Have you decided that now is a good time to get rid of some of the stuff that’s been lying around your home? Maybe it’s part of your getting-ready-for-winter cleaning, or maybe you just have a lot of baby toys and no more babies. Whatever the reason, having a yard sale is a great way to clean house and make a few dollars, too.
Here are some great tips on pulling off a successful yard sale:
- Call it a “moving sale” or “estate sale.” Typically speaking, this implies there is more in the way of higher-quality stuff that will be sold (a yard sale/garage sale could just be unwanted hand-me-downs/flea-marketing-style stuff, while an estate sale typically includes furniture and newer items that just might not be worth moving).
- Advertise! Get images of your best stuff and go to Craig’s list and other local message boards, take out ads where people may be looking for yard sales/estate sales, and hang up signs where you can (brightly colored with easy-to-read descriptions and directional arrows). Provide the option that people can purchase early from the stuff you post on Craig’s List and you’ll reserve it for them for pick up the day of the yard sale. This way, buyers come out because they know the item they want is a sure thing and stay for other items you might have for sale.
- Create coupons/deals/etc. Offer some free items with a big purchase (make a section of free items from which people can choose). Provide popcorn or other refreshments that encourage people to stay. And if you really don’t want anyone inside your home, rent a port-a-potty for the event.
- Keep good hours. Friday – Sunday is typically yard sale time, and if you can, doing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 7 am to 3 pm would be ideal. You want to capture the working crowd on the weekend, but seniors and collectors will come on Fridays.
- Building supplies! Remember those 10 railroad ties that you don’t know what to do with? Or that big pile of bricks behind your shed that you aren’t going to use? Perfect items for a yard sale—advertise these so people know to bring a truck.
- You want to check to make sure things are cool with your local municipality. Typically it will be, but you may need a permit. Also, if you’re selling items that may cause harm (cribs from the 60s that don’t meet today’s safety standards), you may want to reconsider what you want to be responsible for.
- Set prices based on condition. Newer items or “new” items should be 50% off. Slightly used goods (1 or 2 years old) should be sold for about 25% of their retail price. Really used items? Sell at 10% of their retail cost.
- Consider inviting neighbors to hold a multi-family sale, thus attracting more buyers by increasing the likelihood that they will find something useful. Share the above tips with partners.
Remember that people come to yard sales to find deals. If you are trying to make back 80% of your up-front costs for what you are selling, you’re going to aggravate people and not sell many things. There are antique shops and eBay for collectors; yard sales are for those things you would rather not throw away but certainly don’t need to keep. Getting a few dollars for those items should be all you’re looking for—people remove this stuff from your property and give you money to do so. It’s a win-win.
Make sure to consider a yard sale as a fall cleaning tool. It’s really helpful to get rid of stuff and it puts a few dollars in your pocket right before the holiday season, something we could all use.