Thanks to $aving Towards a Better Life for this guest post:
Yard Sales are a great way to clear out some clutter and generate some extra cash. The best yard sale I’ve ever had was last year and I made over $250! I’m geared up this year to have another one! I came from a family of “yard sellers”. I’m pretty sure I’ve been through 25+ yard sales my whole life including the 6 I’ve done since moving out on my own.
Here is what I’ve learned:
- List your yard sale in your local paper and give GOOD directions!
- Make GOOD signs that look alike. I use hot pink posterboard. (You can find hot pink, electric yellow, neon green and fluorescent orange posterboard in the arts and crafts or school supply sections of most retailers.) Whatever you pick, make each sign the SAME color. That helps people looking for your yard sale to find you when they know what signs to follow.
- Make your signs BIG with thick BLACK lettering. List in your ad what color your signs are so people can spot them and follow them.
- Price EVERYTHING. Nothing is more annoying than having to ask how much everything is. Be reasonable with your prices. Remember, people who frequent yard sales are looking for a bargain. They are more likely to buy more when the prices are good. To me, it’s about getting rid of the stuff FIRST and what I make off of it second.
- The more you can spread your sale items out, the better. I hate yard sales where someone has 5 or six big boxes and you have to dig through them. Hang clothes up on a portable clothes rack, along a fence or makeshift clothesline. Set up tables to lay out smaller items so people don’t have to bend over to look through everything. Short on tables? Use your boxes! Flip them over and lay stuff on top. This is great for shoes or purses.
- Profit from the summer weather. Have a cooler with can sodas and bottled water. Sell for 50c each. If you have a stockpile of sodas and waters just use those. If you want, keep track of what you make from selling drinks separate and you can put that money back in your grocery budget.
- Have a rain plan. I always list “rain or shine” in the ad because I have a garage. Two years ago it rained on my yard sale day and I still made $120!
- Go in with a friend or neighbor who wants to sell stuff. Have a yard sale together.
- Have PLENTY of CHANGE. I start out with at least $30 in ones, $30 in fives, $10 in quarters, and $5 each in dimes or nickels.
- Offer a bargain. I always have a 10c box for all those things that don’t feel like it’s worth my time to price. T-shirts, belts, athletic shorts, tank tops, makeup bags, change purses, kitchen utensils, koozies, pot holders and socks are all things I’ve put in a 10c box before. I throw in boxes and put a sign on the box. (This is where I break my “spread everything out” rule. But I do make sure to group like items together.) Last year, I had a lady spend $2 on things from the 10c boxes. I always put magazines and books out as 25c each or 3 for 50c.
- Be prepared for haggling. Yes, you will put 50c on a pair of shorts and yes, some lady will ask you if you’ll take 25c. Give it some thought ahead of time about what you’ll waver on and what’s firm. Anything under $1 I will usually take what they offer me. Large items I usually price a little more so I can haggle. For example, last year we sold a pushmower. We wanted $60 out of. I priced it $75 so I could negotiate down. We ended up selling it for $65! Some people feel like they get a better bargain if they get you to come down on the price. If I had price the lawnmower $60 that guy would’ve still asked me to take $10 off. But I wouldn’t have because I wanted $60 out of it so I probably would’ve lost the sale. But don’t price too high or people won’t even ask.
- Push your merchandise! When customers arrive, greet them and ask if they are looking for anything in particular. If someone is looking through your collection of rock band t-shirts from the 80s that you’ve priced $1 each, tell them if they are interested in them they can have them for 75c each or buy 2 get 1 free. Tell the guy thumbing through the box of car magazine that he can have the whole box for $2. Be friendly. Chat. Point out some of your larger items. “Could I interest you in an area rug today?” You want to sell, they want to buy. Work with it!
- Remember to arrange for pick up of what is left if neccessary. I call the Hannah Home (a local mission center that runs several thrift stores) to come pick up around 3pm on yard sale day. I always have my yard sales from 6-2. (Yes, I like early birds.) I put in my newspaper ad and one my largest sign out on the highway) that everything is half price after noon. I’ve done this for 3 years and have GREAT success from it. People who see that come by after 12 for that reason. I’ve had morning shoppers to come back after lunch to get more deals. Usually after 12 your flow of customers will slow down. Now that I do the half price after noon I’m still getting a steady stream of customers!