It is springtime and with it comes yard sales. Now, I am not an expert on yard sales but I spend about 10 hours a week during the spring yard sailing and I have learned a few tips to help you have a successful yard sale.
1) Your stuff is not worth as much as you think it is. I know this is hard to hear but it is the truth. Expect to get anywhere from 10-25% of retail price for most items with only a few exceptions. On clothing, I don’t typically pay more than $1 for each item or $2-3 for a pair of shoes. I know it sounds low but used clothing is so plentiful that you have to price it low to compete.
2) Whatever you price it at, expect to get offers of 1/2 that amount. Most people price their yard sale items expecting it to work like a retail store. That the buyer will come in and pay the price that is on the price tag. Doesn’t happen that way. Every yard saler wants to feel like they got a bargain and to be honest, negotiation is half the fun (the other half is getting a great deal). So, don’t get upset when the buyer offers you half of what you have on the price tag. Your best bet is to expect it to happen and price it accordingly.
3) There is A LOT of competition. I can’t go to all the yard sales that are in my area. I typically shop from 8:30-2pm on Fridays and 8:30-12:30pm on Saturdays and probably hit at least 40-50 houses a week. And that is only in the 5-10 mile radius around me. So that goes to show you how much competition you have. You need to prepare for that and set up your sale to succeed. A few easy tips:
A) Bring your stuff out of the garage
B) Don’t place anything made of cloth on garbage cans (ie. clothing or linens)
C) Move your car(s). I don’t care where, just don’t have them in the driveway
D) Talk to your buyers but not too much
E) Advertise on Craigslist and invest in a few balloons for the mailbox
4) Don’t try to sale stuff that is un-sellable. The problem with some people is that they try to sell things that are just trash. Open food that you didn’t like is not sellable. Clothing that is ripped or badly stained is not sellable. Housewares or toys that are completely broken and unusable are not sellable. Just do us all a favor and throw it away. Funny story:
I was at a yard sale this past weekend and a lady was looking through a box of used socks. She asked the price of the socks. The women having the yard sale began to point out different pairs and give her a price on each kind of sock. She then pointed to a pair with holes in them and told her that the ones with holes were only $.25. Seriously? Don’t try to sell holey socks.
5) Make your pricing simple. Don’t try to break it down too far so that it is confusing for people. Mark all clothes $1. Or all books $.50. People like simple and easy to understand.
6) Don’t get offended by people looking through your stuff. It is a yard sale, so how are people going to figure out what they want unless they pick it up and handle it? Don’t get your panties in a bunch if someone picks up great grandma’s tchotchke and takes a look at it. You’d be surprised how often I find someone who doesn’t want you to look at their things.
7) If you are a smoker, don’t smoke during the sale. Yes, it is your house and this is a free country so I am not telling you that you can’t smoke. What I am saying is that smoking turns off your buyer and reminds them that your stuff comes from a smoking home. It just doesn’t do your yard sale any favors.
8) Buyers aren’t looking for perfect items but clean would be nice. I don’t expect the things that I buy to be perfectly clean and I automatically wash almost everything that comes into the house from a yard sale but if it looks like your dog threw up on it, do us all a favor and wipe it down with a Clorox wipe.
9) Go in with other people and have your sale at the same time. You will get more traffic to your sale if you plan it when your neighbors are having theirs. The first thing I look for when planning my yard sale route is neighborhood sales. It just makes my life easier to hit 15 sales in one ‘hood than to drive to 15 different locations.
10) Keep plenty of change on hand. You will loose sales if you can’t provide change. Most banks will be happy to help their customers with lots of change for their yard sale, all you have to do is ask.
So there are 10 tips to having a successful yard sale this spring. Yard sales are a great way to bring in some extra cash from things that you no longer use and to clear some space for some new treasurers – bought at a yard sale, of course!