Apr 16 2009

5 steps to having a successful yard sale

Yard Sale(Photo via NicestAlan on Flikr. Used with Creative Commons license).

This is a guest post from Trisha Wagner. Trisha is a freelance writer for DepositAccounts.com where you can compare rates of deposit accounts from dozens of banks in one place.  Trisha writes regularly on the topics of personal finance and savings accounts.

Last night as I tripped over last season’s Hess truck, sending it rumbling across the floor with lights ablaze I came to the conclusion that it is time I address the toy situation in my home.  I’ve been putting it off for some time but with yard sale season right around the corner, I decided it is time to have a yard sale.  In doing so I can kill two birds with one stone:  getting rid of the “stuff” cluttering up my house and making some money on the side. 

Since I have never had a yard sale I enlisted the help of professional yard sailors (friends and family) for guidance in planning my first yard sale.  They offered the following tips which I’m sharing here in the hopes of helping anyone else who might want to make some extra cash while doing their spring cleaning.   

Location, Location, Location–  No- you are not selling real estate but you do want to look for a location which will receive a lot of traffic.  The ideal spot would obviously be your very own yard, however that is not always feasible.  You should look for a location that is easily accessible by passing traffic with plenty of places to park.  Local community groups often sponsor “town” or “block” yard sales where several families participate.  This is a great opportunity to pick up a lot of potential buyers. 

Planning What You Will Sell-  Get everyone in your family involved in picking out items that they no longer use to include in the yard sale.  In my case convincing my son to part with even one of his toys was a bit of a challenge but we have included him in the process of picking which toys will stay and which will go (to make room for new ones).  Everyone is looking for ways to save cash but that doesn’t mean they want to buy junk.  You will have more success if you pick items that are gently used but still offer value to someone else.  Avoid putting broken, stained or otherwise unusable items out for sale which may distract or deter people from looking at the other great bargains you may be offering. 

Advertise-  Do not rely on  the passerby alone to bring buyers to your table.  You should advertise in your local newspaper, grocery stores, community center and with signs in your neighborhood.  Don’t forget to tell your friends and family as well and ask them to spread the word. 

Pricing-  When you have a yard sale you should be prepared for some pricing negotiations.  Keep that in mind when you price your items.  If you need a guideline for pricing items usually one third or one fourth of the cost of the item new can be a starting point.  This is just a guideline and you will have to determine the “value” of the item for those who will be buying it.  Pricing each item may be a long and somewhat tedious task however it will save you the trouble on sale day of answering “how much do you want for that?” a thousand times.   

Money-  Yes making money is the goal of this whole production but don’t forget you will have to have change for your customers.  Both the size of your yard sale and the price of your items will determine how much change you should have.  Consider having at least $100 in mixed bills and change at the beginning of your sale to make change.  Don’t leave your change unattended, may people suggest wearing a fanny pack or apron with pockets to keep your money on hand if you will be moving around. 

For more on holding a yard sale, visit this post by Cheapnik.

Planning on visiting a lot of yard sales this year? You won’t want to miss Meridith’s post at Frugal Hacks.



3 Responses to “5 steps to having a successful yard sale”

  1. Once your yard sale is done make sure to take down any signs that you put up. Most telephone pole in our area have a few old garage sale signs that were never removed. Not good stewardship.

    Thanks,
    Nate

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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