By the time anyone is ready for a yard sale, they’ve been accruing clutter for years. Most yard sales end up being a last-minute mish-mash of junk, yielding no profit. To avoid spending fruitless hours in the hot sun, here are 20 tips on how to manage a successful yard sale.
1. Check with your city government to see if you need a permit or license. Avoid getting shut down and fined.
2. See if neighbors want to participate.
Have a block sale to attract more visitors. Offer to refer traffic to their yard.
3. Make your yard sale easy to find. If you live off the beaten path, ask friends or family to borrow their yard. Put up balloons and clearly legible signs on posters with bright, contrasting colors. Scatter these at major intersections and in stores near your home. Post arrows at every turn in the neighborhood.
4. Advertise. Put a concise ad in classified papers (you will most likely pay by the word). Mention specific items to remove the impression of junk. You should start promoting the event a week or two in advance.
5. One or two days out, copy and paste keyword-rich descriptions and high-resolution photos to online sites such as Craigslist, Yard Sale Search, Garage Sale Hunter, Yard Hopper, and more. You can also use them to feel out the average asking price for certain items.
6. Use social media to make periodic updates about what’s still available.
7. Prime items for the big day. Nobody wants to wipe down your dusty discards or bend down to rummage through boxes of knick-knacks. Every item is worthy of a hanger, shelf, or table.
8. Organization is key.
Group items by logical themes and functionality. Make it easy to look for common necessities. Note seasonal valuables such as sports/camping/gardening equipment, pool floats, and patio furniture. In later months, winter clothes, holiday decorations, and space heaters should be front and center.
9. Emphasize value. Place highly sought-after items in front, like dressers or televisions. Do this throughout the day to avoid the appearance of scraps. This makes all the difference in the perception of hidden treasures versus leftovers.
10. If you’re willing to drop off items with a truck after the sale, make mention of it.
11. Enlist help from friends and family so you aren’t overrun with a throng. People have limited patience for waiting around to purchase used items. A smooth operation might even get your customers to recommend the sale to others.
12. Have incentives for passersby.
Put on a playlist, set out snacks, and offer water/treats for pets.
13. Price items ahead of the yard sale. Attach prices with removable stickers. Remember the goal is to get rid of these items, so don’t haggle over pricing. That being said, save your lowest prices for the end of the day, and use poster board to mark the slashes. Bargain hunters don’t care what you paid, they care what it’s worth.
14. Have a box of potential donations that you can offer at checkout. Whether you want to offer them free with purchase or let people fill up boxes for $5-10, it’s a crafty way to save you packing room or a trip to the donation center.
15. Check items before the sale. Be sure you haven't included something you want by mistake.
16. Have an electrical outlet and batteries so buyers can test appliances.
17. Have plenty of bags and newspaper for wrapping fragile items to take home.
18. Have your kids host a lemonade and cookie stand to bring in some extra cash. Younger kids and pets should stay with a babysitter during the yard sale.
19. Get enough change and keep a close eye on your cash. Keep it in a fanny pack so you don’t have to make trips inside. A cash box or envelope can be easily stolen. You should also store a calculator in the pack for quick transactions.
20. Use a notebook to mark how much you’ve made on each item. This will help account for your total at the end, or to attribute portions to your neighbors after a joint sale. Packing can be one of the most stressful, procrastinated parts of moving. Hosting a yard sale can reduce the clutter in your home and get rid of items you don't want to make the trip.
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