Mastering the Yard Sale

yard saleNow that you’ve done your spring cleaning, it’s time to get that extra stuff out of your house! And might as well make a little extra cash, and teach the kid’s something about economics, while you’re doing it. If you’ve never attempted a yard sale before, or even if you have, here are some great tips for getting it done in the most efficient way possible:

The Supplies

Make a list of all the supplies you’ll need ahead of time, so everything will be on hand when you need it. Collect it all in a box or bin:

  • Tables, tarps, blankets for displaying your items
  • Money organizer to put your money in. Got a kid’s cash register? That works great!
  • Cash for making change. Don’t forget to get some rolls of coins!
  • Display signs either bought or made from poster board. Neon is the best.
  • Tape, stapler, scissors for hanging signs and whatever little things come up, such as cutting threads.
  • Tags for pricing. If you don’t want to buy tags, painter’s tape works great.
  • Markers, pens for pricing and making signs
  • Boxes and baskets to display smaller items
  • Cleaning wipes for cleaning off the dust and dirt

yard sale suppliesAlso useful to have these on hand:

  • Extension cord so people can actually try out the electronics
  • Full length mirror so people can pull on those pants and try on the hat and see the whole outfit
  • A rolling wardrobe or long pole (old shower rod works) and two ladders to hang clothing
  • Hangars
  • Bags for your customers (paper and/or plastic)
  • Small boxes or bags for jewelry

Organizing Your Stuff

clothing binsWhile sorting through, it’s best to have a number of bins ready to receive different categories of items. So have a bin for books, one for kitchen items, another for knick-knacks. If you are selling a lot of clothing, sort by size and/or season. Don’t try to sell items that are broken or missing pieces or stained, especially if they are children’s items. Little chance they will sell and more chance for someone to complain. Clean items before you put it in the bin! If you organize on the back end, it will make the front end a lot easier and less time consuming!

Pricing Your Stuff

Not sure how to decide what to sell each item for? Well, you could go to a couple of yard sales yourself or you could do some clicking around on Craigslist. If you remember the original price, larger items can often go for about a third to half of what you bought it for and smaller items for a quarter to a third depending on what it is and its condition. Books are usually sold for $.50 to $2 unless it is a large book or a very nice hardback.

yard-sale-signAdvertising Your Stuff

You can of course advertise in any of the local print or online newspapers. You can advertise on Craigslist or Or you can put up signs around the neighborhood. I recommend putting signs at bigger intersections on something bright. And make sure you use big, bold lettering. No point to putting up signs that nobody can read! If you live on a small, tucked-away road, help people get there with directional signs. Also helps to have a box of free stuff (make a big sign) or food the day of. People will stop for both regardless of whether they planned to.

Set A Date and Times for Selling Your Stuff

Check the community calendar so your sale doesn’t fall on a big event date. Also avoid holidays. Beginning of the month after pay day is always a plus. Fridays are good if you have a lot of kids stuff and Saturdays are best if you have more household items. Set times, both beginning and ending. Eight to Four is fairly typical. If you don’t want the collectors there extra early, make sure to put that in your ads—No Early Sales! And make it one day only—two day sales are a waste of time! Decide what to do if it rains ahead of time.

yard sale storageSetting Up Your Stuff

If you have a long driveway, set things up toward the front. Nobody likes guessing what’s at the end of the driveway. Put big ticket items within eyeshot of the road. Display items neatly with some organization in mind—customers appreciate that and are more likely to buy. Instead of piling books in a bin, set them up with book ends on a table or on a small bookshelf. And put prices on everything. Don’t make your customer ask. If you are willing to haggle, then put “or best price” on the tag. You might also think about bundling things together. Rather than selling each fork and knife separately, make a set or sets.

Last But Not Least . . . Getting Rid of the Leftover Stuff

Decide what you are going to do with the stuff that doesn’t sell before the sale begins. You don’t want to bring that stuff back into the house! Try a resale shop or donate. Sometimes donation centers will pick up bigger items such as furniture.

And have fun! Enjoy being outside and get out of your chair and schmooze with your customers. Having a yard sale is a great way to meet new people!

Still feeling overwhelmed or just don’t have the time to get it all together? Just Ducky would be happy to help!


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