Summertime means new wardrobes, fresh furniture, new toys – and yard sales. The best way to justify buying new goodies is to get rid of your old ones, but sometimes you can’t just get rid of it. Yard sales seem like the perfect median. But what sells well at a yard sale, and what do people buy at yard sales? Here’s some tips and tricks to selling your gently used goods.
Save up for one big yard sale. Having a yard sale every week may sound like a good idea at the time, but it sucks up a lot of your time. People are more likely to walk into a yard sale when there’s a lot of stuff, not a smattering of goods here and there. Just save your stuff for one big yard sale. Even better, organize with a couple of your neighbors to have several yard sales going on at once to attract bigger, better crowds.
Advertise your yard sale early in the week. If you put signs up on a Friday and have the yard sale the next day, very few people will show up. Start putting up signs on Tuesday or Wednesday so people know that they should swing by your house at some point that weekend. Advertise online – Craigslist’s “For Sale” section is a good start. Have your kids make up fun signs to put up around the neighborhood, if your neighborhood allows. Word of mouth to coworkers and friends is also always a great way to get people to show up. (Pro-tip: proofread the signs before you put them up! Make sure your kids know the difference between spellings of “garage” and “garbage”, or else NO ONE will want to show up.)
Start in the early morning. Prepare to be spending the whole day, from dawn till dusk, sitting on your lawn with all your wares out. Some people like to start early hunting for bargains while others like to pace themselves throughout the day. The best way to get them all is to wait for them to arrive at their own leisurely pace.
Choose a lazy weekend. Don’t pick weekends right before, during, or after holidays, such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving. Most likely people won’t be looking for bargains around that time, so wait for a lazy weekend where people most likely won’t have plans already set up.
Strategically place your items. Women are more likely to walk into yard sales than men, so place clothes and cosmetics in the middle or back of your yard. Similarly, place tools and heavy duty items, such as lawn mowers, in the front to entertain their begrudging male counterparts to have something to look at.
Place corresponding items together. If someone is looking at household items like a blender, they’re more likely to also look at your cutlery if you put that next to the blender.
Put a price tag on everything. It’s off-putting for the buyer to not know how much anything is. Many people pick and choose what they’re actually going to buy by how much something is. Whether it’s with little stickers or big cardboard signs, signify how much everything is. With larger items like sofas, lamps, and lawn mowers, put a big sign near it. With smaller items such as baseball cards, make up kits, and utensils, you can place them together and have them all priced the same, or put stickers on them.
The general rule of pricing is a third of what it cost new. However, clothes generally go for a lot less than that rule, so judge accordingly. Other older items probably wouldn’t follow that rule either. Garagesalestracker.com has a good list of what to tag as prices.
Keep your pets inside. Not everyone likes cats or dogs, and some are even allergic, so when in doubt, just keep your pets inside. Whenever there is a chance to not have your customers be deterred from coming to your yard sale, seize that moment.
The phrase “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” applies so well to yard sales. Grab a box for each family member and have them put items in it that they haven’t touched for the past few months. If they put them in and don’t pull them out before the yard sale, then it’s definitely a sellable item. Same thing with clothes: a tip I read on Pinterest was to place all your hangers backwards, hook pointing at you, and when you take something out, place the hanger back on with the hook pointing away from you. If at the end of several months you have clothes that are still placed hook pointing at you, they are sellable clothes.
Yard sales are also a great time to finally get rid of clothes you think you might fit back into one day, but maybe not. If someone buys them, great! No longer a worry. If not, then you can continue to dream. Just don’t get too clingy if someone eyes your favorite pair of jeans from college. Children’s and baby clothes are always a big hit, so definitely put all that out there. Despite the fact that most people wash their clothes after buying them, don’t forget to wash it yourself, just in case.
Men tend to drift toward tools, movies, sports paraphernalia, CDs/DVDs, computers, and other office supplies. If you have a bicycle to get rid of, try to fix it up (or at least label what is wrong with it) and place it in a visible place.
Women tend to lean more toward clothes, gently used cosmetic items, crafty tools, and kids stuff. Shoes will bring any woman up to your yard, especially if they’re in great condition. Jewelry will attract almost any woman, so keep some in plain sight so they can see it, but also so you can watch if anyone tries to steal it.
People in general walk through when they see larger items, such as chairs, sofas, yard tools, and building/repair items. Books are a great hit, so if you have a full bookshelf, take down books you’ve already read, or that you know you and your family have little intention of reading.
Kids items, such as clothes and toys, and pregnancy-related items tend to sell really well. People always seem to know someone who has a young kid or is pregnant. Place these items in a visible place to attract the glancing-over eyes.
Sometimes, some things are just not as sellable. They may be picked up, possibly even haggled for, but rarely bought.
Clothes are tough to sell. Especially if you don’t have a designated spot for someone to do a quick change, clothes are often looked at, but rarely bought. After putting it out, it’s probably just a better idea to donate it to a local charity than hold onto it and try to sell it again.
Magazines, even sold for cheap, rarely sell. Since they’re such a time-oriented item, if it’s not collectable-age, it won’t sell. Donate those to a nursing home or hospital or recycle them.
Regional items don’t do well. Selling your out-of-state college wear will be a struggle, along with road maps to places few people now travel to. These are items that are better to just donate to a Goodwill or Salvation Army to be cycled through.
Despite the fact that regular books sell well, textbooks are a bit harder to get rid of. Try your best, but know that you’ll never get full price for those books. Donate them to a local high school or college with corresponding subject level.
Having a yard sale should be fun and rewarding if done correctly. Knowing how to have a successful yard sale requires a lot more effort than originally thought, but getting rid of your old items is a great feeling of no longer having a cluttered house or closet. Don’t expect to get rid of everything; donate the rest, and breathe easier knowing that you had a good yard sale.