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Yardsales (what makes it worth it to you)


mlktwins
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I am contemplating having a yard sale in September.  Our neighborhood has a designated day in the fall and spring and it is well advertised.  Before I start gathering stuff, I wanted to see what most people's experiences are with this.  I think my main sticking point is I hate to haggle.  I have done yard sales with a local group and there isn't any haggling involved.  I have to get stuff there though, work the sale, and pack up what doesn't sell.  I used to make between $300 and $500 a sale, but that was back when I had more kids clothes, toys, and strollers, etc.  This was with my local multiples group.

If I don't do the yard sale, I would just donate the stuff.  Then I have to figure out whether I'm just going to drop it off and be done or list everything to try and take a tax deduction.  Having to list everything before getting it out of the house has been a sticking point for me not getting the stuff out of the house -- LOL.

I'm talking about nice Gap jeans worn once for Christmas pictures type of things.  I have lamps, some toys that weren't played with much, etc.

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There is almost no amount of money that would make having a yard sale worth it to me, lol. I'd rather skip extras, cook cheaper meals for a time, go on a spending freeze, really almost anything. If I had one or two big ticket items, I might list them on the Facebook virtual yard sale. 

Amvets comes to my house and picks it up. Definitely do not make a list. If I ever think I'm donating enough to make it worth listing on my taxes, I tell myself I've obviously been spending too much money ?

 

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Well, you could do a $___ per bag or $___ per piece sale fairly easily.

I like the idea of participating in a block yard sale, assuming I was going to be home when they held it (they always do it during business hours here, so no thanks).  In practice, I have never done it in my adult life.  For that matter, I don't usually even get it together enough to put my donations out on the porch at the right time for the truck to pick them up.

Most of my useable hand-me-downs go to people I know who have use for them.  I don't make money, but I save others money, which is really the same thing, isn't it?  And I don't have to log anything; just store it in a designated corner until I go visit that person.

If you don't have any friends or family who can use your stuff, maybe you could just give it to a neighbor who is having a sale?  They would rightly earn the $$ for finding the stuff a new home, and you would establish goodwill and prevent waste in the world.

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Agree with the above...Long ago, when I had a lot of baby gear, toys, and children's clothes, holding a sale seemed worth the trouble.  A few years ago, I put out tons of books, clothes, and household stuff, including furniture, and made about $70.  It was a waste of a perfectly beautiful autumn day.

I also don't enjoy haggling.  I admit that I kind of resent people trying to get my stuff for less than the listed price -- since I price garage-sale-low to begin with.  (And I know many avid garage salers love the haggle.  ?)  Oddly, I don't mind giving away my stuff... 

Several friends have had wonderful experiences with local Facebook selling.  I'm not on FB, but I gather that it's like a neighborhood specific Craigslist.

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I do not enjoy being on either side of haggling.  It would take a lot to make a yard sale seem worth it to me.  The ONLY way I would  consider it is if it were a neighborhood yard sale where I just had to take care of putting out and picking up my own items.  

How beneficial a tax deduction will be depends upon your income and deduction situation; for the most part, however, you don't have to list each item but simply things like, one bag of women's clothing ($X), one box of children's books ($x).  Only for larger donations and single high-value items do you need a specific list.

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Know your neighborhood.  Yard sale shoppers in mine want collectible items (bears, Coca-cola, etc.), 10 cent holiday decorations, old-looking bowls, random tool pieces, and such.  Last time we had a yard sale we made ~$2.00, and I moved a lot of barely used practical items priced at 25% or less than new back into my garage at the end.

I just donate now.

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I don’t do yard sales unless I’m in the “I’ll practically pay you to take this stuff” mindset.  Actually, thinking about that, the last time I contemplated a yard sale (cleaning out my mom’s house), we just gave everything away and called 1 800 GOT JUNK for the rest.  So we *did* pay someone to take it away!

I would consider doing a neighborhood yard sale if the kids want to do it, and I’d let them keep the money.

I mostly freecycle or drop things off at goodwill.  Even new with tags things.  

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My experience is that in college towns household items sell well if priced low and you are willing to deliver larger items.  In the suburbs, no one wants household items.  Baby and toddler items are most popular followed by sports and recreation equipment.  Suburban shoppers expect low prices for like new items.  Few are interested in items that show wear.    After all yard sales, we ended up donating more than we sold.   (And some items made their way back into storage.)

I don't think yard sales are worth the effort.  1) I have to store items until I emass enough to hold a sale. Then there are all the sale logistics mentioned by pps.  2) Dh can offer individual items on his workplace electronic yardsale. We have sold a few larger items this way.  I've seen adds on our neighborhood list as well, although I have never sold this way.  3) If I know an individual or organization who could use an item, I'd rather just give it to them.  4) With regular donations we don't have so much stuff that making an itemized list is tedious.  I only list items in good or excellent condition. 

