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How to Throw a Successful Yard SaleJune 13th, 2016 by
With warm weather comes many great things—baseball season, longer days, and even an overwhelming desire to clean up and clean out your home. A yard sale is a classic way to make your mess worth something again. With a little planning, you can make room for the new season and earn a small profit on the way.
Location, location, location. A yard sale is essentially a small business, and you should treat it like one. The goal of any store is to make sales. How do they do that? For one, they pick strategic locations. If your neighborhood is in a busy area, a little advertising is all you need to turn out buyers. If not, you’ll have to get creative. Consider teaming up with neighbors or friends in locations with heavy traffic to optimize visibility. If you want to go it alone, pay special attention to where and how you advertise so as to entice the types of buyers willing to put in the effort to find you.
Timing is also essential—most garage sales happen on non-holiday weekends. Just as big-name stores strategize how best to market items, so, too, should you. Let season and climate influence your inventory and price points. In short, expect to get more money for your dresser than your skis at your summer sale. Blogs like Get Rich Slowly provide great, in-depth breakdowns of what to sell and when.
When it comes to advertising, don’t be afraid of the future. Placing ads on sites like eBayClassifieds, Craigslist, and YardSaleFinder is a free way to advertise your sale to serious buyers. You should also check Facebook for Yard Sale groups in your area. The best ads are short and descriptive. Online options even allow you to include photos, which helps push your big-ticket items to enthusiastic buyers. Remember, the goal is to find buyers interested in what you have to offer. Focus on your sale’s strength—be it unique pieces, fine antiques, or bargain-basement prices.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you should abandon the classics. Handmade posters are a great way to attract impulse buyers, involve your kids in the sale, or just channel your creative side. Yard sale enthusiasts recommend making sure your signs are still legible, unique, and descriptive.
Give your sale curb appeal. After the high of the spring cleanout has worn off, the last thing you want to do is more organizing. Nevertheless, creating an inviting environment is essential to taking your yard sale from hot mess to money maker. Try to organize your sale in a way that highlights your best inventory. Better Homes and Gardens recommends putting some of your best inventory toward the curb to draw interest.
Diversify your payment methods. While the yard sales of old were strictly cash only, the modern rummage sale also runs on plastic. Apps like PayPal, The Square, and Venmo allow you to process credit and debit cards for a small fee. This is a great way to attract impulse shoppers and push sales on higher-priced items.
Price to sell, but don’t be a pushover. If your goal is just to get rid of clutter, push deals that encourage people to buy in high volumes. Specials—like “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” or “Fill a Bag for $5”—will help clear items faster. On the other hand, if your goal is to make a profit, pricing is essential. Savvy shoppers may attempt to negotiate, but that’s not a bad thing. Start your pricing higher and be prepared to negotiate downward as the sale goes on. It’s important to be ambitious but not inflexible. If you get offered 15 dollars instead of 20, it’s still a sale.
No matter how or what you sell, make sure to keep a record and give out receipts at every purchase. This helps keep your money accounted for and can protect you from any unsatisfied customers in the future.
With preparation, a garage sale can make spring cleaning profitable and maybe even enjoyable. Remember to think like you’re running a small business, if only for a weekend.