Yard sale, rummage sale, garage sale, tag sale - they go by many names, but are essentially the same. Take the opportunity to clean out space in your home, offer the items to someone else who will use them, and make a little cash in the process.
Do Your Research
Take a drive around your neighborhood this Saturday. Which yard sales seem busiest? What is drawing people to the sale? Did they place an ad in the newspaper? Do they have many signs directing customers? Do they have attractive merchandise? Also notice the prices they have on particular items to help determine your own. Listen for "yard sale lingo" between customers and sellers such as "Is that your best price?"
Steps to Yard Sale Success
1. Contact your local newspaper and get the details on placing a classified ad for a yard sale in print and/or online, depending on what attracts the most attention in your area. While you will pay more for a lengthy ad, it may attract more customers if you list specific items. If the weather seems unpredictable, find out the latest day you can place the ad and check the weather reports. For the time of your sale, remember that "yard-salers" begin early and end shortly after noon. If you start at 8, they might be there at 7:30. A good range of time is 8-2.
2. Multiple sales attract more business. Visit your neighbors and let them know about your yard sale. Invite them to add items to your sale or set up their own sale. Ask if they have specific items to list in the classified ad and make an agreement on sharing the cost of the ad.
3. If neighbors/friends are adding items to your sale, make arrangements for marking items with differently colored stickers or with seller's initials. Find out if other sellers will be present on the day of the sale. If not, agree upon a percentage that can be deducted from items if a customer makes a lower offer.
4. Mentally picture your sale. Do you have enough tables so that items can easily be seen? Will you need a rack for clothes on hangers? Will customers be able to easily and safely park? Where can you display signs and how many will you need?
5. Signs, signs, signs. You can purchase signs at home improvement stores, but you may have more success making your own. Often the purchased signs are small and overpriced. Buy brightly colored foam board or poster board (and then attach to cardboard) and a very big, permanent black marker. Invest in a staple gun as well. If there aren't many posts in your neighborhood, you may need to buy/find some wooden stakes also.
6. When making signs, be as neat as possible. (Use a projector, stencils, or computer-printed letters for best results.) Make lettering thick and large so it can easily be seen from a distance. Give the day, time, location, and a directional arrow for large signs on critical corners. For smaller signs leading to your house, day, time, and an arrow will do. Be sure to include two large signs for your yard. Put signs out the day before so that passers-by will make a mental note for the next day.
7. The time has come to mark your items. Stickers, masking tape, paper tags to tie on or pin will all do. Use a fine, permanent black marker. Be consistent in marking similar items. Remember that customers will be looking for bargains, not discount store prices. For pricier items, you may want to mark a price and add "Or Best Offer" to encourage customers. Consider adding a "$1 table" or "50 cents box".
8. Prepare your cash box and sale tally sheets. Have some bills and coins ready for making change. Keep a marker and extra stickers handy for the occasional mistakenly unmarked item.
9. On the morning of the sale, rise early and get to work. Set out items in groups such as shoes, t-shirts, kitchen items, etc. As purchases are made, remove stickers and place on your tally sheets. This will make it easier to reconcile the cash at the end of the day, especially if you have friends'/neighbors' items mixed with yours.
10. Enjoy the day and watch your customers enjoy purchasing your unwanted items. sales on the weekends and colorful signs appear on street corners. Perhaps you have entertained thoughts of having your own sale. It can't be too difficult, right? It's not, but you can optimize you success (and earnings) with a few easy steps.
Further entice your customers by selling baked goods. Children (who often are bored if you aren't selling toys!) will especially appreciate this. Keep it simple - prepare things you can bake in a pan and then slice. Wrap bars individually and pile up on a tray. Make little signs announcing the items and a sign indicating price. Yum!