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The only way we've ever done a yard sale is if (1) it was a neighborhood/community event and (2) we had a large item(s) that would have been difficult for us to transport. Otherwise everything gets donated to a local animal rescue thrift store. I give not one hoot about tax deductions, as that would be such a tiny drop in the bucket it wouldn't make any difference. 

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Our community had a neighborhood yard sale.  I gathered up the items that I was planning to give to Good Will and put them outside on blankets.  As customers approached, I told them that everything was 25 cents.  I sold quite a few things and some people told me that my prices were too low and gave me what it was worth to them.

After the sale we took the rest of the stuff to Good Will (as was the original plan). 

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if you do clothes - have them clearly sized and in groups of a size.  I never did clothes at yard sales becasue I only saw them clearly labeled and sorted once.  

mark prices - and be realistic.   i remember the two-weekend moving sale by pack rats. . . . . the cover price on at least six DOZEN little crochet booklets was $0.10 - $0.25. but she didn't mark what she wanted to sell them for - I assumed at least the cover price and would have bought half a dozen.  she wanted $2.00 *each*.   (have you seen how much they go for today???- uh yeah - in stores.)  I bought nothing.   I was tempted to go back the next weekend just for the entertainment factor to see if they'd learned anything about realistic prices.

 

 

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Another naysayer here. If I lived in a community and the whole block were having yard sales, I might consider it. But I don’t; I live back in the woods off a main road and I very much doubt we would see much traffic. 

I freecycle or GW almost all my stuff. When possible, I try to help someone who may specifically need my stuff. I just recently gave my nieces/nephews some kids stuff that was pretty nice but not important to me. 

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Nothing especially now that our church has a super nice thrift store that will take my crap. I can also get stuff I need inexpensively at that store. It's a win for all.

My one exception is that I did a very low-cost curriculum sale just last weekend ($5/table). Way less work than a yard sale, and it was nice to see some of our stuff go where it will be used and people were happy to find it. I made some money back and met a ton of super nice people. I was mostly trying to keep my carefully chosen school stuff from dying on a thrift store shelf (we don't really have curriculum stores here) or taking up space in my house, and I accomplished that goal. 

 

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Ages ago when we were in a townhouse, we did very well at the annual development yard sale.

Since then, nope. I stopped trying. Even when it was advertised in local media, we got so few people that it wasn't worth it.

I give stuff away to friends, advertise it on FB groups, or donate it. This year I have donated a lot and keep it in a spreadsheet.

Personally, I go to development-wide sales in the more affluent areas of town (not my neighborhood, LOL). I've done very well at those as a buyer. I don't know if they think it's worthwhile or not.

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Nope.  FB Marketplace and Craig's list are so much better.  You can see what's selling and for how much. FB Marketplace is soooo easy to use if you have a smartphone.  I posted items just under the going rate.  If I didn't get responses in 2 days I dropped the price again.  If it didn't go within a week to 10 days with the price dropping, it went into the donate pile.  I've never used freecycle, but someone told me recently it worked for them.

Note* 100% cotton clothing can be shredded and composted.  You may want to advertise it that way to open yourself up to a larger group of people. 

I think yard sales are a generational thing.  Younger people go to resale shops and online options listed above.  It takes a lot of time driving to yard sales and picking through them.  Why do that when you can look for specific types of items in your area, ask if it's still available, and pick it up at an appointed time?

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I'm done with yard sales. In our area you need big items sitting out front for people to stop. If you only have tables of clothes or random household goods, people won't stop. Around here, clothes are too abundant, we have several decent thrift stores. Higher end clothes don't sell well at garage sales. I got to the point I'd literally mark all clothes 1.00 or .50 just to move them. Right after ex and I separated I had two sales and sold a lot of things because I needed money. I made $300 in a weekend. I tried one several weeks later and only made about $60 for the day.

Now, I just donate things, but its generally a random box or two every few months. I don't itemize taxes, so I skip the receipt too.  

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I just faced this dilemma. I ended up dropping off multiple minivan loads of yard-saleable stuff at Goodwill. I felt so light and like I paid myself to not spend hours and hours prepping and working a yard sale. ALL the stuff was out of my house, so I felt rewarded with square footage. I gained a whole new room and that’s worth more than I could have made selling stuff. 

Had my daughter been motivated to take on the project, I would have encouraged her and let her keep the profits. She’s at the age where working hard for peanuts is the norm. She was too busy at her summer job and even that pays better than a yard sale. 

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I've never done a yard sale.  I don't tend to buy things at yard sales either.

A friend of mine used to have one every year. She had stuff she kept in her garage year after year, from one sale to the next, hoping that *this year* someone will finally buy that outdated floor lamp.  

