. A few days before the sale, set up as much stuff in your garage as
you can. Figure out what you will be using for signs, where you will
put them, make sure you have plenty of cash on hand to make chance, figure out how you will market your sale, make sure you have enough help, designate someone to put out the signs early in the morning the day your sale begins, have snacks and drinks on hand for your own sustenance, and purchase a license if your locality requires it.
more organized you are, the easier it will be when you actually have
your sale, and the less scrambling around the morning of your sale you'll do. It will make it much easier for your
customers to buy things if you are organized and ready to go when you
open your sale.
3. Pair up with a friend or two or three. One of the best ways
to ensure a successful yard sale is to join ranks
with a friend or two or three! Not only will you have more stuff to sell and
variety in what you're selling, but you'll also have lots of fun and fellowship in the
process. Plus, you'll have more help in pulling it off.
4. Pick a good location. Location is one of the biggest keys to
a successful yard sale. Hold your sale somewhere where there sizable
amount of traffic throughout
the day–preferably close to some busy intersections. If your home is
pretty off the beaten path, consider holding your sale at a friend or
relative's home. There's no point in having everything organized and
lots of great stuff to sell if you don't have any traffic!
5. Pick a good time. I don't advise planning a sale in the freezing cold Winter or the blazing hot Summer. Choose a time of the year when the weather will be very pleasant and try to check the weather forecast ahead of time to make sure rain is not expected when you're planning your sale. In addition, find out what days of the week are best for yard sales to run in your area. When we lived in Kansas City, I found people usually only held sales on Friday and Saturday. However, where we live now, Thursdays are a big yard sale day and seem to garner the most traffic.
everything. I know it's easy to want to just stick a big sign on a table saying that everything on that table is a quarter, but I promise that it is much easier and much more efficient to go ahead and put price stickers on everything. Pricing everything will not only make things much simpler for you in the long run, but it will
likely increase sales because people will know how much (or little) something
I invest in the pre-priced stickers for most of my items as this makes things much easier for me when it comes to pricing and it's also very easy for customers to read. I try to have variety in pricing with plenty of $0.25 or less
items. I've found that when people pick up one thing to buy, they are more likely to pick up other things as well, so have lots of $0.25 items and it might help you sell some of your larger-ticketed items, too!
7. Price things to sell. When I
go to a yard sale, I expect to pay yard sale prices. That means that
unless something is brand-new with the tags on, I am not going to pay
more than a few quarters for it. When I am pricing my own items to
sell, I always try
to price things at what I feel would be a good bargain if I were buying
the item at someone else's yard sale. I'd rather price something on the
low end and have someone actually buy my item, then to have 25 people
pick up the item and put it
back down on the table because it is too expensive.
8. Advertise well.
The marketing of your sale is going to be the number-one factor in how well your sale does. So put some time and effort into making a number of quality, clearly-readable signs in conspicuous places which
easily lead to your home. Put as many signs in well-trafficked areas as possible.
Also, consider advertising in your paper or a
free local newspaper. In different areas, advertising in the paper is
very helpful. Other times, it is not necessary if you have good traffic
and good signage. Experiment and see what works best. Above all, have
very presentable and attractive signs–a sloppily-thrown together sign
is not very inviting!
I have also found advertising on Craigslist to be very effective. I usually advertise the day before the sale and then re-post a revised ad each day of the sale. Again, make sure your ad is well-written, clearly-understandable, and inviting.
9. Don't forget the cookies and lemonade!
What better way to teach your children entrepreneurial skills and let
them earn a little money in the process than to have them set up their
own little cookie and lemonade stands at the sale? Or, if it's cold
outside, try selling hot chocolate, coffee, and fresh cinnamon rolls.
One yard sale, we even set up a pancake griddle and sold pancakes hot
off the griddle on Saturday morning.
Those are just a few things which I've found to be a great help in hosting a successful yard sale. What are your best tips for having a great yard sale? I'd love to hear!