I started out this summer HATING yard sales. Well, I loved going to yard sales. But actually pulling all my stuff out to a table in the driveway and trying to sell it- hate that. And it’s not just all the work involved that I hate. It’s more the awkwardness of people looking at my stuff and deciding if they will buy it or not. Thinking of a price and wondering if that’s fair or not. The LONG spaces between customers where I am just sitting out there. Okay, I think you get the point. I hated yard sales.
My husband, Shane, has been talking about doing a yard sale almost every summer since we got married but every time I had a convenient excuse as to why we shouldn’t. But this summer is different. For those of you who haven’t read my newsletter, we are moving at the end of this month.
I am no stranger to moving. When I was 20 I packed up all I had and moved from Pennsylvania to the Northwest Territories, Canada. But honestly all I had at the time was a couple boxes of stuff. Then since we have been married Shane and I have moved three times. But each time it was to a home less than five minutes away (as everything is in Inuvik).
This move will be a little different because we are moving to a different Territory. It is about a 15 hour drive from Inuvik. And this time I am not just moving a couple boxes of my beloved treasures. I am moving my home. I am packing for myself, my husband, and three kids. And we need to fit everything we own into the back of one truck and a mini van.
Now you can see why my attitude about yard sales just had to change.
Since the beginning of June we have had 6 yard sales. 6 yard sales! That’s basically every other weekend, sometimes every weekend. We have had two not so great yard sales but the rest have been really good! I have learned what works and what most definitely does not work! I still don’t love yard sales but my attitude has changed about them a little.
So with all that in mind, I thought I would share with you some of my tips to a successful yard sale!
- Proper advertising
The last yard sale I had I didn’t put up a flyer until the night before. You know how many people came? Three. Now, usually around here a night’s notice is plenty of time. But not this weekend. It just didn’t work. The best way to advertise a yard sale here is just on the local Facebook buy/sell/trade page. I would definitely suggest advertising on a local page like that along with a couple flyers around town.
- Check local events calendar
Are there a couple other yard sales happening in your general area? That might be a good day to have your yard sale. Is there a special event happening in your area that day? That might not be a great day for a yard sale. Check what’s happening around you and plan accordingly!
- Be friendly
I know this sounds so silly. Like, of course I need to be friendly. But the first yard sale I sat awkwardly at my table and hardly said a word to anyone unless they talked to me first. Greet people with a “Good morning!” or “Welcome!”. Be friendly and welcoming.
- Spread things out
I highly doubt people will want to sort through your things for you. Have things laid out in a neat, organized way. People should be able to see everything you have to offer without digging around.
- Know your price
This was my biggest mistake my first yard sale. Some one asked me for a price. I said I don’t know but she could make me an offer. Because she didn’t have any clue what that thing was worth she did not buy it. She wasn’t interested in pricing it for me. That was my job. If you don’t know exactly what something is worth think of how much you would pay for it. Start there. But remember to be flexible in your price! If someone makes a counter offer definitely consider it.
- Team up
When people are driving by looking for yard sales they will for sure be more attracted to the yard sale with a lot of stuff. I do it. If there is just a little bit of stuff I keep right on moving. So say you and your friend team up and have your yard sales together. You each have the same amount as if you were doing it alone but the customers see twice as much!
- Have plenty of change on hand
The day before your yard sale go to the bank and get some small change. In Canada that means lots of loonies and toonies. We also make sure we have a couple fives and tens.
- Have bags ready
Be saving those grocery bags the weeks leading up to your yard sale. I have found that people will often grab one and just fill it up. Doing that they are buying more than if they were to just stick with what they can fit in their arms.
- Make some baked goods
Cinnamon buns, cupcakes, popcorn balls, rice krispie treats, etc. Things that can be sold individually and for relatively cheap. You will be surprised by how much extra money your yard sale will make by having a few goodies on hand.
- Have a free box
I always set out a box of free stuff. Have it be one of the first things people see. This is especially great if you have a couple toys or books in that box. Little kids can play while Mom and Dad look around at the yard sale. Not to mention, some people who normally wouldn’t stop might stop by if they see a box with a big “FREE” on the side.
So there are my tried and true tips for your successful yard sale. Have you had any yard sales this summer? Are you planning on having one soon? What are some things you have learned to do or not to do at a yard sale. Or maybe you love going to yard sales. What are some things you have noticed at yard sales that are great ideas? What have you noticed that are not great ideas?
I still have a few yard sales ahead of me this month so I am open to any suggestions you all have!
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