Autumn is here, and though the birds are getting ready to leave their nests, it’s the perfect time for you to spruce up yours. One way to get rid of things you don’t use anymore is to host a yard or garage sale. Sure, you could just donate or trash those old sweaters and vases, but you can recoup some of the money spent on that sweet concert t-shirt by throwing a fabulous fall yard sale – the weather is cooler and the foliage provides the perfect backdrop for your wares! I have five fail-safe tips I always follow to maximize profits and make the process smooth.
Advertise Your Sale
Place an ad on a local classified site such as Craigslist or yard sale search site clearly stating your address, sale date and time. Adding in specific things you have for sale is an additional attractor- people like to know what they’re going to see.
Let your neighbors know you’re planning a sale not only to alert them to the potential traffic, but to allow them to have their own sales. Multi-family and block sales attract more traffic!
Have big, bright signs at the ends of your street to clearly indicate your sale. This also attracts people driving by who didn’t see your ad. Just be sure to take down the signs at the end of the day to avoid empty yard sale promises.
Clean Your Items
Make sure your items are dust-free and look as new as possible. Anything unopened will get snapped up quickly– what better way to recycle that perfume gift set from Christmas than to let some other person buy it to foist on someone else?
Iron clothes and hang them up; people will pay a higher price for something hanging neatly rather than in a jumble on a table. It shows you cared for your clothing, and that it’s probably in good condition.
Organize Your Sale Space
If your sale is in your garage, hang clean sheets to cover the walls to make it brighter and cover up anything not for sale, thus avoiding situations where a customer wants to buy your snow shovel.
Have enough surface area to display sale items. Get creative– use plastic storage containers to supplement your tables. Broom handles between two ladders make nifty clothes racks. Spreading items out allows easier perusing.
For books, bringing a lightweight shelf outside makes customer browsing easy. Group books by genre and face some covers out to increase exposure. If people have to crouch to paw through boxes of books, they’ll probably spend less time browsing and buying.
Place furniture and other large pieces near the foot of your driveway to attract customers and alert them to the sale location.
Have a power strip available for testing electronics- it’s reassuring to customers to double check that coffee maker to see if it actually works!
Put a price tag on each item to avoid confusion and to save yourself from answering price questions constantly. If you have many similar things, a sign such as “Coffee mugs: 50 cents unless otherwise marked” will save you time while still clearly advertising the price. A deal such as three books for the price of two encourages people to choose more items!
Yard sale customers tend to come prepared to haggle, so don’t be afraid to let things go for a lower price. Aunt Millie’s platter might be a treasure to you, but to anyone else, it’s just a dish. Price your things low so they’ll move!
Have small bills and change on hand to make payment easier- your customers will appreciate being able to buy your two dollar alarm clock with a $20 bill!
The final tip is to create display vignettes with your wares. If you’re selling a table, set up some other items on top as though it were in use. Drape a scarf over the table as an accent piece. Get Aunt Millie’s platter and some dishes and set up a picnic. An armchair looks even cozier with a throw pillow and a small stack of books.
When these items get snapped up (and they will!) you’ll get to create another vignette and watch the process repeat!
With a little sweat equity and a sense of adventure, you can have a successful, profitable yard sale. Bonus tip– box up everything left over and immediately bring it to your local donation center so things don’t make their way back into your house.
Enjoy your newfound income- just beware of spending it on too much stuff, or you’ll be back in the same situation next year!
Do you have any tips for hosting a yard sale? Share with our other readers below!