Whether it is spring, fall, or post-holiday cleaning, time to move, or you are in need of an influx of cash, a successful yard sale or garage sale, called tag sales in some areas, can be a great way to rid yourself of not junk but something others may truly want or require. It’s also a relatively easy way for you to earn a return on your investment and not have to cart so much stuff to the landfill. If your local refuse group charges you money per pound or by bag, this alone can be a money saver.
Yet the start of any successful yard sale or garage sale is not to fill tables with just junk. While one person’s trash can be another’s treasure, you must seed your sale with items that are truly desirable. When you do so, you increase the chances of both customers and sales.
So what is desirable? The answer to this question varies in some locations. If you have friends or neighbors in your area who have held profitable yard or garage sales, ask them what sold best. Also asked them for any special tips they have; many are willing to share their experience, good or bad.
Without geographic differences, some of the most popular items include:
– consumer electronics
– tools of all types
– clothing, especially good quality and good condition children?s clothing
– items still in their original boxes in mint or never used condition
Variety and quantity can matter to the people who frequent yard and garage sales. There are many people who browse through the newspaper and look for signs every weekend trying to find such a sale. These are often the very folks you want to target.
Thus, if you don’t think you have enough for a yard or garage sale with variety and quantity, you may want to go in with neighbors or family members since those sales labeled “multi-family” can garner more attention from the masses. It makes it sound more likely they will find what they want if they show up at your place.
Also, take a very good look around your attic, garage, and all your other storage areas. You may actually be surprised by what you find that you do not need. Even the smallest household tends to have an accumulation of dishes, serving ware, candlesticks, tools, furniture, and appliances that have never been more than unwrapped. Think about all those old holiday gifts you squirreled away because you could find no use for them.
Once you determine you have enough merchandise, you have some tasks ahead of you. Namely, you need to:
1) Clean all items.
2) Determine a value for items.
3) Tag each item with a suggested price.
4) Advertise your sale in local newspapers and in print-outs you affix to local bulletin boards in public areas where people can find them
5) Make sure your ad gives concrete directions as well as the day, date, and hours of your sale.
6) Set up tables where smaller items can be placed as well as clean ground space to place larger pieces; if the ground is wet, you might consider having the sale in your garage or using tarps on your driveway or yard to keep items dry.
7) Have both paper and coins to make proper change; you can always exchange surplus change for higher denominations later.
8) Consider whether you want to do any of the “nice extras” of such a sale: some people sell grilled hot dogs or coffee or cans of soda for a dollar a pop while others actually feature live entertainment like a neighbor who sings well or the neighborhood magician.
You also need to prepare your haggling skills. A certain percentage of all sale attendees will want to haggle even over items that are marked 50 cents or less. It?s the nature of the yard sale beast, a friend tells me.
On the day of the sale, be prepared for early birds. Those experienced with yard or garage sales say it is not at all unusual to have people show up at 7 AM for a sale set to begin at 10. Likewise, you may close sales at 3 PM only to have a big van pull in around 5 PM hoping for a look at your merchandise. There are also serious shoppers who purposely avoid main sales hours because they hope to cut a deal.
Here’s another important tip. If you suspect something is valuable, try to determine its current value ahead of your sale. Don’t assume some nice, ethical person will see it and insist on paying you fair market price when you’ve tagged it to go for $5.
What happens if weather bursts your sales balloon or you just don’t get many takers? Rather than cart all the stuff back inside to make room for it, you can set up a rain date at a later time. But you can also contact a flea market or someone else about to have a yard or garage sale to see if you can join them.