In the warmer months, yard sales are a fun and easy way to de-clutter your yard and home while making some extra money. Easy as it may be, it’s not always as simple as displaying your wares on the lawn and hoping for a good turn-out. If you think gems like your great-aunt’s porcelain bear collection or your “antique” vacuum cleaner are all you need to attract the crowds, then these tips are for you. These simple additions and a little planning will ensure that your yard sale is a neighborhood hit.
Pick a good location
You will be surprised by how many people you’ll attract by simply being visible. Ideally, you should hold the sale at a location that is close to some main roads. If your home is at the end of a maze of twists and turns or in some hidden cul-de-sac, you might want to re-think holding it there. If this is the case, team up with a friend or family member who lives at a location that's easier to find. Bonus points if you enlist them to put their items up for sale too. Not only will you have a good spot and a bigger sale, but you will also have help organizing the event.
You have all seen it before - the chicken-scratch sign on a ragged piece of poster board pointing vaguely toward a neighborhood. Don’t just rely on the old cardboard sign. Free online advertising space is an even better resource for spreading the word about your sale. Try posting an ad on Craigslist under 'garage sale’ in the ‘for sale’ section. You might also have luck with posting pictures of your items on Instagram and Facebook. This is especially useful for big ticket items like furniture or antiques that you might have luck selling before the actual sale. Of course timing is everything, so be sure to get the word out at least a few days before the event.
Price your items beforehand
Take some time a few days before the sale to determine what you want to charge for each item. This will prevent shoppers from trying to haggle and save you from the difficult task of having to make up a price on the spot. Items should be priced with clearly marked labels on top of the item. You can find colorful, pre-priced stickers at most office and craft stores. These are usually color-coded, which is especially helpful in multi-family sales. As the shoppers pay, peel the sticker off and stick them to a notebook page so you can tally the results later.
Yard sale patrons aren’t there to furnish a starter-home. Odds are they are visiting in the hopes of finding an under-appreciated treasure or a bargain. It would follow that you should price your items fairly and fairly low.
As far as how to price, here’s a good rule of thumb: prices should be about ¼ to ⅓ of what they would cost as new. Of course, there are exceptions. You may have paid $300 for your designer shoes ten years ago, but all shoppers see is a used item that have had someone else’s feet in them. Remember, these are items that you would end up donating. It’s better to make a little profit than nothing at all.
Make your sale inviting
Just because you’re selling old, unwanted stuff doesn’t mean you can’t make it a fun experience. Invite shoppers in with balloons and refreshments. You will notice that a lot of people suddenly want to stick around when there’s donuts involved.
Just as well, you will draw more shoppers who actually want to go through your old stuff if you make it easy to browse. No one wants to go through a bin of dusty items or precariously stacked clothes. Take some time to make your items presentable. If you’re selling clothes, use a clothesline or shower rod to hang them for easy browsing. If you’re selling electronics, use a power strip so shoppers can test the items out.
Now all you have left to do is hope for nice weather. Good luck!