Planning a Yard or Garage Sale

By May 10, 2012 No Comments

Need to get rid of some stuff? Whether you are cleaning out the garage or just getting rid of items that you no longer need, a yard or garage sale is a fun way to get rid of the clutter and make a little money in the process.

Most people hold yard and garage sales at their own house, but if you live in a quiet neighborhood, you may consider having your sale at another location. It is much easier to have a successful sale on a busy street because people driving and walking by see your wares from the street. If you have any friends whose yard would make a better locarion, see if you can hold the sale in their yard instead. Perhaps they might want to join you and sell some of their own stuff as well. Another good option is to hold your sale during a neighborhood block sale since shoppers will be in the area already.

Check with friends and see if any would be interested in sharing your sale with you. The more stuff you have to sell, the more attractive your sale will be to shoppers. If you are sharing your sale, you can also split the costs and work involved. Just make sure that items are tagged and sales are tracked so everyone selling stuff gets their share of the profit, or have an agreement for how the money will be split.

Advertise your sale as much as possible, using the local newspaper, social media, and online posting sites. Craig’s List is a wonderful resource (and it is free). List some of the items that you have in your sale so people looking for those things specifically will know to come. Along with placing an ad for your sale, pick some of the bigger items and make individual ads for them as well. Be sure to include photos with the ads. When people inquire about an item, arrange for them to come look at that item during your sale. Ads for free items tend to get a lot of responses, so if you have any items you want to give away, put ads up for them as well.

Early on the first day of your sale, place posters around the neighborhood with directions to your sale, being sure to place them on the closest busy streets. Make the posters large, colorful, and easy to see. You can use poster board or big pieces of cardboard.

Make sure your sale is easy to see from the street. If you are having your sale in a garage that sits in back of your house, put some items in the front yard to attract attention. The more people can see from the street, the more likely they will see something that will make them want to stop. If there is a chance of rain or if the day is really sunny, consider getting a tent. Not only will the tent help protect you and your merchandise from the weather, but it will also make your sale more visible. If you have stuff you want to give away, put a large clearly marked free box in front so people will stop to take a look at what you are getting rid of (and hopefully decide to shop too while they are there).

Make sure all of the items are clearly marked and be ready to bargain. Many garage sale shoppers are looking for a deal. Remember that at the end of the sale, you’ll be stuck with whatever is left, so if you don’t want to keep items or try to sell them after the sale, be negotiable and price them to move.

Consider selling beverages and treats. If you have kids, this is the perfect occasion for them to set up a lemonade stand. You can also sell other edible goodies like popcorn, sno-cones, ice cream bars, or cotton candy.

Be careful when you are having your sale that items you don’t want to sell are not accidentally parted with. Don’t let strangers in your house to use the bathroom (or if you do decide to let people in your house, watch them closely and make sure valuables are not in plain site). Put the more valuable items that you are selling where you can keep an eye on them, especially if they are small, like jewelry. While most people won’t take stuff, it just takes one bad apple to ruin a pie. If you do need to leave your sale unattended, make sure that any small valuable items are not where people can grab them.

I have had sales that were slow, so I just worked inside and came out when I had a customer. When I was not nearby, I left a note to leave money in my locking mail box if they wanted anything, and amazingly enough people did. However, I was not worried about any items getting stolen in that particular sale because everything that did not sell was going to be donated to Goodwill anyway.

Have plenty of change for your sale, but don’t keep it in plain view. If you have a cash box, keep a limited amount of change in your cash box, and have another spot (perhaps in the house) for extra change in case you run out. Don’t leave cash unattended.

There will always be items left over after a sale. If you have enough items, you can plan another sale. You can sell some of the more valuable items on Craig’s List or eBay. Consignment shops are another option. If you just want rid of the stuff, you can donate it to a thrift store. In fact, some charities will even come pick up your left over items for you after a yard sale. Another benefit to donating items is you can write off donations on your taxes.

Good luck on your sale. Hope it is a huge success!