Is clutter getting in your way? Let me show you step-by-step how to run a successful yard sale using proven, time tested tips and tricks. Turn unused items into cold hard cash. Done right, you can reap BIG rewards on all fronts.
There comes a point in time where enough is enough. Of stuff. Too… much… stuff. I’ve always considered myself to be quite organized and love having everything in it’s place. But what happens when the accumulation of things you once thought you just had to have, or the numerous gifts or treasures of trinkets and brick-a-brack have overflowed to the point there’s not an inch of real estate left in a cupboard, drawer, or closet?
It’s time to have a yard sale! As Baxter Black would say, “Call the dogs and put out the fire.” Translation = Get those hush puppies moving and put an end to all of the madness.
Having a yard sale can be a lot of work. Letting go of “stuff” doesn’t have to be difficult with the right attitude and the proper toolbox of tricks and know-how. Being a self-proclaimed aficionado from both sides of the fence, I’m going to share my many, many years worth of tips from treasure hunting, collecting, and selling to help you navigate your way to holding a rewarding yard sale.
First of all, decide how big you want to go. In other words, are you going to pick just one area of the house, garage, or outside shed/yard area that needs some serious filtering out? Perhaps the spare bedroom, or, um, what should be serving as such for when Aunt Mabel comes to visit. You know what I’m talking about. Do you even remember what the sheets look like? Enough said.
If you’re going to go all out, as in, every nook and cranny inside and out, then it’s going to take a bit of time and planning. But it doesn’t have to be daunting. So, LET’S GO!
- First, designate a “holding area” where you are going to put everything that you’re collecting for the sale. It should be secure and where the elements of weather won’t destroy the goods. If you’re fortunate to park a car or two in the garage, leave one outside so you can use that space. If you don’t have such a space, consider renting a storage unit for one month where you can take your sorted treasures. You could hold your sale right there when you’re ready and not have people trampling your property.
- Collect/save boxes. If you’re a frequent on-line shopper, this should be easy. Otherwise, ask friends, the produce man, anyone to save boxes for you. Make sure they’re manageable in size.
- Enlist the help of a friend. Having someone detached emotionally will help you really get through things. An evil eye that stares back at you saying “Seriously, are you really going to ever use that again?” can maximize your efforts and keep things in perspective.
- Go room-by-room. Place what’s going in the yard sale in a box. Have some little round stickers handy with a writing pen. Decide right then and there how much you’re willing to sell each item for, tag it, and put it in the box. Do this in each area you want to de-clutter, then move the boxes to the holding area.
- Pick a day(s) to hold the yard sale. Fridays and Saturdays are best. You can extend it to Sunday if you have a lot of things left to sell. I like to hold them from 8 AM to 1 PM. Don’t be a slave to it the whole day, unless you want to. Most treasure seekers are early birds, and most will show up before the noon hour.
- Make your signs. I find hot pink or bright yellow to be effectively visual and eye catching. Use a thick black sharpie pen and make your letters large and legible. KEEP THE SIGNS SIMPLE, and don’t use actual “dates” in case you want to use the signs again. Here’s how mine look: HUGE YARD SALE, FRIDAY & SATURDAY 8 AM – 1 PM. FOLLOW ARROWS. Notice I didn’t put an address. No details are needed. THEY WILL FIND YOU! They’re treasure seekers, remember? Make several signs with large arrows pointing the way to post every few blocks on the same colored signs. It’s like leaving a trail of bread crumbs. No one is going to hunt for an address. They’re going where the goods are, and where cars are parked every which way by the curb. Just one more note, don’t waste your money on a classified. The yard sale scavengers are going to be out there. Make sure your signs are up at major intersections. Check local ordinances for signage, and in some cases, permits. Some cities have figured out how to pad their coffers by requiring permits to hold a yard sale, so check first. Be legal.
- Decide how you’re going to “show and sell.” You know what’s going out, everything is priced. You’ll need long tables. Borrow some if you need to. Churches and schools are a good resource, and might charge a small fee for renting them. You can also set up saw horses with large pieces of ply-board. Large, sturdy boxes inverted work, too. Try to keep the items off the ground, and keep them grouped. Kitchen with kitchen, sporting goods with sporting goods, toys with toys, etc. You get the idea.
- Have a cash drawer ready for the day. This can be a bank bag or a hip satchel with lots of change. I start with 20 single dollar bills, and some quarters. Don’t get caught up in nickels or dimes. Lot pricing works well, especially for glassware and small items. 10 for $1, etc. There will always be someone handing you a 20 dollar bill wanting you to make change first thing in the morning. Really. Bite me. So rude.
- Have helpers. One or two extra people are necessary for managing traffic, fielding questions, keeping the goods organized, or making change. Reward them with an early bird showing and let them set aside a stash to be negotiated at the end of the day. Remember their worth, so don’t penny pinch. Depending on what they want, I will most likely gift them the treasures as a “thank you” for helping. It can be a lot of grunt work, so reward accordingly.
- Okay, so the day has arrived. Plan on driving out to post your signs no earlier than 30 minutes before start time. The yard salers will be following you after you put your sign up!
- Keep cold bottled waters on hand. And at noontime, order pizza delivery!
- You and your helpers will be famished by then. Try to keep it to the rear of things. You won’t believe how many shoppers will think you’re serving lunch for them, too. I know, the nerve.
- As people stop showing up and it’s well after your posted time, start assessing the leftover items. This is where the rubber hits the road. After all, it’s NOT going back in the house or garage. So, here are the choices: 1) Take it all to a charity or thrift store of choice. Be sure to get a receipt for tax write-off purposes. After all, it’s a charitable donation, or 2) Take what’s truly junk and haul it off to the dump. Period.
- Sweep out the area you’ve been working in and take in a deep breath. You’re done. YOU DID IT! And, you should have a nice pile of $$$ at the end of the day!
I’m in the process of staging my own yard sale, and am going through everything. I’ve finally come to terms with letting go of the things that no longer serve me, or fit my fancy. Even inherited items that were near and dear to a loved one. It’s better to release them into the hands of someone who will truly appreciate and use them. That’s what makes it all the easier. There’s no feeling of loss or that OMG moment of why did I sell that. I’m left with a warm heart seeing someone trolley off with their new-found treasure, knowing they will enjoy it.
Spring has sprung, and there’s no better time than the present to make plans for a yard sale if you’ve been thinking about it. Don’t wait though. There will be too much nice weather ahead to enjoy gardening and recreating. So don’t procrastinate. Get it done.
I hope you’ve found these tips to be of some help. If you have any additional ideas or strategies you’ve found to be of help when holding a yard sale, please share with us in the comment section below.
STAY CALM AND YARD SALE ON!
Have a great weekend everyone, and thanks for stopping in!