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Yard Sale Success!

August 3, 2009

JD and I just got back from Louisiana this past weekend and hosted a yard sale of most of my grandmother’s old things. This is the 4th yard sale I’ve participated in, so I feel like a professional! I’m not an expert buyer, but I do know how to put on a fun sale.

yard sale spread

Some things I’ve learned from my past experiences:

  1. Always hold the yard sale on the first Saturday of the month. Most folks have more cash at the beginning of the month.
  2. Advertise the yard sale well. Classified ads in the Friday newspaper before a Saturday sale are worth their value, since most yard sale shoppers map their route the day before they leave the house. The two-day ad for a 7-line classified was $19. (Of course, it’s probably more expensive than that outside of Ponchatoula, LA!)
  3. Signage is key for attracting the passer-by shopper. Big signs with arrows on main streets are a great way to get folks to your yard, especially if you didn’t follow rule #2.
  4. 7 a.m. is not too early to start your sale, especially if you live in a hot climate.
  5. No early birds! If you say your sale starts at 8 a.m., it starts at 8 a.m.! This isn’t a party… you wouldn’t expect to get in early at Target. Why is it ok at yard sales?
  6. Curb appeal: do you have it? If someone were to do a slow drive-by of your yard sale, would you want to stop? Furniture and other big items should be at the front, enticing people to come in.
  7. Have enough change in the form of one dollar bills and quarters. (And of course, keep track of what you put in there so you know how much you made at the end.)
  8. Before the yard sale, pretend like you are walking up as a customer and ask questions they might ask: where do I park? where are the deals? where do I pay? how is it organized (kitchen items, clothing, books, etc)?
  9. Don’t let shoppers know you are watching them. This makes you look desperate! Keep an eye out for theft, but let them be.
  10. Stick to your guns and don’t waiver. If you give an inch, they’ll take a yard. I won’t change my prices, unless it seems like a realistic offer.
  11. Be cautious: don’t let folks use your bathroom inside your house while you are outside selling, keep your cash box in your lap, and have a friend help lend a second pair of ears, eyes, and hands. It’s unlikely that theft will happen, but it’s good to keep in mind.
  12. Have a plan for the items that you don’t sell. If there are items you want to keep, know this before you put them out. My guess is that most of the items you put out won’t be items you’ll want to bring back to your home. Ask your friend with the big truck to help out (and let them have something they like at the yard sale at no charge!).
  13. Don’t expect a massive profit. Yard sales are a ton of work, and you don’t want to do all that work to sell five things. The goal should be to reduce clutter, not make money.
  14. Have fun! Yard sales are interesting, people-watching events. Especially if you collaborate with friends, it’s nice to spend time outdoors all morning!

my nice helpers

almost done with the sale...

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    August 3, 2009 9:13 pm

    What? No mention of the pouring rain exactly when Kate planned for the Yard Sale to end?

  2. Jan permalink
    August 5, 2009 3:41 pm

    wanna come to Houston and GUIDE me through a garage sale? Ok Ok… you can just play with Lauren while I do the sale!

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