My sister and I have an almost annual yard sale. It always begins with us wanting to do it but wondering if we have enough stuff, and ends with us hauling vanloads away after the sale, even when we sold a lot. There seems to be no end to the amount of stuff we own that we don’t need or really want. I’ve been helping to run yard sales since I was at least 12 years old, and I’ve picked up an idea or two along the way.
Here are my tips for a great yard sale:
1. Have Fun: There are those who say a yard sale will never yield enough cash to be worth the time you put into having it; sell online instead. Personally, I have made more money selling at yard sales that online, but even if I hadn’t, I’d prefer it. If I look at it as an hourly wage and divvy it up amongst all the time I spent amassing stuff plus the time spent at the actual sale, it wouldn’t amount to much. If I look at the time spent gathering stuff as time I’d put into organizing my home any way and remember that a lot of the hours I spent at the sale were spent schmoozing and picnicking, plus I walked away with some cash, it’s a whole different story. If it’s going to be a chore to you, then don’t do it.
2. Have a staging area: If you have boxes piled in the middle of your house, the yard sale thing is going to get old fast. I cleared off half of my sunporch for this sale, and that has worked out very well. A spot in the garage or spare room could work well, too, if you have them.
3. Have lots of stuff: Stuff attracts shoppers. It’s great to have several people contributing to the sale. If you’re having trouble parting with something, assure yourself that you can always bring it back home if it doesn’t sell. Think of it as a way to edit your possessions. My sister and I eyed our massive pile with dismay throughout the yard sale, imagining picking it up, but when we went to put the unsold goods away, we found it really was much less than we had originally brought. There will always be a good amount that won’t sell; that’s just how it works.
4. Don’t sell gifts: It really, really stinks when you put something in a yard sale only to have your sister reclaim it because she gave it to you as a gift. :[ It really stinks. I would never do it unless I forgot that it was a gift. Forgetting really, really stinks.
5. Don’t price too low: my Dad used to have a rule that nothing was priced under a quarter. That was 20 years ago. If you have a valuable item, ask a reasonable price for it. If someone really wants it, they’ll buy it. Also, many yard salers love to dicker about prices, so it doesn’t hurt to have a little room in your pricing.
6. Realize that people buy everything: I’ve sold spent candles with soot on the side and scraps of fabric and things people couldn’t identify but just had to have. If the people want it, who am I to deny them?
7. Don’t talk about customers: We’ve had some interesting customers, to say the least. Naturally, if one of our group is absent when these characters come through, we want to tell them about it, but do it when there is a lull in business. When customers here you talking about other customers, they may wonder if you will laugh at them after they leave. It’s just unpleasant.
8. Sell for at least two days: we usually sell on Friday and Saturday. It’s easier to ask a good price when you have the next day to bring it down. We don’t do as well on Fridays, but we do well enough.
9. Pick a good location: my house is near the end of a dead end street in a town of 700. Not a good location. Fortunately, we have some friends in a small city that live right off of Main Street, and we always do well selling from their yard.
10. Promote: Absolutely put signs up at both ends of the street. I also list our sales on Craigslist. Not sure if it helps, but it can’t hurt.
Any yard salers out there? What are your best tips?