Having a yard sale is the perfect way to get rid of things you don’t use and turn them into cash. Although the prospect of conducting a yard sale may seem a little daunting, it’s actually easier than you might think. The first caveat of a good yard sale is to have good quality merchandise. The second is that it needs to be priced attractively, and the third is that the merchandise should be displayed in a neat and orderly fashion.
Pick your items carefully
Clean out your basement, attic, garage and closets; keep items that are gently used but still serviceable as sellable items. Take items you don’t think you can sell to Goodwill or simply turn them into rags, work clothes, etc. Remember, if you wouldn’t want to wear it, someone else won’t want to buy it. Similarly, if an electrical appliance is past its useful life, it probably won’t bring much money unless someone has the exact appliance and needs parts.
Common sense pricing
When pricing your items, keep in mind that people are looking for bargains at yard sales so they don’t want to pay store prices. A good guideline is to not price an item at more than 40% of retail price. Since anything that doesn’t sell will have to be stored again, you want to sell as much of it as possible, so use your prices as guidelines, not hard and fast rules. When negotiating a price, ask yourself whether you would rather have the cash or continue to store the unused item.
In addition, all merchandise for sale should be clearly marked with the price. Items can be priced individually or they can be grouped on a rack or table by price. Pricing items individually may take a little extra time but it prevents buyers from swapping items on adjacent tables or racks. Consider getting an old pricing gun to make this less time consuming… I would look on eBay, or go to my local grocery store and ask if I can buy one from them.
Clean and organized
Another consideration is that the merchandise should be neat and clean. Even though clothing may be out of style, people may still buy it as long as the item is clean and in reasonably good condition. A clean and unwrinkled shirt, for example, will bring a higher price than a similar shirt that is wadded up on a table and soiled. Additionally, tools that have been cleaned up and are not covered with dirt, oil and grease will be more likely to sell, as is furniture that has been dusted and polished.
Having a multi-family yard sale is an excellent way to attract more sales since prospective buyers will have more merchandise from which to select. Also, this reduces the advertising effort and expense because more families are sharing the work and the cost.
Advertising = cash
Advertise the yard sale on local street corners near the location of the sale and use heavy-duty, weatherproof poster board and waterproof, permanent marker. When making the signs, be sure to include the address, the date(s) and time, and that it is a multi-family sale. Use large, bold lettering to ensure that passers by can easily read the sign; stand thirty feet away from the finished sign and see if you can read it easily. If not, make another sign.
Posting on Craigslist and in the classified section of the local newspaper are excellent ways to attract more customers. Remember, the better your marketing efforts, the more people you’ll have to sell to.
Keep change on hand
Be sure to have plenty of cash on hand for making change. Dollar bills, quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies will be the method of exchange for your yard sale so make sure there are ample funds for making change. Some type of cash drawer will be necessary, whether it is a locking box or an old register, because you don’t want to see any of your hard-earned cash walking or blowing away.
Be prepared for shoppers to arrive at least a couple of hours ahead of time for the day you have your yard sale. Many people make a day of yard-sale shopping and start very early in the morning; they may well arrive before the posted times.
Enjoy the interaction at your garage sale and look forward to the extra cash you’ll have in your wallet at the end of the day!
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