It’s nearing the end of May and, for the majority of us, the tedious task of spring cleaning is behind us. Junk drawers are organized, unwanted clothing and shoes have been boxed up, you can finally walk through the garage without tripping over something and the kids have handed over toys that are no longer played with. You were just about to breathe a sigh a relief when it hit…the big question. What are you going to do with all the bags and boxes of items that you no longer want?
Well, how about having a yard sale one weekend! Yard sale season is here and, once Memorial Day hits, it’s peak time to have one. You’ll get rid of the items you don’t want and make some extra cash. Okay, so the thought of having a yard sale frightens you a bit. You’ve never hosted one. No need to fret. Over the weekend I took a little break from work and spent some time hitting up some rather large yard sales. I had a chance to talk to a few folks who know a thing or two about having a successful yard sale.
Having a yard sale requires some planning. Keeping your eye on the 10 day forecast should be included in that planning. A rainy day will put a huge damper on your yard sale. Very few people venture out in the pouring rain and most people will cancel last minute. Weather.com is a great source to keep updated on the weather.
The bigger the yard sale, the more traffic. If you’re friendly with the neighbors, ask if they’re interested in joining forces. Some of most crowded yard sales are the neighborhood ones where a dozen or so houses are participating. Keep the advertising costs down by splitting it amongst those that are joining in.
Unless you plan on having a yard sale every weekend, the only thing you need to advertise is poster board, a Sharpie marker and a staple gun or stake (depending on how you’re going to display your signs). Make sure arrows are going in the right direction and the address is large enough so people can read it from their car. Nothing is more irritating than having to get out of your car to read a yard sale sign.
It’s a yard sale. These are unwanted items from your home. This, however, does not give you a green light to just throw things in piles on the lawn or table regardless of the condition. The best yard sales are the ones that are neat, clean and organized. If it’s dirty, wash it. If it’s broken, throw it away. Old clothes might have a slight odor, wash them. Selling an old computer or appliance? Make sure to have a means close by so a potential buyer can check to see if it works. It’s okay to sell items that might need a little TLC, however, be honest about it. Make it clear what’s wrong with the item. You certainly don’t want an angry knock on the door the next day. Yes, people do this.
Pick a time and make sure you are open for business. If you put 9 a.m. on the sign, don’t be setting up at that time. Be ready. The majority of people I spoke to said the earlier, the better. Be prepared for those die hard yard sale enthusiasts (early birds) to show up a half hour before you open. On average, most people run between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Make sure everything is clearly priced. You can put individual prices on each item or have a table with a sign that states that everything on that table is $1.00 each. However you choose to do it is fine. One of the biggest frustrations of those that frequent yard sales is having to ask how much an item is. This especially holds true if they have to wait. I have actually left items that I wanted to purchase because I couldn’t find anyone to ask. A lot of people who go to yard sales are trying to get in as many as they can in an afternoon. They don’t want to wait.
This is a yard sale and the whole point is to get rid of stuff. After all the work you put into it, you don’t want to have to carry things back inside or have to contend with leftovers. Keep that in mind when pricing items. Don’t mark a porcelain poodle $50 because your long lost relative gave it to you for your sweet 16. No one cares about that. To them, it’s just a porcelain poodle and they won’t pay $50 for it. Also, if you’re getting rid of a tea set that you paid $100 for, you’re not going to get $100 for it. You’ll probably get $20 at best. Be prepared for those that want to bargain with you. It’s up to you whether you lower the price, but if it’s an item you want to get rid of, take a few dollars off. It’s better than having to put it back in the garage or basement.
Last, but not least, make sure to have enough change. That goes way beyond scooping the coins from the bottom of your purses. Most people get paid on Fridays and their wallets are stuffed with larger bills on Saturday when they shop yard sales. The best thing to do is go to the bank and get lots of ones, fives and quarters. To be safe, get between $100 and $200 worth of change.