If you’ve never thought about holding regular yard sales as way to make some extra money, the following tips might have you pondering the idea and decide to give it a try. The first thing to realize about having regular yard sales is what regular means to you. It might mean once a month, once a week or every Saturday and Sunday. The thing to remember about yard sales is that, like flea markets, the best days to set them up are on the weekends since the majority of the workforce are at work during the week. Also, yard (garage) sales are typically held very early in the morning, beginning around 7 or 8 a.m. and last until sometime between 12 noon and 3 o’clock in the afternoon usually.
Tip 1. Place – Determine first whether you have a good setup for having yard sales on a regular basis. Do you have a house with a front or side yard that has a clear area for displaying items on tables or blankets. Could you even string some clothesline between two trees for items such as clothing? Tables are best since they make it easier for people to examine items more closely without having to bend or squat down, plus it’s more professional looking. Also, if you have a garage that’s easily accessible or a covered carport, this is even better since you would have some protection from light rainfall or a glaring sun.
Tip 2. Items – Conduct an assessment of how many belongings you have for a yard sale. If you have a lot of stuff you don’t need or want anymore, this might be enough to get you started for a sale or two. To continue doing yard sales on a regular basis, you’ll have to have more things to sell. Talk to family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers about whether they have belongings they no longer need. They may be willing to give you their stuff, glad to be rid of it, or they may want some of the money from anything you sell. If this is the case, but you’re going to be the one doing the work, you should get the larger percentage of the money.
Remember that a lot of people give stuff away to places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army all the time. Either because they don’t have the time or desire to do yard sales or they don’t want to throw out things someone else may be able to use. Because of this, there is sufficient evidence to believe that there are a number of households giving their things away. If you can persuade some of these households to let you take the items off their hands, they may be willing to do so. You could offer for them to drop off items at your home or offer a free pickup from their home providing it’s within reasonable distance.
Tip 3. Advertising – So the next thing to do is get the word out that people can contact you to get rid of their stuff. Whichever way you opt to get the word out, it’s best to do it for free, such as posting on Craigslist, Facebook or Twitter. You could also send an e-mail to everyone you know and ask them to forward the e-mail to everyone they know. If by chance you don’t have a computer, laptop, cell phone or other device with internet, you might have a friend or family member who would be willing to advertise for you. Or perhaps there is a small local neighborhood paper that wouldn’t charge much for a short ad.
When it comes to advertising for your yard sale, again I would say, try and do it for free. You can put signs around the neighborhood which works well for a lot of people. If you happen to already have the supplies around the house there will be no cost involved, except for a bit of gas when you drive to put the signs up. If you make signs though, be sure to write in very large, bold letters the date, time, address and possibly have arrows pointing the way to go. I see numerous signs for yard sales regularly around my neighborhood and from a distance they’re often unreadable. Again, other ways to notify everyone of your yard sale is on Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter. Some people run an ad in the regular syndicated local newspaper. This is not an option I would choose since it can easily cost $20-30 dollars and some people don’t subscribe to the paper.
Tip 4. Managing – Keep the whole procedure as simple as possible. Case in point; the first time I ever had a yard sale, I bought little stickers to make price tags. Common sense I thought, since people would want to know how much things were and I wouldn’t have to answer the same question over and over. I spent a couple of hours just writing and attaching these little price tags. It was very discouraging when I spent all that time preparing and then hardly anyone came to my yard sale.
The next time I had a yard sale, I simply put everything out on tables, blankets, and the front porch. I placed items according to the price I wanted. One table had 50 cent items on one end of the table and $1.00 items on the other end. Another small table was .75 cent items. The blanket was $2.00 items. A large CD case contained a slew of CD’s from which I had removed all my favorites and sold the rest at a price of $1.00 per CD. Larger items like a shelf, microwave, and bicycle had no pricing on them. I decided to just keep the price in my head since the number of larger items was limited. I was extremely happy at the end of this yard sale, when I felt as though I hadn’t worked very hard at all and netted $282.00 total.
Tip 5. Appearance – Suffice it to say that it should be obvious to most people that if any items are badly in need of a cleaning, they should be cleaned first. Or if they’re too scuffed, chipped, stained, marked, broken, etc. chances are most people will not be interested. At yard sales, people are usually looking for items they need at the cheapest price possible, but they want them to be in decent, working condition.
Tip 6. Knowledge – Be savvy about what items sell best. While it’s true that you can never know for sure what particular item someone may be looking for, some items always sell better than others. One thing that I always see a lot of at yard sales is men’s and women’s clothes and I rarely see anyone buying them. This is not the case for babies and children’s clothes which can sell well, if they’re in good condition. Understandably, men and women can be more difficult to fit when it comes to clothes, plus the fact that at a yard sale, there’s really nowhere for people to try the clothes on sufficiently. Yet people always need clothes and people always seem to have a lot of clothes at yard sales. If you can easily provide some sort of structure with a mirror where they can try clothes on, it might be worth the while. If not, concentrate on other items that sell well.
Another thing to remember about the items you’re selling is that if they’re electrical, most people will want to plug them in and make sure they work before leaving with them. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have an outlet nearby.
Tip 7. Transactions – Yard sales operate on a cash basis only. Often times, buyers will try to negotiate with you over the price or offer you a lower price than what you’re asking. You may want to take this into consideration when setting your prices. You might want to leave a little room for negotiating, but don’t set a price so high no one will be interested. Occasionally, some customers will ask you to hold something and tell you they need to go get more money. Sometimes, this is true and sometimes they never return. If this happens, you’ll have to decide and go with your instinct regarding this since it could result in a lost sale, if the first person doesn’t return and someone else wanted to buy the same item in the meantime.
All in all, holding yard sales can be fun and fruitful if you have the inclination to do it. It can be a good way to meet other people too, especially your neighbors.