Family, FUN, House & Home, How To, Money & Finance August 14th, 2007
It’s That Time of Year
I’m a little late in posting this article, but we’ve still got at least 2 more months of yard sale season left, if not more. This comprehensive guide will give sellers everything you need to know to put on a successful yard sale, and for buyers, everything you need to know to make the most of yard sale shopping.
Buyer Yard Sale Tips: Smart Bargain Shopping
1. Bring ample change. Bring lots of small bills and coins.
2. Go Early if you are looking for antiques or you just want to get the best stuff available.
3. Know what you are looking for. If you will be hitting several yard sales in one day, this can help ensure you get to all of them in a timely manner.
4. Parents of young children: yard sales are a GREAT place to find books, toys, and clothes for kids. Clothing is usually in good condition, and young children really don’t care if a toy is a little worn looking.
5. Call the day before to find out what they have if you are looking for something specific.
6. Plan your route. Map out all the yard sales you’ll attend and pick the most efficient route to save time and gas!
7. Always bargain. You’ve got nothing to lose. You can always pay the full price if they don’t want to come down in price, and who knows you may just get it for less!
8. If you really want something, don’t leave it over a small difference in price because it will probably sell.
9. Go Late. There won’t be as much selection, but you’ll be sure to get a real bargain or even some freebies!
Seller Yard Sale Tips: Hosting a Mega Successful Yard Sale
- Spread the word. Tell friends, coworkers and family and invite them to spread the word. Email is good for this.
- List your yard sale in as many places as possible: newspaper, craigslist, penny saver local papers, and posters at community centers such as the Post Office, supermarket, etc.
- Get Permission. Check to see if you need a license from your town and if you live in a community or condo association, check to see if you need to follow any rules. Ask about where and how you are permitted to put up signs. Ask about rules about parking.
- Make good posters. Make them ahead of time. Don’t just do a rush job. Make them big and clear. Use poster paint or large markers if you can. Some ideas for posting: nails that can be removed later, wire to hang over fences, wrapping or duct tape, or attach to wooden spike to place in the ground.
- Set up your sale the night before. Have as much set up as possible so you’ll be ready to go in the morning. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to set up. Depending on how much stuff you have it can take a while.
- Label prices the day before. Large items should have large labels. Really small things can be sold in groups (i.e. 4 for $1). Make it easy for you and for your buyers.
- Consider offering an Early Bird time for dealers. Have your collectibles and antiques ready. Research ahead of time to ensure you get a good price for valuable things. If something is really valuable, you can always sell it later. Don’t give things away. Your big ticket items will provide the bulk of your earnings.
- Have Furniture to sell. Furniture draws a crowd. If you don’t have a lot of furniture to sell, consider asking your friends if they have any that they would like to sell at your yard sale.
- Merchandise your stuff. Organize items into categories. Display them like you would see in a store. Dust them off. Tidy up your yard. The nicer your stuff looks, the more likely you will be to sell it.
- Join forces with friends or neighbors. A bigger yard sale will draw more people. If you don’t have a lot of stuff, consider a joint yard sale with others. If you do this make sure you work out ahead of time how you will handle money issues.
- Parking. As noted above find out ahead of time from the police where people are allowed to park.Be sure to put up signage advising buyers where they can park.
- Money & Security. It’s best if everyone involved with the money can have a fanny pack with a few different pockets. Don’t leave money out in a money box. Be aware of the security of your home and children. Yard sales are a nice homesy tradition, but don’t let that give you false comfort that everyone who visits is neighborly. Just use common sense. When making change for a large bill, have the buyer hold onto their large bill and then exchange the bill for the change at the same time so there can’t be any dispute over how much they gave you.
- Weather. Listen to weather forecasts. Try to choose a weekend with good weather, but be prepared for what you will do if it rains. And with the sun don’t forget sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. It’s a long day!
- Thoroughly search your basement, attack, garage and other storage areas for stuff to sell. You should prepare at least a week or two ahead of time, if not more. At my home, we have a place designated for yard sale stuff. We put things there all year and every year we have a big yard sale.
- What to charge? Price clothing cheap, especially adult clothing. (i.e. $2 for grocery bag full of clothes) If something is in good shape, you can apply the general rule of 1/3 of the original cost. Another rule of thumb, is to ask yourself “How much would I pay for this?” It the item is valuable, then do some research online on Ebay and Craigslist.org to determine pricing. If it’s very unusual you might want to contact an auction house for advice.
- In general regular weekends do better than holiday weekends, unless you live in a holiday area.
- Keep pets in the house. Some people are afraid of dogs.
- Keep a very close eye on small children. It can’t hurt to repeat this.
- Have a measuring tape handy so people can measure furniture to see if it will fit in their house.
- Have an extension cord ready to plug in items if buyers want to see if an item works.
- Have plastic grocery bags and larger garbage bags for people who purchase many things.
- Wheel and deal. The goal is to make money, but the other goal is to rid your home of stuff you don’t want or need anymore. Negotiate around the item’s value. Don’t let pride keep you from parting with something you really don’t want to hold onto.
- Take signs down when it’s all over.
- Donate clothing and low ticket items. Throw out broken stuff. Hold onto large ticket items that are worth over a certain dollar amount to sell at your next yard sale or to sell online separately via Ebay or Craigslist.
- Collapse on a nice soft chair, count your money, rest, and enjoy fun memories with friends and family.
What are your best yard sale tips? All comments big and small are very welcomed!
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