Summer’s here and for many of us that means it’s yard sale season! Having a yard sale is the perfect time to edit items from your home that are no longer used or fit your lifestyle. In addition to de-cluttering your home, a garage sale is a great way to make a little extra money and purchase items on your wish list.
Holding a yard sale takes some organization and pre-planning. Here are some tips and tricks for hosting a successful yard sale:
Select the Right Day & Time
Typically the best months for garage sales are in the spring and summer. Steer clear of holidays and summer vacation months (i.e. July and August). Saturday is the most popular day for garage sales, but a Friday or Sunday might also work for you. Go with the flow and see what day is trending in your neighborhood. Serious garage sale shoppers get up earlier, so set a start time no later than 8am.
Consider a Multi-family Sale
Inform family and friends about the garage sale and encourage them to bring items to sell and participate. Ask them to help out on the day of the sale and assign them a task (cashier, helping customers, keeping merchandise neat). Also let neighbors know about your sale. If they want to have a garage sale the same day, share marketing efforts (signage, Craigslist posting, etc.).
Determine, Organize, & Price Items to Sell
Schedule a day (or two) to de-clutter room by room in your home and make a list of items you would like to sell. Don’t sell items that are damaged beyond repair or have been recalled. In fact it is illegal to resell items that have been recalled—go here for a list of recalled items. Make a note as to what price you would like to sell the item. If you have no idea how to price an item, you can always look up a similar item on eBay or Craigslist. Then set up a holding area for the items you will be selling. Typically this is in the garage because it eliminates moving the sale items multiple times. You’ll be able to move the items out easily on the day of the sale. In the holding area, group sale items into plastic bins (clear ones are best because you can see the contents inside) and boxes. Be sure to label the bin or box (i.e. toys, books, 3-6 month boys’ clothing, etc.) and price the items in the grouping the same. Save time by minimizing labeling each item. Instead, label the tables, bins, or racks (i.e. $5-$10, $1 or Less, $25, or Best Offer).
Supplies Needed On-site:
- Shopping bags and small boxes to make it easier for customers to take away the goods.
- Tables, clothing racks, and shelves for displaying items.
- A calculator for adding up sales.
- Spare light bulbs, batteries, and extension cords plugged in to show that items work properly.
- Tape measure, pens, and scissors.
- Trash can.
- Paper towels, tissues, and hand-sanitizer.
- Pre-made sticker labels or color-coded stickers for pricing items.
- Newspaper to wrap fragile items.
- Cash-box, hip-pack, or apron with pockets to hold cash and change.
Advertise the Sale
Create a listing one week prior to the sale on Craigslist or a similar online site. It’s free! Also, inquire about placing ads with various local newspapers. Ask how many words, how much it will cost and when you need to submit the information by. When listing your ad, include your big items and/or categories (i.e. 1940s oak chest, baby gear, and clothing). Create signage to be placed at large intersections near your home. Signage should include the date of the sale, your address (cross streets can be helpful too), and the sale hours. Use foam board and make the signs large enough for them to be read easily by drivers. Consider making smaller directional signage if you think people may have difficulties finding your home.
Display Items with Style
Think of your yard sale like a retail store. Remove or cover items in the garage you don’t want to sell. Organize your items and display them in an interesting and easy-to-view format. Use clothing racks (consider renting or borrowing some) to hang items such as dresses, jackets, and suits. Group clothing according to size to make it easy for customers to browse. Place like-items together and make signs so customers can easily find what they are looking for (i.e books, housewares, girls ‘clothing – sizes 3T).
Manage the Money
Drop by the bank before the sale and have between $75 and $100 in small bills ($1s, $5s, and a few $10s) and a couple rolls of quarters. Designate a person to handle the cash-box at all times. If this isn’t possible, have one person wear an apron or hip-pack to manage the transactions. It’s also wise to have a “Cash Only” rule. It’s no fun to get a bounced check!
For the Kids
Encourage older kids to participate and earn extra cash by selling donuts, bagels, or cookies. Also, make little customers feel welcome by setting out a box of gently used stuffed animals labeled “FREE—Kids Take One” for customers with young children. Used stuffed animals are rarely accepted by charities, so this is a great way to pass them along! You will have some very happy, little customers too.
After the Sale
Do not bring any unsold items back into your home or garage. Immediately after the sale, pack unsold items into your vehicle and drive them to the nearest charity or donation center (be sure to get a receipt for a tax credit). You can also place unsold items curbside with a “FREE” sign or schedule a date and time for one of the local thrift stores to pick up items that are too big for you to hall away (have them leave a receipt for a tax credit). Also, don’t forget to remove all posted signs from the neighborhood.
If you don’t have the means of having a traditional yard sale, try TagSellIt. It’s a traditional garage sale in a virtual format.
Are you planning a yard sale this year?