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Suggestions for successful yard sale?

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While we love going to yard sales, we have never had one. Always just gave stuff away when we no longer needed/wanted it. Times are rougher now, as you well know. So, in a couple weeks, we are planning to have our first ever yard sale. We have been busily gathering items and I *think* we have a good selection. What are your suggestions for making the yard sale a success?

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Advertise! And, if you can, get a few other families to do a sale with you. Be ready to negotiate prices, because, IME, people want stuff for almost nothing at garage sales. So, be ready to let it go for cheap, or be prepared to end up with the item at the end of the day if you won't haggle at least a little.


Make sure you have enough change, don't take checks from strangers, and maybe offer some canned sodas for .50 each if it's a hot day.

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:iagree: Advertise! Put up signs. Make the writing big and clear enough to read without stopping the car! Hold it out front where drivers can see all the great stuff you have, not around back behind the garage.


Make sure your prices are at least competitive, if not better than, the local second hand stores. Clearly price everything, even if you're willing to negotiate (I won't even ask - if it's not marked, I don't buy it.)

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I always like it when like items are grouped together--ya know, garage sale marketing! That way, if I'm looking for something for the kitchen I don't miss it tucked in behind the photo albums.


A couple of other things...if you can have a bunch of equally priced stuff on the same table, I think that's nice. Like a table that's "anything for $1" or something like that.


Watch for price switchers and don't be afraid to call 'em on it! At a garage sale my sister and I had one time, we caught a lady swapping price stickers!


Much success to you!



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If you have a local Craig's List, it's free to advertise there. The last time we had a community garage sale, we had almost no people...but, I was told afterwards that people regularly check Craig's List for the upcoming yard sales.


Another idea is to list your bigger items on Craig's List.


oh and have the kids make a batch of brownies and lemonade (this was almost our sole source of income last time)...the kids had fun w/it...thank God that one lady didn't see my son stirring the lemonade with his bare hand!:tongue_smilie:

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If you are able to get friends and neighbors to join you, make sure you advertise as a multi-family sale. The bigger the sale the better for everyone.


List in general the items you have for sale in the ad (children's clothes, baby items, books, furniture, etc.).


If you have to put up several signs, make them consistent. Don't use cardboard at the corner and neon posterboard at an intersection. Try to make them look the same. Use the same terminology on your signs as you did in your ad. If you advertised a huge, 3-family yard sale, write those words on the sign so that those who saw the ad will find you easily.


Be sure to have plenty of change on hand.


I advertise a start time, but always try to be ready earlier. If you don't want early birds, state it in your ad.


Try to have every thing on a table. Don't put clothes out in boxes. If you don't have enough tables, turn large boxes upside down and use as tables. I also turn laundry baskets upside down and rest plywood on top of them for a nice long table.


Put larger items up front where people driving by can see them.


HTH Good luck with your sale!

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Signs: Make as many signs as you can to put up the afternoon before the sale (so people will see them on their way home from work). I have 10 now, and I intend to make a few more for next year. Make sure you put one up at the major intersections nearest your house, then lead people there with the signs. Don't forget one for the front yard, so people know when they've arrived! I try to put them up around 2:30 the day before to catch those getting off at 3:00, but certainly get them up before 5:00 for the big rush hour. Make the signs as big as you can, with bold arrows to direct those who don't have time to read the address. Make them all match, so people don't have to wonder when they come to another person's sign. Cover them with plastic to protect them in case of rain. (I slit some sheet protectors for mine - overlapped the four in the middle and taped them.)


Advertising: Do, if you can do it cheaply. Newspaper ads cost a lot here, and I've found that ads don't significantly increase sales, because my signs are already good advertising. Are you in a home school support group that has a website allowing classified ads? That could be a good place to advertise, as could your church, etc.


Prices: Low, in $.25 increments. You don't want to have to deal with nickles and dimes.


Time: Start early and plan to stay open until at least 3:00. Plan to stay open half an hour longer than your sign says, no matter what it is, as people may continue to arrive.


Marketing: Put the big stuff closest to the street to tempt people to stop. If you don't have any, ask someone else to join you in the sale so you will! Some people won't even get out of the car if there's no big stuff.


Have fun!

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While we love going to yard sales, we have never had one. Always just gave stuff away when we no longer needed/wanted it. Times are rougher now, as you well know. So, in a couple weeks, we are planning to have our first ever yard sale. We have been busily gathering items and I *think* we have a good selection. What are your suggestions for making the yard sale a success?


If it's hot, have otter pops (or a generic brand) already frozen and ready to go. Be sure to ask the parents of children discreetly for permission before you just up and offer one to the kid, of course. Every time we've done this, people seem to have appreciated it. We have had people stay and buy, and buy, go get their friends and buy some more. Return later and buy again. It's easier to browse if your child(ren) have a place to plop down and enjoy a frozen treat while you look around. And those who turned down the offer did make a point of acknowledging that they appreciated that we went through them (duh - strangers offering candy to children? You betcha we'll ask Mom first! LOL!) The frozen pops are nice b/c they're individually sealed, unlike having cookies or such laid out. We also usually have coffee and iced tea laid out, for the adults. Another nice thing to offer, and it creates a fun tone to the yard sale.


If you have clothes, hang them up. Something as simple as hanging the clothes changes them from something a few people may rummage through halfheartedly into something interesting to peruse. If you have little kids' clothes that can be put into sets, and you don't mind doing it, go for it. Pre-arranged outfits really flew off our racks.


