Tuesday, April 7, 2015

YARD SALE 102: Tips for Yard Sale Success (IF You Must Have One)

Look at the beautifully organized and clean garage!

Welcome to YARD SALE 102: Tips for Yard Sale Success

Notice that I qualified that title with IF You Must Have One. You can check out the previous post to see my druthers about hosting a yard sale. Now, that makes it sound like fun, instead of sheer hard work.

I have to admit, using the tips below, the yard sale my husband and I just put on a few weeks ago was the least stressful and most productive one I've ever had. I kid you not.

Usually, for the yard sales that have inhabited our life, you would find me pricing, sorting, stacking, cleaning, pricing, storing, digging for hangers, stealing tables, paying for ads, and so on. Plus more pricing. I think it is the pricing that I detest the most.

Yard sales have two benefits.

1. Yard sales bring in a little (sometimes a lot) of cash. One can never have too much money. At least no one I know has too much.

2. Yard sales provide the perfect outlet for cleaning out the stuff - garage, cupboards, closets, toy boxes, attic, and storage units.

Let's embrace yard sales as a sometimes-necessary-evil.

Here are the tips that led us to experience yard sale success with a minimum of stress.

~ Attitude check: Just do it. Get some money at least for letting strangers paw through your junk. We almost failed this first step, until my friend said, "Just do it. Better they pay you to haul off your stuff than you get nothing for hauling your own junk."

~ Don't pay for an ad. We live in the perfect neighborhood for this to work. We set up tables, put the sign at the end of the road and one at our driveway, and we were in business. Of course, this works well for busy streets. Use free online ads if you must. Two signs. Free. That was it.

~ Get plenty of change. We had lots of quarters, dimes, dollars, and small change. Once you see our pricing, that will make more sense. Or should I say cents?

~ Keep that new yard sale mindset going. Don't price small stuff. Just label tables. We had 10 cent tables, 25 cent tables, $1 tables, and the rest of the big stuff was tagged with a negotiable price. (Of course we didn't say that we would accept less. We just knew we didn't want to haul any of it away. 3 bucks instead of 5 bucks? Sure. It's yours.)

~ Notice the joy on the face of customers as they see how cheaply you have organized your stuff. One lady was so happy, she bought several bags of our former belongings. "You have great prices! There is another yard sale on such and such street and they have really high prices and what they have is garbage." Let it go. Don't stress.

~ Yes, I'm sure some people mixed up things from the quarter, dime, and dollar tables. I told myself early and often, "Who cares?" Get rid of it! This attitude served me well during the yard sale. I really didn't care. Just take it.

~ Have a stash of grocery sacks, boxes, and newspapers. Help fill boxes and wrap breakables with newspaper. I think I earned a few extra nickels and dimes by being a great checker. Several customers were so happy they told me to keep the change. Nice, huh?

~ Be flexible with your hours. Since we didn't have a paid ad, we could do what we wanted. What we wanted was to have only one day for the sale.

Day 1: On Friday, we had a leisurely morning setting up everything on the tables and driveway. Wow. We were done by noon. So I told my husband to go put out the signs. We started a yard sale at 12:00! We had plenty of customers. Business slowed down about 3 o'clock, so we closed and went for a hamburger with the earnings.

Day 2: We opened by 8. Again, since there was no ad, early comers did not drop in at 6:30 AM to be the first to grab the goods. We had a booming business on Day 2, as it was Saturday. Non-stop traffic. Stuff practically flew off the tables. See? No stress. It was going. We were building our cash supply. Still, we were tired and wanted to be done. About 9:30, we brought out the best deal yet.

~ Buck a bag! Yes. I stood at the gate and announced that we had the $1 a bag sale going on. At 9:30 AM. People were pleasantly shocked. I could tell by their faces. At that point, we were really getting down to the junk, since we had fantastic prices, most of it was gone. Now we were taking minimal payment for them to haul off things they would not ordinarily pay for. If it fits in the bag, they were willing to take it home. Out of my house. Gone. And they paid me to do it! HAH.

Things were quite hectic but bags and bags of items were carried away by happy customers. So many people, so much stuff gone.

~ When we were literally down to not much at all, mostly books, there was a very short lull. Nobody was in our yard. The husband said, "Let's be done." I replied, "Excellent. Go get the sign."

And that was it. We packed up a few meager boxes, loaded the truck, cleaned off the driveway, swept out the garage, and got rid of the remainders.

Sweet, sweet yard sale victory.

If I ever need to have a yard sale again, and I am working on avoiding that possibility, I will repeat these strategies.

No stress. Let it go. Keep it simple.

Oh, such a nice clean yard - after the yard sale.

Check back tomorrow for YARD SALE 103.

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