Not my quote, but from a friend mocking our yard sale goal this weekend. Turns out, it was a pretty hoppin', well beyond our expectations for success, out with the old and in with the new kind of good time. Well, Terry says there was no good time about that, but I choose to look at the half full glass.
(This is the only picture I took the whole day. It was during the only time in the day that there weren't people and I could snap a photo)
I wish that I could give a whole lot of advice on how it was as successful as it was. Here's how I opted to tackle the beast, and what worked best for us. Again, this probably isn't the best of scenarios for everybody, but it was a stud for us.
- Pre-Planning: The weekend before the yard sale, I went through ALL of our clothes, as in making a pile for keep, a pile for what is traveling in the move with us but needs to be packed up, and what is yard saleing.
- Pricing: I had no idea how to price things. No Clue. I called my sister-in-law to get a gauge on clothes, and Terry and I discussed the rest and were pretty much on the same point. I had a mental roladex in my head of what was the lowest we'd be willing to go on each item, and stuck with that.
- Advertising: My only advertising was one ad on Craigslist, and 4 neon pink posters, two of them being on main roads near our house, and two leading people into our neighborhood and pointing them where to go to get to us. From 7:45am until 1:15 when I was putting my last bins in my car and two 90yr old women and one of their over-talkative daughters came and rummaged through it (it actually worked out well, they bought all my purses, random but worthwhile), there was only one lull of about 10 minutes. And then lull was because the wind caught one of my signs and was pointing people the wrong way. Sure enough, with that fixed it was non-stop people again. I'd say buying and making the signs were the best $3.98 investment I've made in a while.
- Eye-Candy: If at all possible, have a 280lb man present during the morning to help load heavy items, carry 1lb bags for old ladies and let them fawn over him, and be there to be the jokester for the hagglers. He was such a big help for me; it was very much a team sport, and I appreciated it so much.
Things I learned for future yard sales
- Neighbors: Invite all of your neighbors to join in and give them a little extra time to get stuff together. I went and told our neighbors Friday morning what we were doing more as a courtesy so they knew why there may be people parking in front of their house in the morning. It turns out, had they had a little more time to plan, they would have joined in, which could have brought more interested buyers.
- Signs Down!: While it is completely fine to let your boyfriend leave at the end of the yard sale to go golf on a gorgeous afternoon, make sure that all the signs for the sale are taken down before he goes. Otherwise, you are stuck trying to tear down, but people keep coming to look and buy. And you can't leave everything outside unattended to take the signs down for people to stop coming...because there are people still there.
- Off-Limits Zoning: Create a back or a "finish" area to your yard sale. People, while I'm sure with good intentions, are snoopers if you let them. It should have been very clear that there were no tables set up in our garage, but people were still looking and trying to get up in our things because we didn't create a stopping point for them.
- Work on Skills: Use the time people are wanting to haggle as an opportunity to work on your negotiating skills. I am awful at haggling. It makes me horribly uncomfortable. I let a few things go for a dollar or two under our set bottom price at the beginning, but as I got more opportunities to challenge myself with it, I got better and more confident in holding firm on a price. The worst they could do was set it back down on the table for someone else to buy it.
The rest of the items that we didn't sell (it ended up being about 4 boxes) went over to Goodwill. It was a great first time experience! I would challenge anyone who has a lot of stuff building up in their homes to take the opportunity to purge it and make a little (or a lot of!) money while you're at it. The de-clutter feels SO GOOD!