Thursday, October 01, 2009

Missing: One Living Room and Some Yard Sale Tips

Help! We can't find our living room!
Our living room is full of stuff to sell at our yard sale this weekend. We also have another pile of yard sale stuff in our shed that is just as big or bigger than the one you see above.

I would like to know:
1)Where did we get all this stuff?
2)Where have we stored it in this little house?

It's amazing, isn't it? The amount of stuff we can accumulate!

I'm praying for lots of people to show up on Saturday. Lots of people who will buy lots of stuff! The weather looks like it will be gorgeous!

From my experience, here are some yard sale tips:

  • Brightly-Colored Signs: Use the same color of posterboard for all of your signs. If your signs are uniform, folks will be able to follow them and know they're all for the same sale. (This is helpful, especially if you are located at the back of a neighborhood or off the main drag where many turns are required to arrive at your house.) Cardboard may be cheaper than posterboard but nobody can read a cardboard sign written in pen. So buy a couple sheets of brightly colored posterboard and a thick black permanent marker.
  • Easy-To-Read Signs: When making signs, keep it simple. Using that thick black marker, write YARD SALE (or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods) at the top. Underneath, write your address: 123 Smith Street. You do not need to list the town you are in, because hopefully, passers-by are already there.  Draw arrows on your sign and make sure they are pointed in the right direction. You can put the date on if you like which may be helpful if your neighbors tend to leave their old signs up for  a while. Do not clutter up your signs with a list of what you have to sell. The point of the sign is to get people to your sale. They can see your junk once they're there.
  • Be Ready: If you have advertised your sale or put signs up, be ready to sell. It's also a good idea, barring inclement weather, to stay open until closing time. Here in the South, a typical yard sale runs from around 7-noon. Where I grew up, yard sales run all day from 9-5. Find out what hours are good for sales in your location and follow suit.
  • Have Change: Plan ahead and make a bank run the day before your sale so you have some change on hand. You want to do business, so you want to be prepared. If you price everything in quarter increments, you only need some quarters, and some bills for change.
  • Price Your Items: Some folks love to make offers and barter for everything they find. Others are put off by no prices and will not ask. So it's a good idea to have most items marked. I normally will put a sign up for clothes prices since tagging every item of clothing is a bit ridiculous. And sticky tags fall off of fabric. I also like the simplicity of selling most articles of clothing at the same price. Small like items can be placed together in Ziploc bags and priced to sell as one unit.  You can still barter and negotiate prices with your customers, but having items priced will be easier for everyone!
  • Get Rid Of It: Since you're having  a yard sale, you obviously want to sell things and make money. So price things to sell! Being an avid yard sale shopper, I know about what I would (or did) pay for each item so I price accordingly. Of course, there are some bigger ticket items that you want to make a specific amount of money on, but generally speaking, be willing to lower your prices a bit so things will move. You may make a little less money that way but you will make more than if you priced things higher and nobody bought anything. It will even out in the long run.
  • Be Honest: If things are broken or rickety, say so. A handy man will often be interested in something he could fix or use for parts.
  • Take Your Signs Down: At the end of the sale, take your signs down. This is a courtesy to your town and neighborhood. Old yard sale signs look nasty and drive me nuts.

And there you have it, tips for a successful yard sale. I'm off to take my own advice and price all that stuff!

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