I love having a yard sale… what I like best about having a yard sale is meeting new people…what I like least is the work leading up to the yard sale.
Here are The Fix It Diva’s tips on how to have a successful yard sale:
Tip #1: The success of a yard sale is not based upon what you’re selling. Not really. It’s based more upon a combination of factors: pricing, advertising, and interaction.
Tip #2: Price it right. Not many folks go to a yard sale expecting to pay $20 or more on an item. It’s rare. They may expect that at a flea market, but that’s a different kind of shopper/buyer. Price things to SELL. The whole point is to move things out of your home and make some money. My last yard sale there wasn’t anything priced over $5/item. Most were priced $1 and under and I made $75 in just 3 hours – so you know I moved a LOT of items. The other point to keep in mind is that if it’s priced right, there is no haggling…people won’t even ask. That’s a nice time saver!
Tip #3: Advertise, advertise, and advertise! Just like real estate’s saying “location, location, location”, no one will know you’re’ having a yard sale unless they read it somewhere or see lots of signage. I usually start posting two weeks out on Craigslist and update the listing when adding new items. In addition, there are now a lot of Facebook yard sale groups you can request to join in your area and put the listing there as well. I wouldn’t post on FB groups but a few days out because the post will get lost quickly. Write down which group you list it in and go add comment “bump” the day before the sale. I also use signs. I prefer the hard plastic signs that you can get locally and also get the wire stakes to attach to the sign to hold them in the ground. We had 8 signs for our last neighborhood and only wrote the address on the sign – NOT THE DATE – that way you can reuse them. Write down the intersections you placed the signs so you can go back and retrieve them. Since we had so many roads leading to our home, we put a directional arrow on the signs and then placed one sign in each direction so traffic going either way would see a sign. I also placed them on the right side of the road for ease of sightline by drivers (we look to the right for signage by habit). Put the signs out either late the night before (11pm) or very early the day of your sale (6am). Since I am not a morning person, late night worked best for me J
Tip #4: Interact with your customers! Don’t just sit there looking at your phone or ignoring people. Greet them when they approach your sale. Ask them if there is something specific they are looking for. If there is something specific and you know you don’t have it, let them know. Usually they will stay and browse but it is a courtesy to let folks know.
Tip #5: Be sure to specify cash sales only. HOWEVER, and I mean however, with the advent of swiping credit cards from smartphones, if you prefer to process your sales that way, go for it! But be sure to ADVERTISE on your craigslist or other online posts that CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED. And remember that other people will have to touch your phone if they have never paid using Square (the only payment method I recommend since payment is immediate along with receipt to buyer). As for me, I would add that ID matching the credit card is required, in order to manage fraud.
Tip #6: Someone will steal something from your tables. I don’t want to sound pessimistic because I am not. However, I have had enough yard sales over the years to realize that people will sneak something into their pile or just plain take it when you’re not looking. Let. It. Go. You were trying to get rid of it already, right? Please don’t take it personally. Unfortunately this does happen more often than not.
Tip #7: Go for frumpy and wear the fanny pack. Yes, I said it. The only time that I appreciate a fanny pack is for yard sales. I wear mine only on these days so that I can keep my money in it and on me at all times.
Tip #8: Have a bottle of cool refreshment and some snacks like a banana or nuts or something to keep your energy up. Even if you are selling from your own driveway, you may not have time to go inside to grab something to eat or drink.
Tip #9: If you are hosting the yard sale at your home, lock all your doors and keep your key on you. Never let anyone go inside to use your bathroom. Sorry but that’s just not wise or safe.
Tip #10: Wear some sort of bug repellant because the gnats and mosquitos will find you if your yard sale is in the hotter weather months. Since I prefer non-toxic products, I use lavender wipes and they keep both gnats and mosquitos away.
Tip #11: Set your start time and if you don’t want early shoppers, state so in your ad. Just be prepared because if people follow the signs, they won’t know you’re not selling early. I used to place our large rolling trash can at the end of our driveway with a large sign taped to it saying the hours of the yard sale and no early shopping. Then when folks showed up, they saw the sign and usually just went back to their cars and waited or left and came back (depending upon how early they arrived). I could focus on finishing my setup without questions and such. If you live in an area where two languages are predominant, then I would suggest writing the signage in both languages. Helps everyone out.
Tip #12: Prep the night before: make sure everything is priced or if in groups in bins, that signage is on the bins. Less words the better. People look at $ versus words. If you are going to use the ground to place items on, then have your tarps or blankets ready. Have any folding tables also ready.
Tip #13: I recommend if you are going to be selling a lot of clothing, invest in a garment rack. You can get a nice folding rack on wheels for under $80 at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I purchased ours for a closet redo project (so clothes wouldn’t be hung about the house from door frames!), and it folds up under our bed and has been used for yard sales as well. If you don’t have that, but you have two ladders and either some crutches (how many homes have those?) or two mops or brooms, then setup the ladders and lay the broom, mops or crutches between the two creating your own garment rack. Obviously if you use ladders, be sure to put a sign on both of them that they are not for sale…lol.
Tip #14: Group like items together. If you have a bunch of purses or bags for sale, group them together and price them together if you can. Same with shoes, stuffed animals, anything that can be sold at same price. Fewer questions get asked as well and you know how crazy that can be when working a yard sale! I use clear plastic storage bins to hold groupings of items and using a large marker and piece of paper, write the pricing and item grouping on the paper. For example, “Women’s Purses All $1.00”. Then stick the paper into a sheet protector and using packing tape, tape it to the side of the bin. Since we no longer have a yard and have to sell at the entrance to our community, having my bins marked and in groups made loading, unloading and setup a breeze for our latest yard sale.
Finally, look at having a yard sale as an opportunity to meet people in your neighborhood or from other neighborhoods. You might make some new friends! I have met some great folks over the years that came back to each yard sale and we caught up on the latest happenings. Have fun!