One great way to combat the clutter in your house – and make some extra cash in the process – is to hold a yard sale. Yard sales require proper planning in order to be successful. Thus we offer you this advice on how to organize one.
Decide on your yard sale location
The most common place to have your yard sale is of course in your yard. But there are other areas where you can have one, and you may want to consider them in order to get more traffic if your home is a little off the beaten path. Other locations could include:
- At a friend or family member’s home – If you don’t mind schlepping your stuff across town, you can hold your sale at a friend’s home that is on a busier road.
- At a church, school or other community venue – Make sure to get permission to hold your sale in the building or on the grounds at least a week in advance.
- Online – Yes, everything is moving to the Internet these days, and that includes yard sales. If you don’t want to worry about the weather and you don’t mind taking digital pictures of everything you want to sell, this is certainly a viable option.
* If you don’t think you will get enough traffic on your own, consider participating in a multi-family sale. Check your local paper for one that is already organized or get a few friends and neighbors together and start your own.
Apply for a yard sale permit if needed
Some cities require you to purchase a permit before you can hold a yard sale. Make sure to do this before your sale, since the price of the permit will most certainly be cheaper than any ensuing fines for not having one. Check with your city government for more details. Also, ask about restrictions as to when you can hold your sale – both date and time of day.
Choose the date and time
Once you’re done digging through the red tape, if need be, you can determine when you will have your yard sale. Most yard sales happen pretty early in the morning, hence that is the time when the people that cruise yard sales know to look for them. And common sense dictates that more people will be out and about on a warmer day with better weather. Depending on the local weather patterns, you will probably want to schedule your sale in the spring or summer.
Determine what you want to sell
What are you looking to get rid of – er sell? Think clothes you don’t wear anymore, children’s toys, dishes, books, house wares, CDs and music. Don’t worry if something is a little offbeat – say that gorilla shaped toothbrush holder. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure after all.
You could also include crafts or artwork that you’ve either collected or made yourself, and hungry shoppers will appreciate beverages and baked goods.
Price your items
There are two ways to price the items you put up for sale. You can leave the items unmarked and just think of ballpark figures, leaving them very open to haggling, or you can come up with exact prices and then affix them to the items with a tag or sticker or refer to them on a nearby sign. If you don’t want to be tapped on the shoulder every five seconds and asked, “How much does this cost?” you probably want to go with the sign and sticker method.
Advertise your sale
There are several ways you can advertise your yard sale. The one you should start with is word of mouth. Let everyone you know know the date, time and location of your sale and invite them to tell everyone they know. It may be helpful to tell them of some of the more fun, interesting or value priced things that you are selling.
A second way to advertise is online. You can place a free ad in the yard sale section on Craig’s List (It has a good potential readership, especially if you live in a decent-sized metropolitan area). Another option is a yard sale specific site like garagesalehunter.com. It is also free to post on many of these sites, and there is a built-in audience of yard sale bargain hunters. In fact, go ahead and post to as many free classified sites as makes sense for your area.
Note: Always be cautious when placing online ads. Be careful to only post pertinent information. You don’t want too much of your personal information floating around on the Web.
The third way to spread the word is in print. A week before your sale, place an ad in the local newspaper and in the community newsletter if you have one. If it is allowed, place fliers on neighborhood bulletin boards and on poles and mailboxes. (Don’t wallpaper the areas with fliers. One per location will do just fine and will lessen the chance of your signs being taken down.)
* Don’t place outdoor signs any longer than a week before your yard sale. People will get used to seeing them, and you risk them getting wet or falling down. Also, be sure to pick them up promptly after your sale
Prepare for Sale Day
Before you know it, it will be sale day. There are some things you need to do to get ready before go time. First of all, since customers will be paying in cash, you will need a good supply of change on hand. So stop by the bank and pick some up. Then put it in cash box. A metal one with a lock is a good idea. You can buy one at your local office supply store.
If you are selling a lot of clothing, you may want to put the items on hangers on a rack. It’s a lot easier for your customers to sort through them this way than if the clothing is in a pile. (Face it, anything you fold will not stay that way for long.) Since you can’t just run down to Target and pick up a clothing rack, you may need to improvise with a coat rack or drying rack – or try to get a real one from a department store that is going out of business.
After the sale
Unless you sold all of your items, you will need a plan to get rid of any leftovers. No, do not put them back inside so they can continue to sit around the house. Instead, donate them to Goodwill or try a local church group or other charity. If all else fails, there is always eBay (or a nearby dumpster).