Your Guide to a Successful Yard Sale:
Clean Your House and Make Some Cash
There’s truly no better example of the adage “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” than a yard sale. And if you’ve been dying to Marie Kondo your house, this is the ideal time to host a yard sale and make a little money for your summer fun. Here’s your complete guide to getting the most bang for your buck.
Before the Sale
- Team up
A sale that includes other families or neighbors is bound to draw more traffic so ask around to find others who want to participate in a multi-family sale.
- Advertise: The old-fashioned strategy of putting signs around the neighborhood is one of the best ways to seek traffic, but you also should spread the word on social media channels like your town’s Facebook or Nextdoor page.
- Assess Value: Make no mistake: Yard “salers” are looking for bargains and aren’t going to value your collectibles or designers goods as high as you think they should. So before you put something special out, search around on sites like Poshmark for clothes and shoes, or Glyde for tech gadgets. Use these resources to see if you might garner more money in a specialized forum. However, don’t neglect to account for the added hassle of listing, corresponding with the buyer and shipping the item.
- Organize: The best way to ensure you don’t go crazy getting your sale ready is to group things by type and then give a blanket price. So, for example, you might list books at a quarter apiece or children’s’ clothes at $1 an item. If some items are of obvious better quality, you can consider a tiered approach with different color stickers. This complex system is not recommended if your ultimate goal is to simply to get rid of stuff.
- Display Your Items (Attractively): It’s all about organization and space management. If clothes are in a heap or books are piled up, a shopper may not be interested. In fact, a messy display could deter someone from even stopping his car. If you do make the effort to create a nice display, expect things will get out of order over time.
You can stay organized by supervising the merchandise throughout the sale. In fact, a good idea at the start line up some display structures. You can borrow boxes or bins, or hanging racks for clothes, and create ample table space to spread items out. This will make your “store” pleasing for the buyer, and easier for them to check out your goods.
Day of the Sale
- Be Ready: Yard “salers” are typically early birds so even if you say your sale starts at 8, they might start arriving at 7:30. You can be gracious and allow them to start viewing your items. However, it is perfectly fine to request they wait until you are ready. It can be challenging to avoid long conversations that could distract you from getting your items ready…try to stay focused and alert, sometimes theft can happen when you are distracted.
- Be Careful: Plan to keep your attention up all day. Professional thieves can easily team up to distract and take items of value. Your best bet is to have multiple family members or friends help out. One can oversee sale items and organize the merchandise display. Another friend could answer questions and manage the money. And with safety always a priority, don’t let anyone into your house to use your restroom.
- Have an Extension Cord Handy: If you have small appliances like blenders or fans, guests will want to see if they work but you don’t want them traipsing into your house to try it out.
- Prepare to Bargain: People are always going to ask for a little less, and you might be willing to accept those offers if your goal is just to get everything out of the house. Your best strategy is to make a concession when people are buying multiple items. This helps to clear out the merch more quickly, rather than just making less.
- Offer Bags or Boxes: You want them to take more goods off your hands. Providing a tote or box makes it easy for them to pack up their treasures.
- Have Change Ready: You’re going to want to have lots of $1 bills at the beginning so you can easily make change if they pay for a $4 item with a $5 bill. Of course, you can make your transactions simpler by pricing things in easy increments. However, you don’t want to overcharge where it’s not warranted.
After the Sale
- Do Not Bring Leftovers Back In: If all your items don’t sell, you might be tempted to bring it back in…and almost inevitably it will then find a home. Don’t be tempted! Put the items in your car immediately and take them to a donation site so that they can become someone else’s treasure—and you can take the tax write-off.
- Treat Yourself: Yard sales can be exhausting so use some of that hard-earned money and treat yourself to take out or prepared meal! You deserve it!