Whether spring cleaning has revealed a mountain of crap you haven’t used in decades, you need space in the garage to house your new sea-doo or you’ve just got a bunch of junk left over from last year’s yard sale, the time is coming when you can once again try to sell your old belongings in your driveway. Hooray for summer!
If you want to get the most out of your yard sale – that is, get rid of as much as possible while profiting as much as possible – you need to take this thing seriously. You can’t just expect to throw out a few tables of junk and make a pretty penny. That’s not how this works. To have the most enticing garage sale on the block, you need to put consideration into advertising, staging your product and the customer experience.
Here are our best tips for throwing the most successful yard sale you’ve ever had.
Get the word out
In the age of social media, promoting your yard sale is easier than ever. Use Facebook, Instagram and any other platform you’re a part of to share with the world that you’re selling your belongings. You can also post in any neighbourhood groups you know of or on local community pages. It’s a good idea to include pictures of key items and inform your audience of the type of items you’re selling – children’s toys, vintage clothing, furniture, your entire Beanie Baby collection. You can even add a picture of your house so people have an idea of what they are looking for when they come around. Better yet, put your graphic design skills to the test (or use this website) and draw up a convenient little invitation graphic with all the info a potential buyer would need.
You can also go old school and reach out to your local news and radio websites to post advertisements in their classifieds section.
Think like a retailer
If you’re going to the trouble of setting up a sale, you might as well commit to going all the way. Start off with an appealing-looking sign that announces to the world that your yard is now a store. Make it bright, make it eye-catching and put it someplace people will see it. If your house isn’t visible from a highly-trafficked road, put up more signs around the neighbourhood to draw traffic to you. Don’t forget to include arrows (pointing the correct direction), your address and the type of items for sale.
In your yard, you’re going to want to take the time to display your items in an appealing way. Don’t make people hunt through piles of clothes and boxes of miscellaneous items to find hidden treasures. Show them with your staging that everything you have is a treasure worth good money. Also be sure to group items in ways that make sense. Keep sets of dishes together and group by colour or even set up an example place setting. Display clothes on racks or at least hanging up somewhere. Mark prices clearly so that you don’t have to be answering “How much for this?” every minute or so and tag larger items with larger signs. If you’re looking for people to make you an offer, have a sign that says that.
Don’t forget to tidy throughout the day to keep things looking their best.
Bundle small similar items
If you want to sell items that don’t make sense to price individually – toy cars, doll clothes, silverware – put them in bundles and sell them in a set. Not only does it make pricing easier for you, it gets rid of multiple items in one go and gives the customer a convenient way to carry their whole haul together.
Have an electrical source
If you’re selling anything electronic, have an extension cord readily available to prove that the item works. The last thing you want is someone asking if they can come into your house to check if the alarm clock they want to buy still works; that sounds like the beginning of a thriller film you don’t want playing out in your home. The same logic goes for anything battery-operated. Be able to prove it’s worth the money.
Yard sale-hunters are early risers, so you better be out there when they are. Start your sale around 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. at the latest. It makes for an early morning, but you don’t want the earlier sales to steal all your clientele.
Find a way to upsell
Make the most of your yard sale by adding other classic homemade money-making schemes like a bake sale or lemonade stand to the mix. That way, even if people don’t find anything they like among your used items, they can grab a brownie and a cup of lemonade for two dollars. This tactic works especially well if you have cute kids who can man the table for you and entice customers with their youthful charm.
Be careful with your money
We like to think the best of people, but you don’t want to take chances with your hard-earned cash. Make sure you have a float and keep it somewhere close to you either in a locked cash box or a fanny pack. As you make money, deposit it in the house peroidically (while someone watches the sale, of course).
Once your sale is over, you also want to be smart with the cash you made from it. It can be easy to throw that money in your wallet and then blow it without even realizing. Consider making a plan for the sale revenue beforehand and sticking to it. Since it’s surprise money – not from your income – you could put it toward debt, add it to your savings or plan to do something fun with it.
At the end of the day, donate what’s left
When you’ve closed down for the day, don’t throw everything back in your basement to wait around for another year. Since you’ve already decided that this is stuff you’re never going to use again, you might as well donate it to a local drive or thrift store. That gets it out of your house and to someone who can use it.