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Have A Successful Yard Sale

May 18, 2011 | Alliant Credit Union

A yard sale is a great way to declutter your home and turn trash into cash. Having a successful yard sale requires planning, so get your pen and paper ready to start taking notes!

Tips to help make your yard sale a success:

Alert the neighbors. Create early interest in shopping and prompt others to throw their own yard sale by alerting your neighbors in advance. Alerting your neighbors will accomplish two things: potentially help bring more customers and won't make your neighbors upset due to an increase of street and foot traffic the day of your yard sale.

Select the best day. Determine what days of the week, month and year are likely to attract shoppers. Take into consideration when people get paid and will have extra spending money, such as the first of the month. If you live in a tourist area, plan it on a holiday weekend to attract tourists looking for bargains. Research if there's a community yard sale at school near you and buy a table.

Promote it. Promote your yard sale by posting ads in your local newspaper or online, such as Craigslist, and make signs to post in your neighborhood and fliers to pass out at community events. Approximately two weeks prior, start promoting the yard sale in the newspaper and online. Invite your Facebook friends and family to the yard sale by creating an event and ask them to share it with their friends and family. A week before the yard sale start posting signs in your neighborhood before the weekend starts, such as a Friday afternoon or evening. Don't skimp on the sign too - it's reflective of the items up for sale.

Your ads and neighborhood signs should include: street address, time/date of the sale and a description of what people will find at the yard sale to give people a reason to attend. Neighborhood signs should also include arrows pointing shoppers in the correct direction. Advertise around heavily traveled intersections close to your neighborhood and research for other yard sales in the neighborhood, post some of your signs in the same area as theirs to attract more shoppers. Keep track of where you are posting the signs so you can easily find and take them down afterwards.

Price and present to sell. The goal of a yard sale is to get rid of stuff, so price it to sell. If you have a lot of small items, instead of pricing items individually, create sections or box items and price the enter section, such as a $1/item section, $5/item section, $10/item section and so on. For the larger items, don't price them and ask shoppers what they're willing to pay. You may be surprised by how much their willing to pay and reduce the amount of haggling required to sell it.

Presentation is an important consideration too. Put big-ticket items closer to the street and put most things on tables. Smaller items that people can pocket should be kept at the checkout table and it is best to put clothing on racks grouped according to size, age and gender.

It's all in the details. A few details that can have impact on the success of your yard sale are:

  • Checking the 10-day forecast before advertising your yard sale. You don't want the chance of rain on the day of your yard sale. 
  • Starting early - yard sale enthusiast start shopping around 7:00am. 
  • Having an extension cord available so shoppers can test electronics before buying. 
  • Stockpiling plastic bags, so shoppers can carry their purchases home. 
  • Having enough change on hand, such as quarters, ones and fives. 
  • Getting a cash box and removing money throughout the day to place in a secure location.

Don't forget your safety. Remember to lock your door and don't let anyone inside to use the restroom or try on clothes. Make sure there are always two people on the sales floor to watch the cash box and help shoppers. Ask friends or family to help take shifts so there are always two people. And if you're not comfortable posting your address in online and newspaper advertisements, reference general block numbers.

If you don't sell everything at your yard sale, donate it or try and sell it online.

Good luck! We hope this helps you declutter your home and turn that trash into cash. What will you do with the cash? Save it, spend it or donate it. Tell us by answering the poll or posting a comment on Facebook.

For tips on what to include in your spring clean plan of attack, read Spring Cleaning Tips.


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