How To Throw A Successful Yard Sale

Donating is great, but making money is better! These tips will help you attract customers, get rid of excess stuff, and best of all, make some extra money.

Books At A Yard Sale

Summer is the season of yard sales and bargain hunting. These tips will help you attract customers, get rid of excess stuff, and best of all, make some extra money!

Before you donate all those extra clothes/furniture/toys/electronics to the local thrift store, think about how much better it would be to have an extra $20/$50/$150 bucks in your pocket.

1. Assess The Mess

One man’s trash will always be another man’s treasure. Before you can throw a successful yard sale, you have to know what you’re working with. Clean out a closet, or set aside a portion of your basement or garage as an assessment area. Gather all the odds, ends, bags and boxes that you want to get rid of in that same area.

Do you have enough to fill a decent size table or cover a full-size blanket? You’ve got enough for a yard sale.

2. Label and Tag in Advance

The best part about garage sales is the fact that you can haggle on price. That’s how all the great bargains are scored. However, it helps to give shoppers a baseline to start from. If you’ve never thought about the price you want for your items, chances are you’ll feel pressured to accept the first (and probably very low) offer. If you don’t have time to tag each individual item, gather piles of like-valued stuff into groups, and post a single sign stating the price of that group.

Think about why you’re having the sale: Is it to eliminate clutter or make money? The reason will affect how you price things.

3. Provide Power

If you’re selling small household appliances, electronics, or toys, be sure to have some batteries and an outlet on hand so you can prove that they work. This helps to justify your price and reassures shoppers that you’re not selling junk.

4. Be Ready To Make Change

Yard sales are a cash only affair. But if you can’t break a $20, you’ll probably lose that $12 sale. Get a roll of quarters, a stack of twenty-five $1 bills, and a few $5 bills. Also, make a note of how much is in your bank before you start making sales, that way you’ll know exactly how much profit you’ve made when it’s all over.

Keep your change in a fanny pack or locked box during the sale, especially if you’re the only one taking money and making change. Some people are shady, and a coffee tin is too easy to swipe.

5. Announce Your Presence In Advance

Craig’s List has an extremely active yard sale category, and listing your sale a few days in advance will give the hardcore bargain hunters a chance to add you to their list. Be sure to include the address, hours that you’ll be selling, and descriptions/pictures of your big ticket items. Taking out an ad in the Friday edition of a local newspaper is also a good idea. Announce the sale to your friends on Facebook and other social networks.

Get your kids to create a few colorful-but-clear signs advertising the event and post them at cross-streets near your location a few days before the sale.

6. Strength In Numbers

If you’ve got a basement full of unused stuff, your neighbors are probably struggling with the same problem. Ask a few other families on your street if they’d like to create a joint sales event. The words “Multi-Family Yard Sale” are like cat-nip to the experienced bargain shoppers. Have the kids set up a lemonade or hot dog stand, and you’ve got an instant weekend of fun.

Have you ever thrown a successful yard sale? Share your tips in a comment! And stay tuned for Part 2: How To Be A Savvy Yard Sale Shopper

Image Credits: Flickr – EvelynGiggles | Nathan F

Written by Beth Buczynski


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