A few days ago, I posted about our grand adventures in decluttering. I had a few questions about holding yard sales, I I thought I’d post a little more about that. My own yard sale did fairly well for being in a rural area, and for having mostly older stuff, but the main point of it was to get rid of things instead of making money.
My own view on yard sales is this: if I’m going to chuck it or donate it anyway, any money I make is better than nothing. In particular, if I’d otherwise have to pay to throw something large out or have to pay the gas to take it to the nearest thrift store, even giving something away makes me come out ahead.
With this view, it’s a little easier to price for great deals at your yard sale.
I usually start by sorting my stuff. A few things I’ve learned:
Books almost never sell at yard sales. Try half.com or donate them. At this most recent yard sale I offered our unwanted books for free, and advertised in big letters “free books”. If you happen to be a struggling author like I am, you also stick advertisements into each and every used book you’re getting rid of, however unrelated those books are to the books you’ve written.
People come to yard sales looking for bargains. If you have something nicer of value, try to sell it on ebay, craigslist, local swap sites, or a consignment shop.
Giving away or selling cheaply is cheaper than paying to store something you don’t need and probably won’t use again.
When it comes to yard sale pricing, I have a very simple, but somewhat unconventional approach.
I don’t use those little stickers. I just put up a big sign that says “Everything is 25 cents unless otherwise marked!” This philosophy worked for the old dime stores, and works for the dollar stores.
Life is so much simpler this way. By including this on your big yard sale signs everywhere, you’ll also attract more attention.
There are many ways to make the internet work for your yard sale. you can just advertise on some local swap groups on facebook, post to craigslist, and email all of your friends, and you have customers.
I also post signs up on the street corners and in my yard.
The most “logical” place for a yard sale in our house has been in front of and inside of our barn, or so I thought. We rarely got much foot traffic that way. Then I realized why. Most people couldn’t see what was in the barn — it was dark and scary looking, even if it was sheltered from the elements. Most people were driving by slowly, looking at the few items we had outside, and not realizing there was more, even if the signs said “barn sale”.
Then, one year, we decided to move it to the front yard instead, storing everything on our large porch when bad weather approached. That worked much better.
Try look at it from the perspective of anyone who is going to stop, or who is just driving by. Most people drive by first to see if there is anything “interesting”. You need to catch their eye.
Make sure you’ve got plenty of change for making change for your customers. Shopping bags are also handy to have on hand. I saved up plastic shopping bags for about a month or two before our sale. I also had some old newspapers for wrapping up any breakables.