If you use bookshelves, tables, etc. for displays, but not for sale, be sure to label them clearly "BOOKSHELF NOT FOR SALE". People will still ask, anyway, but it's easier to point to the sign than it is to try to explain that it's there for display. (Believe me, you'd be amazed what some people will ask.)


If you're selling stuffed animals, slap 'em into a pillowcase and wash them first. They're so inviting and pretty when they're clean. ;) Same thing with toys - spray them off, or run them through the dishwasher. Just a little thing like that can make such a difference!


Be ready for early birds, even if you specifically ask them not to come. And when they say "early", boy-howdy, do they mean e-a-r-l-y! We've had people knocking on our doors at five-thirty AM for a yard sale that didn't start until eight. Some people are hard-core. (But, they can also be your best customers, if you're ready for them!) If you most definitely do not want them, put up a sign on your door, and perhaps another sign on your curb (one you'll take down once you're ready for customers).


Have fun with it. Smile. Greet. Be enthusiastic. People don't want to spend time roaming around looking at things while someone scowls at them from a distance, or glances disdainfully at others. You've invited these people onto your property, so it's nice to play the gracious hostess. (I'm not saying you have to offer them snacks and a game of chess - but I'm always surprised how many people are downright surly at their own yard sales.)


Near the second half of the last day, take a quick stock of what's left and adjust your prices and approach accordingly. Do you want to end up with leftovers, stuff to donate (or throw out), or is your goal to get. rid. of. it? Think about throwing in "freebies" with purchases near the end of your sale. (Books, 2-for1 -- clothes, same thing, etc.) Maybe bring out a bag and put up a quick sign on a table that has a lot of little things "fill this bag for $5", or "pick ten for $1!") Or changing your prices. Or offering to throw in such-and-such if someone decides they'd like to buy this-or-that.


Don't be surprised if a few people try to slip things into their bags, caps, or pockets. If you see it happen, and you want to say something, you can just tally things up verbally and say, "and the whateveritisrightthere brings your total to xyz," then look them in the eye and smile your best smile. People generally 'fess up and pay for it when you call them on it like that. ;) Or, if you don't care, let it go - but try not to take it personally. It's a shame, really, but we haven't had a yard sale yet where someone hasn't slipped a thing or two away, thinking to get away with it.


And the rest is what everyone else has mentioned - good signs, plenty of signs - get the word out, be visible, advertise if you can (but well-placed signs will draw a good number of people, really).


Good luck!


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First, release every sneaking one of your expectations that you will get back in cash what you put forth in effort.

Second, try posting anything you can on Craigslist. You would be amazed at the difference in what people will pay when they find it online versus lying in your yard. Yardsale shoppers seem to feel you should really be paying them to haul off your stuff. Craigslist people are grateful they didn't have to drive all over town to find what they want. Price to sell, but post on CL first!

3rd, call in favors and get a couple or three mean-looking guys to watch your stuff. I had as much stolen at my last garage sale as I sold.

4th, make sure you really do want to part with it. I "gave away" four snack-sized lunch bags I had not used in 3 years, and THE NEXT DAY the kids needed all four of them! Nearly killed me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I almost hesitated to update since most of the threads are more serious these days - but I DID say I would let those who helped me out with such great advice, know how our first yard sale went . . . it was great!


People started arriving half hour early (I had prayed that no one would come as early as I had been told people show up for an 8:00 starting time!!!). We had just finished setting the last things out at 7:25 (we started at 5:15) when a whole bunch of people came. It was quite interesting how people came in droves, then no one, or just one or two, then a whole bunch again.


People didn't haggle price with us - only three people asked if we'd consider a different price, which we did. The last hour or so, I was telling people we would accept offers and they were saying, no this is a good price and paid what we had marked! Some people gave donations in the form of saying, "keep the change"!!!


We had lots of great comments - very nice stock, well-organized, clean, great advertising (dh made incredible displays for the signs I made on the computer), good prices.


Another thing I had prayed about was that I wanted stragglers until 3:00 (advertised closing was 2:00) - our last buying customer was there at 2:50!


There was such a nice atmosphere the whole time - even when people had to stand in line to check out! Later that evening, I asked dh if he ever remembered standing in line to pay at yard sales - we never have - usually we have to scout around to find who to pay. Several times throughout the day, we had a line of 6-8-10 people. I'm sure they could see that we were a diligent team - we each had our jobs of tallying/receiving payment/making change, wrapping breakables, and packaging their purchases.


We stumbled onto an idea that I'd like to share. We had some basins that I put out with a sign saying to "Borrow a Bucket to Put Your Selections In." People really complemented us on that. They would put their larger items on the porch, and carry a basin around the yard putting their selections in. Some people stacked up two or three (or more) of these basins on the porch. They really appreciated not having to juggle their items, and it made shopping easier.


All in all, it was a fun experience - and a LOT of work! Ds, who set up his own table and did quite well, asked if we could have another yard sale next year! At the same time I said "possibly," dh said NO! However, today, he said he's been thinking about it and if we want to have another one, we can. (His concern was the lack of room we had in preparing for this one). So I'm thinking one more in June. I don't plan to acquire stuff this year (or thereafter), so I can't imagine having enough to make it worthwhile as an ongoing thing. One more yard sale will give opportunity to clear out some things we just didn't get to this time.


So again, thank you for the great advice! (Sorry this is so long!)

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