That's when I decided it would never be worth it to me to have a yard sale.  But I really don't have anything worth selling.  Maybe books, but I'd just as soon donate usable books (though I have sold a few on Amazon).

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23 hours ago, Teaching3bears said:

I have seen a lot of people use the yard sale as an opportunity to socialize with family.  They invite them over and sit outside on a nice day and chat so it's kind of fun for them.  They still have to drag the stuff out but they can donate whatever doesn't get sold.

This makes it worth it to me!  Usually a few hs friends will have a joint sale at someone's house.  It becomes a potluck/playgroup.  Selling to people when they drop by is just an aside.  Often we are selling cheap. By the end the "Free" pile is very large, and most everything is hauled to a local charity at the close.

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12 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I just faced this dilemma. I ended up dropping off multiple minivan loads of yard-saleable stuff at Goodwill. I felt so light and like I paid myself to not spend hours and hours prepping and working a yard sale. ALL the stuff was out of my house, so I felt rewarded with square footage. I gained a whole new room and that’s worth more than I could have made selling stuff. 

 

I like this mindset. I will say, I've also been in the position to need to shop thrift stores for clothes or homeschool material. It was so great to find a great deal on whatever, so I try to recognize that someone may enjoy the good stuff I'm donating, like an anonymous pay it forward. 

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For me, it is worth doing every few years, because I need cash more than a tax deduction, with my primary source of income being social security disability checks. Also, the tax laws have changed for 2018, so it might not be worth it you to itemize anyway.

I have only done yard sales as part of a local moms group, with about 50 sellers who each take up one table at a local church hall. I price stuff low enough that if someone sees it and wants it, they buy it, and I don't need to load things back in my car. I can only think of a couple of times when someone offered less than I was asking, and I think I said something like, "I will mark things down in the last hour, if you want to check back to see if it is still available," and then they just gave me what I wanted originally without complaint. They knew it was a good deal! 

At the end of the sale, a local charity takes donated leftovers in a truck they send to the site. These sales are well publicized, get a lot of foot traffic, we get mobbed, lots of parents and kids go home happy, I make some cash, get stuff out of my house, mission accomplished. I have taken in about $300-400 per sale, which is a good return on a $12 rental fee. I haven't done the sale for a while, but will be renting a table for the next one. With my only child just turning 14, we have definitely turned the corner on what stuff is staying, and what is going. 

I have a background in retail management, with some merchandising training, so I suppose I put more thought into how I want to run my table than the average seller does. One year I had lots of small kids toys, kids' costumes, etc, in ziploc bags, which I displayed in shallow bins along the front half of the table. The bins were labeled $2/bag or $5/bag, buy 2 get 1 free, and as the day went on it was quick and easy to shuffle bags or change signs. I had surplus under the table, and I restocked as needed. I had space for one clothing rack next to the table, and I hung up the best stuff first, and just added to it when I had space. Some larger and higher priced toys such as a wooden train set were displayed and clearly priced on a couple of raised shelves behind the bins.  A couple years later, same moms group sale, I focused on clearing out hundreds of kids' books, and priced them cheap. Similar set up, priced the cheapo books at 4 for $1, and nicer books about $1 or $2 each. I brought along and quickly sold a few bigger ticket items in the $10-$20 range, like a scooter and a bike. Basically, my tables have a theme, and I don't bother bringing stuff that isn't a good fit. Weird random stuff isn't worth hauling in and out of the sale. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know I posted this earlier in the month, but things got busy and then we took a short vacay.  I really appreciate everyone's response and a few really made me laugh -- LOL.  If we don't have a baseball game scheduled during our neighborhood fall sale, I think I am going to put out at least the bigger things.  My next twin's group sale is in October.  If we don't have a game conflict, I may try that one last time really marking stuff down in price.  I just want stuff out of my house.

We have a lot of room so I could store this stuff.  But...with 2 sets of very elderly parents (both still live in their own single family homes), I just want my own clutter gone.  And...I'm going to fight hard to keep their clutter from coming into my house -- LOL.  I also don't want my boys to have to think too much about what they should or should not keep of mine once I'm gone.  My boys are in high school next year and life is going to get busier and busier.  I want to enjoy it and not have "stuff" taking my time and energy (mental energy especially).

Thanks again!

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I haven't read the other comments, but one thing that makes things easier is pricing in .25 intervals. It makes it MUCH easier to count prices and give change!
You could make a sign that says: "Prices FIRM" or "Prices firm until _____pm"
You can batch price, too:   All softback books .50 and hardback books 1.00 unless otherwise priced
 Good luck! :)

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I kind of enjoy the experience of it, but if you're going with a cost/benefit type of approach, it's probably a total waste of your time. The haggling part can be annoying you'll have to put in some time in organizing everything and (I assume) being there for the sale itself. 

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